Joe Pesci - Biography - IMDb
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Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (41)  | Personal Quotes (4)  | Salary (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameJoseph Frank Pesci
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor, and by the mid-1950s, was starring on the series "Star Time Kids". In the mid-1960s, he released a record under the stage name Joe Ritchie titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing", and was also playing guitar with several bands, including Joey Dee and The Starliters. He even joined with his friend Frank Vincent to start a vaudeville-style comedy act, but met with limited success (interestingly, Pesci and Vincent would later go on to co-star in several gangster films together, including Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995).

Pesci's first film role was as an uncredited dancer in Hey, Let's Twist! (1961) and then he had to wait another 15 years for a minor role in The Death Collector (1976). His work in the second film was seen by Robert De Niro, who convinced director Martin Scorsese to cast him as Joey LaMotta in the epic boxing film Raging Bull (1980), which really got him noticed in Hollywood. He played opposite Rodney Dangerfield in Easy Money (1983), was with buddy DeNiro again in Once Upon a Time in America (1984), nearly stole the show as con man Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) and scored a Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing the psychotic Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (1990).

His comedic talents shone again in the mega-popular Home Alone (1990), and he put in a terrific performance as co-conspirator David Ferrie in JFK (1991). Pesci was back again as Leo Getz for Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), and was still a bumbling crook in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), and had a minor role in the Robert De Niro-directed A Bronx Tale (1993). He was lured back by Scorsese to play another deranged gangster named Nicky (based on real-life hood Tony Spilotro [aka "The Ant"]) in the violent Casino (1995), and starred in the comedies 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997) and Gone Fishin' (1997), although both failed to fire at the box office.

Pesci returned again as fast-talking con man Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998). In 1999, he announced his retirement from acting and since then, he appeared only occasionally in films, including a cameo appearance in The Good Shepherd (2006). He also appeared in the music documentary I Go Back Home: Jimmy Scott (2016).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges

Family (3)

Spouse Claudia Haro (7 September 1988 - 1992)  (divorced)  (1 child)
? (1964 - ?)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Tiffany Pesci
Parents Mary Mesce
Angelo Pesci

Trade Mark (6)

Often plays a criminal (ex. Goodfellas (1990), Home Alone (1990), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) and Casino (1995))
Frequently works with longtime friend Robert De Niro and film director Martin Scorsese
Frequently plays characters who are short-tempered and obscene (Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995))
High-pitched voice with New Jersey accent and rapid-fire delivery
Different-colored eyes
Short stature

Trivia (41)

