Name Joe Campanella
Place of birth: Cleveland, Ohio
Role Character actor
|Siblings Frank Campanella|
College: Ohio State University
|Date of birth: (1930-09-03)September 3, 1930|
Date of death: February 15, 1967(1967-02-15) (aged 36)
Spouse Kathryn Jill Bartholomew (m. 1964)
Children Dominic Campanella, Rob Campanella
Parents Mary O. Campanella, Philip Campanella
Movies and TV shows Mannix, Days of Our Lives, The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, No Retreat - No Surrende, The Colbys
Similar People Frank Campanella, Gail Fisher, Robert Boris, Phil Karlson, Roy Huggins
Place of death: Baltimore, Maryland
The Word From Unity with Joe Campanella
Joseph Arthur Campanella (September 3, 1930 – February 15, 1967) was a professional American football player who played linebacker for six seasons for the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts.
After retiring from professional football he at the encouragement of Carroll Rosenbloom, the owner of the Baltimore Colts, pooled his money with Alan Ameche and Louis Fischer, who was Campanella’s classmate from Ohio State, and they became early investors in some restaurants. The first store, called “Ameche’s Drive-In” in Glen Burnie, Maryland featured the Powerhouse and Kingfish sandwiches served with the Special “35” Sauce. The number of stores slowly grew beyond the flagship drive inn.
In the early 1960’s Ameche, Fischer and Campanella wanted to expand so they started looking for a fourth partner. They had approached and been turned down several times by Gino Marchetti, the All Pro defensive lineman. Marchetti had decided that when he retired he would return to California to join his brothers at a gas station in Alameda, in the Bay Area.
Campanella left the group in 1963 and started “Rustler Steak House” which expanded the kitchen offering to steaks, baked potatoes, bread, soups, salads and checkered napkins. Campanella sold the new chain after opening five stores and returned to work with his partners after less than a year.
In 1966, after Don Kellett retired as General Manager of the Colts, Carroll Rosenbloom invited Joe to re-join the football team as the VP and General Manager. Although it was a career shift back into sports, Campanella decided to follow his heart and he accepted the job. One reason for the decision was that Campanella had a great deal of respect and admiration for the coach, Don Shula.
Campanella’s sudden and untimely death occurred in February, 1967: he was 36. Joe had stayed physically active, often running or playing ball with friends. All that ended several months after beginning his stint as General Manager of the Colts. Campanella was playing a friendly round of handball with Don Shula and a buddy at the Downtown Athletic Club, when he became short of breath and asked to stop. After stumbling, Campanella said he had to get off the court. He never made it, dying in Shula’s arms. At the time doctors thought it was a heart attack. Rosenbloom and the entire Colt organization were in shock. Don Shula tearfully remarked, “He was just a wonderful human being; one of my closest friends.” Gino Marchetti was overcome with grief at Campanella’s funeral, saying: "If I live to be 100, I will never meet a better friend. He showed me the right directions to go: in business, and spiritually by bringing me back to the church. He meant to me what air means to the body. If you want to know what a real man is like, well man, he was!"