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Nick Azzara, Communications Manager

Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Manatee Performing Arts Center

Bruno Sammartino documentary coming to

Manatee Performing Arts Center

Wrestling legend is featured in a documentary showing at MPAC on Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.

BRADENTON, FLA. (Jan. 25, 2023) – The Manatee Performing Arts Center (MPAC) will host a very special matinee showing of a rags-to-riches story featuring a young man, whose family fled the Nazi invasion of their home in Italy, and who would one day become the most famous professional wrestler in the world. Bruno Sammartino makes its Florida debut at MPAC on Thursday, February, 9 at 2 p.m.   


Tickets are $8 and can be purchased on the MPAC’s ticketing center online. 


Sammartino, who passed away in 2018, was the son of Italian immigrant parents. During World War II his family fled the Nazi invasion of their home in Italy after fearing for their lives at the hands of Adolf Hitler’s SS troops. At the age of 13, the malnourished Italian boy reached the U.S., unable to speak English and became an easy target of schoolyard bullies. Sammartino battled adversity to eventually become one of the greatest legends in wrestling history. During the peak of his fame he headlined 188 sold out shows at Madison Square Garden.  


The documentary is an in-depth story of “the man behind the belt” with a unique look at a legendary athlete’s worldwide fame told through the lens of everyday life. In addition to family interviews, the documentary includes testimonies from celebrities who looked up to Sammartino including Tampa Bay resident John Cena and Arnold Schwarzenegger who called him, “the star of all stars.”

View the film’s trailer here.


“It allows others intimately involved with his life to share their experiences about the man behind the titles,” says film producer Larry Richert. “It’s the story behind the heart of a champion and a true wrestling legend and the love of a mother and son tested to the limits of human capacity. It’s the story of how Bruno got to America. It’s as riveting as any tale ever told, and you’ll root for him all over again.”  


Richert is a Pittsburgh radio celebrity who hosts the Radio Morning Show on 100.1 F.M. and A.M. 1020 KDKA. He is the ambassador of the Bradenton Area in the Pittsburgh Market. Richert will attend the special film screening along with Sammartino’s son Darryl Sammartino. The two will participate in a Q&A with the audience following the show. 


Bruno Sammartino was produced by HM3 Bruno LLC, Pat Hampson, Michael Young, Craig Koryak, Chris Martin, Chris Cafardi and Larry Richert. For more information on the film or about Bruno Sammartino, visit


The Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes tourism to Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key through domestic and international advertising, public relations and marketing efforts. Located on Florida’s West Coast, the destination is known for its unspoiled beaches, rich history, the easy pace of island life and a downtown energized with arts, culture, discoveries and more. Get ready to immerse yourself into all the sites, smells, flavors and surprises that make the Bradenton Area a one-of-a-kind destination. For more information visit

About the Manatee Performing Arts Center

“We are committed to being the community’s premier theater and the region’s center for cultural, educational, and artistic expression. Our team works tirelessly to ensure that we deliver engaging excellence for all ages, through the talent we present, the services we offer, and the experiences we create. Our goal is not just to entertain you…we want to inspire you.”


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