Reprised his character from My Cousin Vinny (1992) for his album "Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You" (1998). The single "Yo Cousin Vinny" was a success in some European countries.
In the mid-1960s, he recorded an album under the stage name Joe Ritchie titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing", which flopped.
Started out with Joey Dee and The Starliters, working his way around as a waiter and singing and playing guitar in local nightclubs.
Director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro tracked down Pesci after seeing him in The Death Collector (1976) because they felt he was perfect for the role of Joey LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980). Before they persuaded him to take the role, Pesci had been on the verge of giving up his faltering acting career.
Attended and graduated from Belleville High School in Belleville, New Jersey.
The word pesci in Italian means "fish" (plural).
Close friends with George Carlin, and mentioned by Carlin in his bit "There is No God".
After winning the Oscar for his role as Tom DeVito in the movie Goodfellas (1990), his entire acceptance speech was "It's my privilege. Thank you." When asked why he didn't say more, he said "I really didn't think I was going to win.".
Has appeared with Frank Vincent in five films: The Death Collector (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Dear Mr. Wonderful (1982), Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995).
Very good friends with Robert De Niro. They appeared together in seven films: Raging Bull (1980), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Goodfellas (1990), A Bronx Tale (1993), Casino (1995), The Good Shepherd (2006) and The Irishman (2019).
Sang as Joe Doggs with jazz organ player Joey DeFrancesco. They recorded an album on Concord Records titled "Joey DeFrancesco featuring Joe Doggs, Falling in Love Again" (2003).
Has a house in Lavalette, New Jersey. In the 1980s, he established a reputation as a community Little League baseball coach.
Was the original choice to play Herman "Fergee" Ferguson in Judge Dredd (1995), which he turned down. The role was given to Rob Schneider, instead.
Pesci's performance as Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (1990) is ranked #96 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Childhood friends with Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. Introduced them to Bob Gaudio. Valli, DeVito, Massi and Gaudio became the rock group The Four Seasons.
His rib was accidentally broken by Robert De Niro in a sparring scene in Raging Bull (1980). This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle. The very same rib was broken again in Casino (1995) when a heavy who was holding Joe down, used him as a hassock to get up after a take.
According to Maxim magazine, he wrote and directed the "You think I'm funny?" scene from Goodfellas (1990) at director Martin Scorsese's request.
The Good Shepherd (2006) was the first movie he had made in eight years.
Ended his 9-month engagement to Angie Everhart. The couple had been together for eight years. [April 2008]
Was considered for the role of Owen Lift in Throw Momma from the Train (1987), which went to Danny DeVito.
Has one daughter with Claudia Haro: Tiffany Pesci.
He sued the producers of Gotti (2018), claiming they had promised him a major role in the film for which he had packed on extra pounds, and then changed their minds, offering him a minor character. [July 2011]
Is a producer of the multi-Tony-winning stage musical "Jersey Boys", about the formation of the famous group The Four Seasons, and his real-life role in the formation of the group was portrayed in the original Broadway production of the show by Michael Longoria.
He was nominated for a 2013 New Jersey Hall of Fame for Arts and Entertainment.
Was in a relationship with Leighanne Littrell, wife of Backstreet Boys singer Brian Littrell, from 1995-1997.
Joe was 21-years-old when he married his first wife in 1964.
Had a daughter (born around 1967) from his first marriage.
Is known to have a very foul mouth, both on and off screen. On the set of Home Alone (1990), Chris Columbus placed a Swear Jar for the adult actors to place change in whenever they used bad language. Supposedly, Pesci filled this up in a single day.
Despite being known for playing short-tempered and violent characters, his co-stars have always spoken fondly of him and described him as soft-spoken and humble.
His acceptance speech at the Academy Awards is the second shortest in history at just six words and three seconds. The shortest is Alfred Hitchcock who simply said ''Thanks'' when receiving his Lifetime achievement award.
His portrayal of Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (1990) has been the subject of several parodies. The character Pesto in the Animaniacs sketch "Goodfeathers", has DeVito's short temper and tendency to misinterpret a compliment. On "The Joe Pesci Show" on Saturday Night Live, Pesci (played by Jim Breuer) is shown to have that same tendency, only to have the real Pesci show up, deny that he is like that in real life, only to lose his temper and beat up Jim Brewer a la Tommy DeVito. And in the film Jersey Boys (2014), his character (played by Joseph Russo), even quotes Pesci's famous "funny how?" line from the film. That is even more fitting in this film, as it charts his relationship with the real Tommy DeVito.
In 1992, he reprised the only two film roles that he played at least twice; Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) (a role which he would also play again in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)) and Harry Lime in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
He was nominated for the 2015 New Jersey Hall of Fame for his services in the Performance Arts.
Chris Columbus cast Pesci in Home Alone (1990) because he was one of his heroes but he didn't think he would get him for such a broadly comedic role.
Was in four Oscar Best Picture nominees: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), JFK (1991) and The Irishman (2019).
After securing Macaulay Culkin, Pesci and Daniel Stern for Home Alone (1990), Chris Columbus felt confident enough to cast actors who were his heroes growing up, like Catherine O'Hara after seeing her work on SCTV (1976) as well as John Heard, Tim Curry and Rob Schneider on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) because they were all open to the films.
He was considered for Bruno Kirby's roles in The Godfather Part II (1974) and Donnie Brasco (1997).
All 3 of his Oscar nominated roles were in Martin Scorsese films.
In 2003-04 co-owned a racehorse, also named Pesci.
The character Louie a mobster on the Simpsons was modeled after him.
Without counting his appearance as an extra at 18 in Hey, Let's Twist! (1961), he made his first film role at 32 in the independent and semi-forgotten film The Death Collector (1976). Years later, after watch him in that film, Robert De Niro told Martin Scorsese to give him the role of Joey in Raging Bull (1980), which supposed his second movie and his big break, when he was 36.

Personal Quotes (4)

[on his good friend and My Cousin Vinny (1992) co-star, the late Fred Gwynne] It takes somebody who's very serious to pull off a character like Herman Munster [from Gwynne's series The Munsters (1964)]. It's not simple to play the goof. Fred was not Herman. He was an intelligent, quiet gentleman.
[on Raging Bull (1980)] I remember being asked do you think we should shoot in black and white or in color. And I said black and white without any hesitation.
[on Robert De Niro] We work so well together. It's like breathing in and out. It's so easy for us - we feed off each other.
[on Martin Scorsese] Marty is probably the best director I've ever worked with and one of the best directors of our generation and previous generations.

Salary (2)

Jimmy Hollywood (1994) $3,500,000
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) $3,000,000

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