Joe Pesci: Wikis


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Joe Pesci

Joe Pesci in 2009.
Born Joseph Frank Pesci
February 9, 1943 (1943-02-09) (age 67)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian, singer, musician
Years active 1961–present

Joseph Frank "Joe" Pesci (pronounced /ˈpɛʃi/, PESH-ee; born February 9, 1943) is an American character actor, comedian, singer and musician. Usually known for playing violent Mafia gangsters or short-tempered but lovable funnymen, Pesci has starred in a number of high-profile films such as Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull, Once Upon a Time in America, My Cousin Vinny, JFK, Moonwalker, Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Lethal Weapon 2, Lethal Weapon 3, and Lethal Weapon 4.

In 1990 Pesci won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as mobster Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas, ten years after receiving a nomination in the same category for Raging Bull.


Early life

Pesci, an Italian-American, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Mary, who worked part-time as a barber, and Angelo Pesci, a forklift driver for General Motors and bartender.[1][2] By the time Pesci was five years old, he was appearing in plays in New York.[2] A few years later, at age ten, he was a regular on a television variety show called Startime Kids, which also featured Connie Francis.[2] He started out working as a barber in the 1960s, following in his mother's footsteps. He released an album entitled Little Joe Sure Can Sing, under the pseudonym "Joseph Richie," accompanied by a band that included good friend and future fellow actor Frank Vincent.

Pesci practiced judo all throughout his teens. He is a big fan of martial arts, including Judo, and tae kwon do.[2] He played guitar for "Joey Dee and the Starliters" and was an extra in Dee's film Hey, Let's Twist!, in which he made his film debut.


His breakthrough as an actor came in 1980 when he co-starred alongside Robert De Niro who played the lead role of boxer Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, for which he won the BAFTA Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles in 1981 and was nominated an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Subsequently, he performed with De Niro in the films Once Upon a Time in America, Goodfellas (for which he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, in 1990,[3]) and Casino. He also had a small role in 1993's A Bronx Tale, which De Niro directed.

The pairing became famous enough to inspire a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live, called, "The Joe Pesci Show". (The real Pesci and De Niro would eventually make a surprise appearance in one episode). Pesci hosted Saturday Night Live on October 10, 1992. During the monologue, he restored a picture of Pope John Paul II, which was torn by Sinéad O'Connor on the previous broadcast, to which he was met with applause, but joked that he was not overly offended as no pictures of Italian popes were defaced.

Other work

In the late 1970s, Joe teamed up with Frankie Vincent, performing in local clubs like the Arlington Lounge and other venues around Northern NJ as "Vincent and Pesci." The comedy duo's material was a play on Martin and Lewis and on Abbott and Costello.

In 1988, Pesci co-starred alongside late pop singer Michael Jackson in the musical-fantasy film Moonwalker as the film's antagonist Mr. Big. The film was actually a collection of short films and Pesci was featured in the fifth and final segment which was an actual full-length movie called "Smooth Criminal" which was based on Michael Jackson's song by the same name.

He later co-starred in the blockbuster hit Home Alone (1990), playing one of two bumbling burglars (along with good friend Daniel Stern) who attempt to rob the house of the character played by Macaulay Culkin. Two years later, he reprised his role for the sequel.

Pesci also had roles in JFK (as David Ferrie) and the comedy My Cousin Vinny (as the title character) released in 1991 and 1992, respectively. He appeared as Leo Getz in three Lethal Weapon films.

He had starring roles in several other films including The Super (1991), Jimmy Hollywood (1994) and With Honors (also 1994).

Retirement from acting

In 1998, he released an album called Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You which spawned the single "Wise Guy". In 1999, Pesci announced his retirement from acting to pursue a musical career and to enjoy life away from the camera. He returned to acting when he did a cameo in De Niro's 2006 film The Good Shepherd. He is slated to star in the 2010 brothel drama Love Ranch, alongside Helen Mirren.[4]

He is one of the producers of the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys. The musical is based on the lives of the musical group, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Pesci was present during the formation of the group as a young man and is portrayed as a character in the play.

Personal life

He has been married three times, the third time to Claudia Martha (Marty) Haro.[5] He has a daughter, Tiffany from his first marriage. In 2008, a then 65-year-old Pesci became engaged to actress/model Angie Everhart who was 38 at the time. However, according to Angie Everhart, they were never actually engaged. They announced their breakup in April, 2008.

George Carlin, in a comedy set denouncing religion, stated that he prayed to Joe Pesci rather than God, because "Joe looks like a guy who can get things done". The two were also close friends. His voice is the template for Enzo in Bayonetta.


Year Film Role Notes
1961 Hey, Let's Twist Dancer at the Peppermint Club uncredited
1969 Out Of It[citation needed] Michael
1976 The Death Collector Joe Salvino
1980 Raging Bull Joey LaMotta BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1982 Dear Mr. Wonderful Ruby Dennis
I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can Roger
1983 Easy Money Nicky Cerone
1984 Once Upon A Time In America Frankie Minaldi
Tutti dentro Corrado Parrisi
Eureka Mayakofsky
1987 Man on Fire David Coolidge
1988 Moonwalker Frankie Lideo (aka Mr. Big)
The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway
1989 Lethal Weapon 2 Leo Getz
1990 Betsy's Wedding Oscar Henner
Goodfellas Tommy DeVito Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Home Alone Harry Lyme
Catchfire Leo Carelli (uncredited) aka Backtrack
1991 The Super Louie Kritski
JFK David Ferrie
1992 My Cousin Vinny Vincent LaGuardia Gambini American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Lethal Weapon 3 Leo Getz
The Public Eye Leon Bernstein
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York Harry Lyme
Tales from the Crypt Con man (Split Personality)
1993 A Bronx Tale Carmine Cameo
1994 Jimmy Hollywood Jimmy Alto
With Honors Simon Wilder
1995 Casino Nicky Santoro Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
8 Heads In A Duffel Bag Tommy Big Balls
Gone Fishin' Joe Waters
1998 Lethal Weapon 4 Leo Getz (Estate Agent)
2006 The Good Shepherd Joseph Palmi Cameo
2010 Love Ranch Charlie Botempo


External links

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