Why did John Gotti adore this ‘Godfather’ actor?

It was a film that John Gotti couldn’t pass up.

According to actor John Martino, 84, who played Paulie Gatto in the film, the infamous leader who ran the Gambino crime family in the late 20th century was a huge fan of “The Godfather” and communicated his gratitude to the cast.

“He was a big fan of ‘The Godfather,’ ” says the author. Martino, who died in the “leave the gun, take the cannolis” sequence in the award-winning film, revealed how he became close to Gotti years after the film’s premiere in 1972.

“He muttered something to someone in my family, and they told me, ‘Johnny, [Gotti] is dying to meet you,’ ” Martino is a nephew of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, a mob figure from the early twentieth century.

Martino was happy to help, and he met up with

John Gotti was a huge fan of "The Godfather," actor John Martino, who played Paulie Gatto said.

“When I first encountered him, he had just taken over as the boss…” When I got in, Gotti was sitting at the corner table with a few other men surrounding him and a slew of other guys in the room, all of whom greeted me warmly.

“Then John stood up, buttoned his jacket, walked right up to me, grabbed my two hands, and kissed me on the lips,” Martino explained. “And he said, ‘Johnny, I’m so delighted you arrived; I’d been looking forward to meeting you.’ I’ll see what I can do if there’s anything I can do for you.’

He instantly returned the offer to Gotti, who then displayed how much he admired and admired “The Godfather.”

John Gotti introduced Martino to all of his captains one night and the actor was also invited to regular meetings with the crew, Martino said.

“‘Do me a favor and come over to the table and shake hands with the guys, OK?’ he added. All of the skippers in the family were present. They all rose up for me, and I shook hands with everyone. At the moment, I grew quite close to them.”

On March 24, the famous film will mark its 50th anniversary. A theatrical re-release of “The Godfather” will commence on Friday, February 25.

Martino claims he formed a long-term friendship with Gotti and the “fellas” over the years.

“On Wednesdays, they’d invite me to attend to meetings and meet everyone.”

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