After years of struggling as a professional musician and comedy performer, actor Joe Pesci was vaulted into the limelight thanks to his Academy Award-nominated performance in director Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" (1980), starring Oscar-winner Robert De Niro. The film marked the first of several successful collaborations between Pesci, De Niro and Scorsese over the years. Though he settled into a few rather forgettable roles following his initial triumph, Pesci re-emerged later in the decade with several unforgettable performances, starting with his comic turn as mob accountant-turned-state's witness Leo Getz in "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989), a role he reprised for the third and fourth installments to the franchise. But it was his portrayal of an uncontrollably violent mobster rising up the ranks in Scorsese's brilliant crime saga, "Goodfellas" (1990) that it became his defining role. So good was Pesci that he even eclipsed De Niro in critical plaudits and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Pesci next rose above a large ensemble cast to play alleged assassination conspirator David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's "JFK" (1991), which he followed with a rare starring turn in "My Cousin Vinny" (1992). Following another collaboration with De Niro and Scorsese in "Casino" (1995), he stumbled with such duds as "Gone Fishin'" (1997) and "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag" (1997), which precipitated a surprise retirement from acting in 1999 in order for him to concentrate on music. With a cameo in De Niro's "The Good Shepherd" (2006) and a starring role in "Love Ranch" (2010), Pesci was poised to once again rise to Hollywood prominence.