They Came From Everett

Mike Matarazzo’s new book on Everett personalities a must Christmas gift

By Josh Resnek

Former City Clerk Mike Matarazzo is inarguably, the greatest historian writing about this city living or dead.

Last June, he published “They Came from Everett,” a collection of short historical biographies of the men and women who came from this city, who achieved one form or another of great success and notoriety in their lives, and who were proud to call this city their home.

Matarazzo’s collection of stories is a triumph in a city where so little of its long history has been written about and preserved.

He is fascinated and moved by Everett’s past and the people from this small city who made larger than life contributions to the worlds of sports, entertainment, science, business, government and life itself.

Matarazzo is inarguably Everett’s City Historian.

No one knows what Matarazzo knows and has collected and published in this recent publication, which, in more ways than one can imagine, is brilliant.

It is brilliant because Matarazzo preserves history and brings it to life where so much history is naturally erased by the move forward in wanting to get there.

With 68 biographical sketches spread over 246 pages, with accompanying photographs, Matarazzo reveals why this city should honor his effort by naming him, City Historian.

This is not simply a collection of stories decrying pollution, or detailing how Monsanto ruined lives in this city and poisoned the land for a half century.

It is not the run of the mill historical bits the Leader Herald has highlighted from time to time writing and remembering the Parlins, George Keverian, or the cavalcade of political leaders from the early 1900’s to the present.

Matarazzo’s work includes compelling bits about Chick Corea, the jazz great who just died, Saverio A.A. Rossi, the first Italian elected to the Common Council in 1915 who was known as “Jack the Newsboy” because he owned the newsstand in Everett Square before World War 1. Judge Robert Barton, whose father was a family doctor here for a half century, who produced a son who was a Marine, a Dartmouth and BU Law grad and one of the toughest judges to ever sit in the Superior Court of Massachusetts.

There are incredible biographies of Joe O’Donnell’s father, the former Everett Police Sargent who was arguably one of the toughest men to ever fight in the ring from this city – but only a small mention of his son, Joe, a billionaire, and a great guy and friend of this city. This shows the size of the shadow cast by his father.

How about Thomas DiBenedetto? He rose from humble circumstances to become a part owner of the Red Sox and one of the finest young athletes to ever come out of this city.

The Mazzie Family has a place in this book. Matarazzo properly refers to the Mazzie’s as “The First Family of the Everett Police Department,” and isn’t that the truth!

The Jack Marino bio is to die for. Marino is an American independent filmmaker, actor, writer, producer and director. He was, Matarazzo wrote so beautifully, “a quintessential example of an Everett kid with a dream.”

Check this out. Marino was trying everything. He had sold newspapers, acted in local plays. Hung out at the local movie theater, attended school trying to better himself.

“In November, 1977, Jack was working fulltime on the afternoon and midnight shifts at Monsanto in Everett when, encouraged by his teachers and fellow actors, he left for Hollywood for a six months stay. Alone, he made the six-day drive to LA in his 71 Dodge Charger SE.

Hwe stayed for a while in motels in Burbank until he got a room at the YMCA in Glendale. It took him three months to find a full time job. In addition to working, he spent every extra minute at auditions or securing work as an extra in various films. He finally landed a job at Universal Studios as stage security. It was during this time he met Sly Stallone, Telly and George Savalas, Jack Klugman, Armand Assante and many more TV and movie actors.. It was during this time he landed a role in the independent film, HOMETOWN USA.

On the last day of the shoot, as he was driving home in the rain, he pulled over to a pay phone and called Louise (the love of his life) and asked what she was doing for the next 50 years? He then asked her if she wanted to marry an out of work actor and film maker.

‘”It will be tough because kids from Everett don’t become Errol Flynn or Clark Gable, but let’s take a chance and go for broke,”’ he asked her.

She accepted his proposal. They went for it. He came to Everett and they married. They returned to LA where they have lived the greater part of their life and where Jack has earned great success.

Not bad for an Everett kid from Vernal Street who attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School on Bucknam Street: where he was an altar boy!

There are a dozen wonderful bios of Everett women who went on to achieve great things in their lives.

This is a must book if you love Everett, if you are proud of Everett, if you want to learn more about mostly working class people who rose dramatically in their lives from where they began here.

This book is available for $19.95 and can be purchased on-line if you go to Matarazzo’s website:

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