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Joe Pesci

Joe Pesci

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Also Known As: Joe Ritchie Died:
Born: February 9, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor, singer, comic, answering service worker, produce manager, restaurant manager, postal worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After years of struggling as a professional musician and comedy performer, actor Joe Pesci was vaulted into the limelight thanks to his Academy Award-nominated performance in director Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" (1980), starring Oscar-winner Robert De Niro. The film marked the first of several successful collaborations between Pesci, De Niro and Scorsese over the years. Though he settled into a few rather forgettable roles following his initial triumph, Pesci re-emerged later in the decade with several unforgettable performances, starting with his comic turn as mob accountant-turned-state's witness Leo Getz in "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989), a role he reprised for the third and fourth installments to the franchise. But it was his portrayal of an uncontrollably violent mobster rising up the ranks in Scorsese's brilliant crime saga, "Goodfellas" (1990) that it became his defining role. So good was Pesci that he even eclipsed De Niro in critical plaudits and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Pesci next rose above a large ensemble cast to play alleged assassination conspirator David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's "JFK" (1991), which he followed with a rare starring turn in "My Cousin...

After years of struggling as a professional musician and comedy performer, actor Joe Pesci was vaulted into the limelight thanks to his Academy Award-nominated performance in director Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" (1980), starring Oscar-winner Robert De Niro. The film marked the first of several successful collaborations between Pesci, De Niro and Scorsese over the years. Though he settled into a few rather forgettable roles following his initial triumph, Pesci re-emerged later in the decade with several unforgettable performances, starting with his comic turn as mob accountant-turned-state's witness Leo Getz in "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989), a role he reprised for the third and fourth installments to the franchise. But it was his portrayal of an uncontrollably violent mobster rising up the ranks in Scorsese's brilliant crime saga, "Goodfellas" (1990) that it became his defining role. So good was Pesci that he even eclipsed De Niro in critical plaudits and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Pesci next rose above a large ensemble cast to play alleged assassination conspirator David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's "JFK" (1991), which he followed with a rare starring turn in "My Cousin Vinny" (1992). Following another collaboration with De Niro and Scorsese in "Casino" (1995), he stumbled with such duds as "Gone Fishin'" (1997) and "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag" (1997), which precipitated a surprise retirement from acting in 1999 in order for him to concentrate on music. With a cameo in De Niro's "The Good Shepherd" (2006) and a starring role in "Love Ranch" (2010), Pesci was poised to once again rise to Hollywood prominence.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Love Ranch (2010)
2.
 Galaxy Far, Far Away, A (2000) Himself
3.
 Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) Leo Getz
4.
 Gone Fishin' (1997) Joe Waters
5.
 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997) Tommy Spinelli
6.
 Casino (1995) Nicky Santoro
7.
 Jimmy Hollywood (1994) Jimmy Alto
8.
 With Honors (1994) Simon Wilder
9.
 Bronx Tale, A (1993) Carmine
10.
 Public Eye, The (1992) Leonard "The Great Bernzini" Bernstein
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in the Bronx
:
Appeared in Broadway musicals and Eddie Dowling plays from age five
1950:
Became a regular on TV's "Star Time" (Dumont) doing impersonations and singing
:
Worked as a nightclub singer in the 1960s; cut a few records including an album "Little Joe Sure Can Sing" under the name of Joe Ritchie; played guitar in a road band for Joey Dee and the Starliters while in his early twenties
1961:
First film appearance as an extra in Joey Dee film, "Hey, Let's Twist!"
:
Teamed with partner Frank Vincent (who later played a mafioso in "Raging Bull" and Billy Batts in "GoodFellas") in a nightclub act that played the Jersey shore in late 1960s and early 1970s
:
Featured with Frank Vincent in short-lived Broadway show, "The New Vaudevillians" (closed after one week)
:
Appeared in regional theater
1975:
Film acting debut (also co-wrote) in "Death Collector," a low budget gangster yarn
1976:
Moved to L.A.; held a variety of odd jobs as a barber, a postal clerk, a produce manager in a grocery story, a delivery boy, a letter carrier and drove a pickup truck (date approximate)
1978:
Was managing a restaurant in the Bronx when called by Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese who had seen his work in "Death Collector" to play Jake LaMotta's brother in "Raging Bull"
1982:
First feature starring role, "Dear Mr. Wonderful" a German production directed by Peter Lilienthal
1985:
Starred as a private investigator in his own short-lived TV series, "Half-Nelson"
1989:
Cast as Leo Getz in "Lethal Weapon 2" starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover
1990:
Reunited with Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro to star in "Goodfellas"
1990:
Starred opposite Macaulay Culkin in the comedy "Home Alone"
1991:
First Hollywood starring role, "The Super"
1991:
Starred in Oliver Stone's controversal film "JFK"
1992:
Played Brooklyn Lawyer Vincent Gambini in the comedy "My Cousin Vinny" also starring Marisa Tomei
1992:
Reprised the role of Leo Getz for "Lethal Weapon 3"
1993:
Co-starred in the drama "A Bronx Tale" with Chazz Palminteri and Robert De Niro who also directed
1994:
Co-starred with Brendan Fraser in "With Honors"
1995:
Again reunited with Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro for "Casino"
1997:
Co-starred with Danny Glover in the comedy "Gone Fishin"
1998:
Reprised role of Leo Getz for "Lethal Weapon 4"
1998:
Released an album, <i>Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You</i>, which spawned the single "Wise Guy"
1999:
Announced retirement from acting
2006:
Returned to acting with a cameo in De Niro's "The Good Shepherd"
2010:
Co-starred opposite Helen Mirren in "Love Ranch," based on the true story of a married couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1987

