"Pit Boss" Star Shorty Rossi Reads From His Book "Four Feet Tall And Rising"
Yet the same indomitable pluck that signed him up for 10 years, 10 months and 10 days of jail time has come in handy since then, with Rossi shoring up success in the entertainment industry as the belligerent star of the Animal Planet reality series" Pit Boss," and earning notoriety as a champion of pit bull dogs.
Rossi has compiled a chronicle of his life and work in a new book titled, “Four Feet Tall and Rising: A Memoir." At a signing event presented by West Hollywood’s Book Soup on January 29, Rossi discussed formative events leading up to the creation of the memoir and read selected passages.
“Growing up in the projects taught me a lot of negativity and a lot of bad stuff,” Rossi said, “but at the same time it also taught me a lot of positive things, like who we are and how people do love you for certain reasons. And then, of course, it took shooting somebody in the cojones to really wake me up.”
After his release from prison, Rossi was hired to play “Alvin” in an Alvin and the Chipmunks stage production for $150 a day. After collecting credits for roles such as elves, leprechauns, and an oompa loompa, Rossi says:
“I thought, you know what? These [show business] people are my crack, and I’m their drug dealer, and I can actually make a legal living off of them," he said. "I still have hustling ways in me. Those things never leave you.”
In 2000, Rossi undertook Shortywood Productions, a talent agency for little people, and in 2001, inspired by the back-door adoption of pit bull puppy Geisha, he founded Shorty’s Pit Bull Rescue, which aims to educate and advocate for a breed misrepresented and poorly understood by the public.
“Little people, ex-cons and pit bulls, we do have a lot in common. We’re short, we’re stocky, and we’re hard-headed,” says Rossi.
Dogs and Hollywood have been good to Shorty Rossi, as he says in the final pages of his memoir. Both gave him a second chance and renewed purpose.
“To be a success, you really got to give a shit,” he says, acknowledging the uphill battle of his business with characteristic frankness. More than likely, Rossi will only use that as a challenge to fulfill his own giant-sized expectations.
Reach contributor Leslie Velez here.