Pasquale Di Fabrizio, Sole Provider to the Stars Part Two

On Monday, I shared an article about Pasquale Di Fabrizio that I found from 1973. That article first introduced me to the DiFabrizio but I want to share another article that I found on Di Fabrizio from 2001:

By Norma Meyer
November 9, 2001

HOLLYWOOD — We are talking celebrity bunions. That is, after getting under foot of the shoemaker-to-the-stars.

In his white, soiled apron, Pasquale Di Fabrizio, 75, lords over a wall stacked with hundreds of shoe boxes hand-lettered in felt-tip pen with marquee names. Jack Nicholson. Nicole Kidman. Barbra Streisand. Annette Bening. Bruce Willis. Cher.

These are wooden foot molds, four decades’ worth in his Fairfax Avenue shop that could expose the glitterati’s hammertoes and corns. But more enticing, Di Fabrizio knows how those shrimpy leading men always look so big on-screen.

“I make people taller,” he reluctantly concedes in his thick Italian accent. “I can’t tell you. That’s a secret. You’ll have to read about it, when I do my book.”

He’s referring to his as-yet-unwritten memoirs, “The Sole Man,” which will chronicle his celebrity showbiz that began when Dean Martin ordered 40 custom-made pairs of a black velvet slip-on with a gold crown emblem. Martin gave some to Frank Sinatra, who became another loyal customer.

It takes time. But after a while, Di Fabrizio is chatting about Sylvester Stallone — specifically how the droopy-eyed lug allegedly stiffed him for $2,900 for a pair of navy blue dress shoes — when he finally spills.

“I made him 41/2 inches taller for 16 years!” Di Fabrizio blurts out.Stallone was unavailable for comment, but a rep acidly added that Di Fabrizio was a shoemaker “not for long.”

One can understand how Sly got on the wrong foot. Di Fabrizio not only created Stallone’s stompers for all of the “Rocky” films, but the craftsman notched up the thickness of the action hero’s elevator shoes when he married statuesque model Brigitte Nielsen. That made Stallone less of a runt.

“He forgot these things — that’s what makes me feel bad. And, he’s an Italian like me … says Di Fabrizio.

The shoe guru built up other stars. (Hidden lifts are inside the footwear, which appear to have a normal heel.) The artificially boosted include Robert De Niro (who also “has a problem with the heel”), Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito and Dolly Parton (“I make her 2 1/2 inches taller. I also made her 400 pairs of shoes”).

Rumor is Burt Reynolds gets a rise.

“That I can’t tell you,” Di Fabrizio firmly says, putting his foot down.

“I give you one more — I made William Shatner 3 inches taller in the show,” he boasts. He means “Star Trek.”

Forget athlete’s feet or smelly feet. The cobbler isn’t dishing. Bunions are another story, as long as they’re not Elizabeth Taylor’s. He was once quoted — erroneously he swears — as saying the movie queen had “golf-ball-size bunions.”

“I don’t want to talk about it. She got mad. I lost her as my customer,” he says. Besides, “she got it fixed. She got a little bit of a problem with the metatarsal joint, like a little bump.” He puffs out his cheek to the size of, hmm, a golf ball.

“I said to her, ‘Look, don’t sue.'”

He reaches for a shoe box marked “Carol Channing.”

“Bunion, bunion, and bunion!” he says, pointing to gross lumps on her wooden feet.

Di Fabrizio’s work costs an arm and a leg (women’s shoes range from $550 to $3,000; men’s from $750 to $5,000). He once sold the carved extremities of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire to a collector for a total of $2,000, but heck, “it was only a piece of wood.”

There seem to be few stars whose tootsies he hasn’t cradled while measuring the foot’s 26 bones. But a phalange is a phalange. He has to ask his wife who was that guy he recently did an order for (Eddie Murphy, six pairs of black leather loafers, for the upcoming movie “I Spy”).

The wall of famous foot molds is so alluring. Schwarzenegger. Michelle Pfeiffer. Raquel Welch. Who could have bad arches? Or even flat feet?

“No more! No more!” says a weary Di Fabrizio, shooing his visitor past the Sinatra black-velvet painting and toward the door. “It’ll all come out — when I do my book!”

If you are ever in need of anything for your feet, we at Houston Foot Specialists are here for you. For more information on the value of YOUR feet please contact: Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman at (713) 467-8886 or online at

2013 Jeff Bowman., All Rights Reserved

Category: Footwear

Tags: Bunions, Celebrities, Dress Shoes, Famous Feet, Flat Feet, Footwear, Pasquale Di Fabrizio, shoes