Notes

There is an official website at www.joe-pesci.com

"I knew there was no other person who could play that part [Tommy DeVito in 'GoodFellas'] than Joe because I knew Joe would bring the humanity and most of all the sense of humor that would emphasize the horror of a man like that. He had the ability to make that character accessible rather than just a cliche, a stereotype."---Martin Scorsese to New York, March 4, 1991.

"I had a lot of trouble getting work for a long time. People were afraid of me because I was the kind of person who told them to go fuck themselves. And they don't want anyone to offer any resistance. After 'Raging Bull,' they wanted me to play neighborhood-type Italian stupes. And I didn't want to play that. And people just come at you from all angles, just ripping at you and clawing at you to get a piece of your success. I made a few pictures. But they were so few and far between that I always used the money and burnt it up and was always broke and borrowing money. I played golf every day to keep my sanity. I couldn't get an agent. I couldn't get a job. My methods of working were nowhere to everyone. Whatever I did as an actor, nobody seemed to appreciate. And then all of a sudden, everybody appreciated it. It's very strange to me."---Joe Pesci quoted in New York, March 4, 1991.

"One of Joe's great strengths is that he is one of the really great improvisational actors, in the style of De Niro. Joe can take an idea and bring a lot of himself to it. He has an ability to suddenly become very violent out of nowhere."---Irwin Winkler, producer of "Raging Bull" and "GoodFellas" in New York, March 4, 1991.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Martha Haro. Third wife; born c. 1967; met at an Easter brunch c. 1988; divorced in 1992; later married actor-stuntman Garrett Warren and had a daughter; in May 2000, in midst of a custody dispute, Warren was shot in a gangland style attack; at the time, Haro was again living with Pesci.
companion:
Christina Busin. Stripper. Pesci denied November 1998 reports in they planned to wed, although he admitted they had dated.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Angelo Pesci. Forklift driver, bartender. Held three jobs as a forklift driver for General Motors, at night for Anheuser-Busch, and as a bartender, to pay for son's acting, tap dancing, singing and guitar lessons.
mother:
Mary Pesci.
sister:
Louise Pesci. Older.
daughter:
Tiffany Pesci. Mother is Pesci's first wife.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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