Fred "Marco" Vassi (front) and friends
Shirley and Bob introduced us to a new click which included Penthouse columnist Fred "Marco" Vassi. That's him in the light shirt. This photo was taken at friend's home on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin county.
*Sad Note: I received this Feb. 11, 1998...
"I was in the Air Force with Marco "Fred" Vassi and had known him in New York when he was an editor of Escapade Magazine, before he went to Penthouse and published his novels. Another friend, Dennis Conklin, has also been trying to trace Freddy's life until his demise, I understand, from AIDS instigated suicide..."
May 18, 2002
"I went to grammer school with Marco Vassi in East Harlem. He went to Regis High School and then went to become a priest. Eventually he joined the Air Force and being he learned Russian he was stationed on an island of Korea? His real name was Fred Vasquez and because the neighborhood was predominately Italian I guess his family thought it better to change their name.
His family was very religious and must have cried a thousand deaths regarding Fred's writings.
Another mutual friend told me only last week that Fred had written a play and he was invited to see it. After the play was over Fred introducted one of the actors. It was Al Pacino.
We would hang out at the same ice cream parlor and would see each other daily. Nice guy and very intelligent. Too bad he went too far and didn't last long."
Victor P.Sept. 21, 2006
I was surfing on a writer's break and was curious about a few people in my "former" life, so I searched for╩"Fred Vassi," and came up with several sites including this one, "Small Circle of Friends" and filmographies for Al Pacino, including Fred's╩original play & production of "Why is a Crooked Letter" at the Theater of Encounter on the West side.
I thought I would take the chance that you or some other former friends might be interested in my story or update. I was very sad to hear that he died of suicide because of Aids.
Personally, I never knew he was referred to as Marco, by the way. I did know that he spoke several languages including Russian and Chinese and that╩was in the Air Force intelligence services.
Fred Vassi: If you or anyone else is interested I have more background story about him in the sixties. (1) I met him at Escapade Magazine, and knew him for the next few years, when he produced the play, worked for Cavalier Magazine, and even kept in touch when he went to Taos New Mexico years later.
Fred and I were engaged to be married; I met his family and had dinner with them one night.╩Fred maintained a studio in the Village.
We broke up, but kept in touch now and then. Fred had many devoted friends during the sixties when I knew him. He was a genius in many ways, an incredible writer, and visionary.
By the way, his full name is Fred Vasquez-d'Acuno. They were from Spain originally and later migrated to Italy or Sicily, I believe. His parents shared this with me at dinner one night.
I was present at the rehearsals of Why is a Crooked Letter from the beginning when Al Pacino showed up in his undershirt and pants. I danced with him and others at our cast party. It was in Rubin's Theater of Encounter space on W. 79. Psychologist, Shirley Winston shared the space. Lots of memories.
Would you believe, I commented to Fred, "I think he's really got it--he should be╩very famous--He reminds me of Dustin Hoffman."
Those were the days! I have enjoyed viewing your photographs of friends in the 60s, and some of the names are familiar, including, of course, Melvin Belli--What╩a legal eagle and icon.
Former Bay Area resident/San Jose
Now Living in Charleston, SC