|Born in Newark, New Jersey, 1943, February 9th, Joseph
Pesci made his debut in The Death Collector
(1975). But this funny little guy (height: 5'5") started
to work at the age of four, in a radio program.
In 1953, he was a regular on the TV variety
program called Star Time Kids, but his career stalled
during the following years. In the 60's, under the name of
Joe Ritch, Pesci recorded a LP titled Little Joe Sure Can
Later, he was the guitar player of Joey
Dee and The Starliters band. Joe and his pal Frank
Vincent also formed a nightclub comedy act. His first
production in the movie business, The Death Collector
(aka Family Enforcer), was no big deal, so he came
back to New York and ran an italian restaurant.
The First Masterpiece
Then he got the call. An outstanding actor
watched The Death Collector and got really surprised
with Pesci. The man was Robert De Niro. Bobby told
director Martin Scorsese, who invited Joe to play De
Niro's brother in the classic Raging Bull (1980). Joe
Pesci is back!
Raging Bull was his second film
and a mark of Pesci's career. It gave him his first academy
award nomination and it was the first film with Scorsese.
They worked together in three other productions: GoodFellas
(1990), Casino (1995) and The Irishman (2019).
Scorsese & Pesci
Why is this partnership so important? Well, you know the answer,
because two big reasons. First, if you've seen these three
classics (Raging Bull, GoodFellas and Casino)
you may have noticed they are three of the best masterpieces
ever made since the creation of the Earth. Second, all of
his nominations and awards came from Raging Bull,
GoodFellas and The Irishman. What more can we say?
Pesci seems to have two great defined ways
of acting: like a nervous and violent wiseguy and like an
inconvenient funny guy. Remember Tommy DeVito? And Nicky Santoro?
What about Joey LaMotta? Great tough guys of cinema history.
But there's also Jimmy Alto, Vincent La Guardia Gambini, Leo
Getz and Louie Kritski, a classic gallery of funny guys.
The Vincent and The Niro
There are also two more "partners" of Joe
in the movie business. We're talking about Robert De Niro
and Frank Vincent, each one has five movies with Pesci.
Frank Vincent (also partner in nightclubs
with Joe in the 60's) has worked with Joe in The Death
Collector, Raging Bull, Dear Mr. Wonderful
(1982), GoodFellas and Casino. De Niro, the
man, the king, the Niro, joined him in Raging Bull,
Once Upon a Time in America (1984), GoodFellas,
A Bronx Tale (1993) and Casino.