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Character actor Joe Pesci appeared alongside Robert De Niro in the film Raging Bull. This was the beginning of a long line of supporting roles for Pesci.
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who soon became one of the busiest character actors in the business.
Actor. Born Joseph Pesci on February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey. Pesci began his acting career at the age of four on a radio program. By 1953, he was a regular on the television variety program Star Time Kids. In the mid-'60s, he launched a musical career under the name Joe Ritchie, recording an LP titled Little Joe Sure Can Sing, and later played guitar in the pop band Joey Dee & the Starliters. But with the exception of the little-seen 1975 film The Death Collector, the actor was unable to get his career off the ground. He decided to drop out of acting and returned to New York to run a restaurant.
However, after Robert De Niro saw Pesci's performance in The Death Collector, he was so impressed that he brought the film to the attention of director Martin Scorsese, who cast Joe Pesci in his 1980 masterpiece Raging Bull. This was the beginning of a long line of supporting roles for Pesci, whose performance as a menacing tough guy earned him an Academy Award nomination. He soon became one of the busiest character actors in the business, appearing the 1983 Rodney Dangerfield comedy Easy Money and the 1984 Sergio Leone epic Once Upon a Time in America. After starring in the failed 1985 sitcom Half Nelson, Pesci's onscreen visibility diminished, and over the next four years he appeared in only one film, 1987's Man on Fire.
In 1989, however, he co-starred opposite Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the hit Lethal Weapon 2, a performance that showcased his talent for comic relief. He appeared in both the third and fourth episodes of the series in 1992 and 1998. 1990 was a banner year for Pesci, who starred in the family comedy blockbuster Home Alone and put forth a Oscar-winning performance in Scorsese's GoodFellas.
Though he received poor reviews for his first major starring role in 1991's The Super, he returned to good favor in Oliver Stone's JFK that same year. He put his comic talents to use once again in 1992 as the inept non-lawyer in the hit courtroom comedy My Cousin Vinny. In 1995, he reunited with Scorsese and De Niro for the epic Casino. However, a pair of poorly received 1997 comedies, Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag and Gone Fishin', again called Pesci's capabilities as a lead actor into question.
Joe Pesci is divorced from his first wife, Marti. They have one daughter named Tiffany.
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