Who is Joseph Frank Pesci ? The entertainment and movie world knows Joe Pesci as an American actor, comedian, singer and musician. Usually known for his roles as violent mobsters or 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 the psychopathic mobster Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas, ten years after receiving a nomination in the same category for Raging Bull.
Pesci, an Italian-American, was born February 9, 1943 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. By the time Pesci was five years old, he was appearing in plays in New York. A few years later, at age ten, he was a regular on a television variety show called Startime Kids, which also featured Connie Francis. 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 played guitar for Joey Dee and the Starliters. Other early famous members of The Starliters were Charles Neville (The Neville Brothers) and Jimmy James (Jimi Hendrix). Later on Pesci went solo under the name Joe Ritchie, but unlike the ones mentioned before, Joe Pesci was not very successful and started his acting career. He made his film debut as an extra in Dee’s film Hey, Let’s Twist!.
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, and Goodfellas (for which he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, in 1990,) 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. He demonstrated this by tearing up a picture of Sinéad O’Connor to which was met with a huge applause.
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 Abbott and Costello.
In 1988, Pesci co-starred alongside 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 the star in the 2010 brothel drama Love Ranch, alongside Helen Mirren.
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.
Pesci was married to Claudia Martha Haro from 1988 to 1992. He has a daughter, Tiffany, from this 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. He is very good friends with Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. He was also good friends with his My Cousin Vinny co-star Fred Gwynne and the actor and comedian George Carlin. He is an avid golf fan and player.
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Jack Richardson, CM was a Juno Award-nominated Canadian record producer and Order of Canada recipient died he was , 81. He is perhaps best known for producing the biggest hit records from The Guess Who from 1969 to 1975. He was an educator at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario in the Music Industry Arts program, as well as at the Harris Institute for the Arts in Toronto, Ontario in the Producing and Engineering Program (PEP). The Juno Award for “Producer of the Year” has been named in Richardson’s honour since 2002.
(23 July 1929 – 13 May 2011)
Richardson was born in Toronto, Ontario, and had early musical training playing in various school bands. By 1949 he was playing professionally in “The Westernaires”  who had a regular radio program. In 1958 he was working as an account executive for McCann-Erickson, a firm that produced a regular television program and in the mid 1960s Richardson and three others from this firm decided to form their own production company, Nimbus 9. Initially, audio recording was only one aspect of Nimbus 9, which was formed to provide multi-media production to their clients. Within a brief period of time, however, audio recording became the single focus of operations.
In 1968, Richardson approached the Canadian branch of the Coca-Cola company with an idea to produce and market a long-playing album through a type of bottle-cap reimbursement scheme. On one side of the release were The Guess Who, and on the flip-side, a group from Ottawa, Ontario called The Staccatos (later to become the Five Man Electrical Band). Both of these groups were already well known within Canada: The Guess Who were featured as the house band on the weekly CBC TV show Let’s Go and had ten top 40 hits in Canada between 1965 and 1967, while The Staccatos had reached the Canadian top 40 twice in that same period of time. The split album the two groups recorded, A Wild Pair, could only be obtained by sending ten Coca-Cola bottle cap liners and $1 (for shipping expenses) to Coca-Cola. Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman estimates that the album sold enough units to qualify for gold record status in Canada; however, no certification figures are available as the LP was not distributed through normal retail channels.
After the success of A Wild Pair, Richardson mortgaged his own home to obtain funds to produce a full-length record with The Guess Who. He took the group to Phil Ramone‘s A&R Recording studio in New York, and produced the classic 1968 Wheatfield Soul album, which spawned a massive international hit “These Eyes“.
Richardson and The Guess Who had many more hits in the next few years (including the US and Canadian #1 single “American Woman“), and as Richardson’s reputation as a producer grew, so did his list of famous clients. From the early 1970s on, Richardson produced some of the biggest selling records of the era: Alice Cooper Love It to Death, The Irish Rovers‘ #1 hit “Wasn’t That A Party”, Bob Seger‘s “Night Moves“, Badfinger, Moxy, Poco, Max Webster and many others. This was in addition to the hits he was producing for The Guess Who, who were for a time (1970) the best selling rock group in the world.
From 1984 to 86, Richardson was the music producer for the television show, “Party With The Rovers” (The Irish Rovers) for Global TV in association with Ulster TV in Ireland.
Later, Richardson decided on another career change and became a Professor in the Music Industry Arts (MIA) program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, until he retired from teaching in 2007.
The non-profit Jack Richardson Music Awards, started in 2005, are named in his honour and given to up-and-coming musical acts and artists from London in a variety of categories.
Jack Richardson is the father of noted music producer Garth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Among Richardson’s producer credits are the following:
- The Guess Who – Wheatfield Soul, Canned Wheat, American Woman
- The Irish Rovers – Wasn’t That A Party, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
- Bob Seger – Night Moves
- Alice Cooper – Love It to Death (co-producer with Bob Ezrin), Muscle of Love (co-producer with Jack Douglas)
- Kim Mitchell – Kim Mitchell (co-producer with Mitchell)
- Max Webster – Universal Juveniles
- Moxy – Moxy II
- Poco – A Good Feelin’ to Know & Crazy Eyes
- Badfinger – Say No More
- Sword – Sweet Dreams
- Dan Schafer– A Day Without You, Dear (RCA US & Canada single)
- Tufano & Giamarresee-(Buckinghams) Ode LP