Feb. 9th, 1943
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Joe Pesci's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Compact Italian-American actor born February 9, 1943, in Newark, NJ, who first broke into entertainment as a child actor and by the mid-50s was starring on the series "Star Time Kids". In the mid-'60s he released a record under the stage name of "Joe Ritchie" titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing", and was also playing guitar with several bands, including Joey Dee (I) and The Starliters. He even joined with friend Frank Vincent (I) 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 part 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".
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.
He returned again as fast-talking con man Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).
- Childhood friends with 'Frankie Valli' (qv), 'Tommy DeVito' (qv), and 'Nick Massi' (qv). Introduced them to 'Bob Gaudio' (qv). Valli, DeVito, Massi, and Gaudio became the rock group 'The Four Seasons' (qv).
- Sang as Joe Doggs with jazz organ player 'Joey DeFrancesco' (qv). They recorded an album on Concord Records in 2003 titled, "Joey DeFrancesco featuring Joe Doggs, Falling in Love Again."
- Close friend of 'George Carlin' (qv), and mentioned by Carlin in his bit "There is No God.".
- According to Maxim magazine, he wrote and directed the "You think I'm funny?" scene from _Goodfellas (1990)_ (qv) at director 'Martin Scorsese' (qv)'s request.
- He recorded an album in the 60s under the name Joe Ritchie. Titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing", it flopped.
- Born at 11:45am-EWT
- 'Robert De Niro' (qv) accidentally broke his rib in a sparring scene in _Raging Bull (1980)_ (qv). This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle.