Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Wiseguy Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 June 2017. Web. 25 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2017, June 23). Wiseguy Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Wiseguy Study Guide." June 23, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Wiseguy Study Guide," June 23, 2017, accessed September 25, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wiseguy/.

Nicholas Pileggi | Biography

Share
Share

Nicholas Pileggi was born February 22, 1933, in New York City, where his father owned a shoe store and created music for silent films. He is a second-generation Italian American whose parents emigrated from Calabria, Italy. This geographical connection made him interested in the story of the famous New York mobster Henry Hill and the Italian American Mafia scene in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s. Pileggi grew up in a working-class neighborhood where organized crime was common to witness, and he became fascinated by the lifestyles. The subject of his biography Wiseguy (1985), Henry Hill, was also the child of Italian immigrants, and Pileggi witnessed many of the same Italian American immigrant experiences that produced the tight-knit Mafia culture.

Pileggi began his career in journalism in the 1950s and became known for his reporting on organized crime for news outlets such as the Associated Press. He wrote Wiseguy in 1985, after being approached by Henry Hill's lawyers to write Hill's biography—focusing on the rare insider's perspective on life in the Mafia. By that point, Hill needed income and proposing a book based on his life seemed a surefire way to make money—part of the deal he cut with the government allowed for the writing of a book. Interviewing Hill was a difficult venture for Pileggi, since Hill was under federal marshal projection and all interviews had to take place in the United States Attorney's Office. Yet one saving grace was Pileggi could immediately check all the facts and stories Hill gave him with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, to whom Hill had given the same testimony. After the success of the book, Pileggi helped adapt it into a screenplay called Goodfellas in 1990. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it won him the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for best-adapted screenplay. His success in screenwriting led him to write screenplays for Casino (1995) and City Hall (1996), and he later served as an executive producer for the film American Gangster (2007).

Pileggi was married to another famous author and screenwriter, Nora Ephron, for more than 30 years until her death in 2012. He is the author of two other crime-related books: Blye, Private Eye (1976) and Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas (2016).

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Wiseguy? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!