- Category : 1943-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (7,10,33,34)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 1
American actor, brash and diminutive who started with character roles as a tough gangster, phasing into sympathetic comedy parts. The son of a blue-collar worker, he was on stage by age five and a TV regular by ten in a kid's variety show. By his early 20s he was singing in night clubs and cut a record as Joe Ritchie. Multi-talented, he played guitar with a band and performed in vaudeville and night clubs as a comedy act.
In 1975, Pesci played in a low-budget film, "The Death Collector," before moving to Hollywood. He worked as a barber, a postal clerk and a grocery clerk while hitting auditions and leaving his picture at casting calls. His luck was barren, and he headed back to the East Coast. He was ready to call it quits when he auditioned for and won a role in "Raging Bull," 1980.
The following year Pesci was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. A decade later, he won the Oscar for "Goodfellas," 1990, the same year that he changed pace with a bumbling comedy role in "Home Alone." After "Home Alone," Pesci's career really took off, soon after playing his first lead role in "The Super." He gave a strong performance in "JFK" prior to taking on the title role in ""My Cousin Vinny" as an inept lawyer defending a young relative in the South. The movie opened at number two at the box office, which gave Pesci, at age 49, his first taste of being the lead character in an all-out hit.
His biggest break came in the late '70s when he was working in the Bronx as a restaurant manager, occasional singing at the tables with a guitar. Although he was trained as a performer, and had been since childhood, he had given up on his dream; no work was coming his way. That's when Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese saw Pesci's debut movie, "Death Collector," 1975. Both men tracked down Pesci and offered him a part in "Raging Bull;" De Niro wouldn't take no for an answer.
Pesci married and divorced three times, having a daughter somewhere along the way.