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Overview for Nicholas Pileggi
Nicholas Pileggi

Nicholas Pileggi


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Also Known As: Nick Pileggi Died:
Born: February 22, 1933 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Writer ... author journalist producer screenwriter


The career of journalist, author, screenwriter and fledgling producer Nicholas Pileggi gives lie to the adage that "crime does not pay." The New York City native has devoted himself to covering crime, criminals and law enforcement ever since 1956 when he was promoted from "go-fer" to reporter at the Associated Press. Assigned to the Police Headquarters, Pileggi began cultivating the connections that would serve him well for decades. He became the "crime expert" for NEW YORK magazine in 1968 and was still serving in this capacity in 1986 when he wrote "Wiseguy," an acclaimed nonfiction account of the lives of low-level organized crime figures. Pileggi procured tales of sometimes charismatic miscreants and their dark yet flashy deeds and sold them to the likes of ESQUIRE and LIFE before entering the movies at a very high level: co-writing "GoodFellas" (1990), the film adaptation of "Wiseguy," with lionized director Martin Scorsese. The pair earned healthy grosses, kudos and an Oscar nomination for their efforts.

Pileggi began researching his next project as the "GoodFellas" collaboration waned. "Casino" would tell the violent true story of the rise and fall of a Chicago bookie amid the bright lights and flashy dreams of Las Vegas. Scorsese took an interest in the nascent tome and deemed it cinematic. They began their second collaboration referring to Pileggi's reams of notes. As things worked out, "Casino," the slightly fictionalized film, and "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas," the nonfiction hardback, both bowed within a few weeks of each other in the fall of 1995.

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