Nicholas Pileggi

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Nicholas Pileggi
Pileggi in 2010
Pileggi in 2010
Born (1933-02-22) February 22, 1933 (age 91)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, producer, screenwriter, journalist
GenreCrime fiction
Years active1989–present
Notable works
(m. 1987; died 2012)

Nicholas Pileggi (/pɪˈlɛi/, Italian: [piˈleddʒi]; born February 22, 1933) is an American author, producer and screenwriter. He wrote the 1985 non-fiction book Wiseguy and co-wrote the screenplay for Goodfellas, its 1990 film adaptation, for which he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Early life[edit]

Pileggi was born and raised in Brooklyn,[1] the elder son of an Italian immigrant father, Nicola ("Nick") Pileggi from Calabria, a musician who played slide trombone in a cinema orchestra for silent films and subsequently also owned shoe stores, and an American-born mother, Susie.[2]

In the 1950s, he worked as a journalist for Associated Press and New York magazine, specializing in crime reporting for more than three decades.[2]


Pileggi began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia.[2] He is best known for writing Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family (1985), which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas (1990), and for writing Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas and the subsequent screenplay for Casino (1995). The movie versions of both were directed and co-written by Martin Scorsese.[3] Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for the film City Hall (1996), starring Al Pacino. He served as an executive producer of American Gangster (2007), a biographical crime film based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas. He also authored Blye, Private Eye (1987).[4]

Pileggi co-wrote the pilot of the CBS television series Vegas, which first aired in September 2012.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Pileggi was married to fellow author, journalist, and filmmaker Nora Ephron from 1987 until her death in 2012.[2] Journalist Gay Talese is his first cousin.[5]

Partial filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes / Awards Won
1990 Goodfellas Screenplay / Book BAFTA – Best Screenplay – Adapted (1991)
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
1993 Father Hood Producer
1994 Loyalty & Betrayal: The Story of the American Mob[6] Writer
1995 Casino Screenplay / Book
1996 City Hall Written by
2007 Kings of South Beach Written by / Producer
American Gangster Executive Producer
2012 Vegas Co-Creator and Executive Producer
2019 The Irishman Executive Producer
2024 Alto Knights Writer


  • Pileggi, Nicholas (1995). Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas (First ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-80832-1.
  • Pileggi, Nicholas (1985). Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family (First ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-72322-4.
  • Pileggi, Nicholas (1976). Blye, Private Eye (First ed.). Playboy Press, Chicago. ISBN 978-0-87223-475-8.


  1. ^ Patrick, Vincent (January 26, 1996). "Not So Organized Crime". New York Times. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Adams, Tim (February 3, 2013). "Nicholas Pileggi: the mob, Nora Ephron's death and Vegas". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Vlastelica, Ryan (September 18, 2015). "Goodfellas turned Wiseguy's simple prose into cinematic gold". AV Club.
  4. ^ "BLYE, PRIVATE EYE: The Real World of the Private Detective by Nicholas Pileggi". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  5. ^ McGrath, Charles (April 18, 2006). "Gay Talese's New Memoir Emerges After 14 Tortured Years". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  6. ^ Loynd, Ray (July 25, 1994). "'Loyalty and Betrayal': An Inside Look at the Mafia". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]