Nicholas Pileggi
Born February 22, 1933 (1933-02-22) (age 78)New York City, New York
Occupation producer, screenwriter
Years active 1990 - present
Spouse Nora Ephron (1987-)


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Nicholas Pileggi

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Pileggi in New York City, 2010.

Nicholas Pileggi is one of the Godfathers of crime entertainment. He is best known for writing the book Wiseguy, a bestseller which he later adapted into the movie Goodfellas. He also wrote the book and screenplay for Casino.


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Nicholas Pileggi was born February 22, 1933, in New York, NY; son of Nick (a shoe store owner) and Susan (Defaslo) Pileggi. In college he got a job as a messenger and then later a copy boy at the Associated Press, which led to him becoming a police reporter at the AP after college. "I just wound up being a police reporter until I was thirty. I didn't begin to write really until I was thirty years old. Then, I began to do magazine article, usually about the only subject I knew which was cops and robbers and courts." He said in an interview with Creative Screenwriting magazine.
When Simon & Schuster were looking for a someone to write a book about mobster turned FBI informant, Henry Hill whose story they had just bought the rights to. The book became Wiseguy and launched his career. While there were books before that had dealt with the Mafia, Wiseguy was revolutionary in that it dealt with the inner dealings of the Mafia from the point of view of a small time mobster. The book was released in 1986 and Martin Scorsese called soon after. "He said, 'My name is Marty Scorsese, I'm a movie director.' I said, 'I've been waiting for this phone call all my life."

He married the writer and director Nora Ephron in 1987.

Pileggi has many projects currently in development including a Goodfellas TV series with Martin Scorsesse. Pileggi told Britain's Culture magazine, "We're trying (to develop the TV series). I want to do it, Marty wants to do it, Warner Bros wants to do it. Of course, you can't pick up from Goodfellas, since we murdered everybody, or rather, everybody was murdered! There's nobody left. But I think we're going to figure out a way to do the early years - sort of a prequel. The part of the movie people often like best is the opening third, where all the funny stuff is happening, and there's so much we could fit in."

He gave the journalist Mark Jacobson the idea to write about heroin kingpin Frank Lucas which was later turned into the movie American Gangster which Pileggi executive produced.


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  • Pileggi, Nicholas. Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, ISBN 0-684-80832-3


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Writer (6 titles)
2007 Kings of South Beach (TV movie) (written by / as Nick Pileggi)

1997-1998 Michael Hayes (TV series)

1996 City Hall (written by)

1995 Casino (book / screenplay)

1994 Loyalty & Betrayal: The Story of the American Mob (TV documentary)

1990 Goodfellas (book "Wise Guy" / screenplay)

Producer (5 titles)
2007 American Gangster (executive producer)

2007 Kings of South Beach (TV movie) (producer)

1999 Vendetta (TV movie) (executive producer)

1997-1998 Michael Hayes (TV series) (executive producer - 17 episodes)


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    British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award: best adapted screenplay

    Academy Award nomination, best writing, screenplay based on material from another medium

    Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay--motion picture

    Writers Guild of America Screen Award nomination, best screenplay based on material from another medium

    Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination

    Mystery Writers of America, best motion picture,

    Awards from the New York State Bar Association and the Detective Association

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