Puglia had small, but memorable roles in films including Casablanca (a Moroccan rug merchant), Now, Voyager and The Jungle Book. He was originally cast as the undertaker, Bonasera, in Francis Ford Coppola"s The Godfather (1972), even participating in Marlon Brando"s infamous screen test, but he fell ill before filming could begin. He was replaced by Sicilian actor Salvatore Corsitto, thus losing out on delivering one of the most famous opening lines ("I believe in America America has made me my fortune") in film history.
Born in Sicily, the actor started his career as a teen on stage in Italian operas.
He emigrated to the United States. in 1907 and worked in a laundry before joining an Italian language theatre group in New New York While appearing on stage, he was discovered by Doctorate. West. Griffith, which began an acting career spanning over 150 films.
He usually played ethnic types in films, and claimed to have learned English from reading newspapers.