Mario Puzo

Screenwriter, Novelist, Railroad switchboard attendant
After struggling for over a decade to publish a commercially successful novel, author Mario Puzo struck bestseller gold with his crime saga, The Godfather (1969), a hugely successful book that popularized the ... Read more »
Born: 10/15/1920 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (17)

Mario Puzo's The Last Don II 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Characters as Source Material

Mario Puzo's The Last Don 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Source Material (from novel)

Christopher Columbus: the Discovery 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Christopher Columbus: the Discovery 1992 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Godfather, Part III 1990 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Mario Puzo's The Fortunate Pilgrim 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Book as Source Material

The Sicilian 1987 (Movie)

("The Sicilian") (Source Material (from novel))

The Cotton Club 1984 (Movie)

(From Story)

Superman II 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Superman II 1981 (Movie)

(From Story)

A Time to Die 1978 (Movie)

(From Story)

Superman 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Earthquake 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Godfather, Part II 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Godfather, Part II 1974 (Movie)

("The Godfather") (Source Material (from novel))

The Godfather 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Godfather 1972 (Movie)

("The Godfather") (Source Material (from novel))
Actor (1)

Biography

After struggling for over a decade to publish a commercially successful novel, author Mario Puzo struck bestseller gold with his crime saga, The Godfather (1969), a hugely successful book that popularized the Mafia in American culture and led Francis Ford Coppola to direct "The Godfather" (1972), widely considered to be one of the best films ever made. Working in close collaboration with Coppola, Puzo won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and repeated the feat two years later with the sequel "The Godfather, Part II" (1974), which some considered superior to its predecessor. Because of the success of the novel and the two films, Puzo finally found the financial success he had long craved. He went on to write the scripts for "Superman" (1978) and "Superman II" (1980), and received a cool $1 million to write Coppola's misfire, "The Cotton Club" (1984). Meanwhile, fiction like Fools Die (1978), The Sicilian (1984) and The Fourth K (1991), were less than stellar follow ups to The Godfather. Following a near fatal heart attack in 1991, Puzo rebounded with The Last Don (1996), which was turned into a CBS miniseries starring Danny Aiello. While that proved to be the last major success he saw during his lifetime, Puzo nonetheless was associated for almost single-handedly bringing the Mafia to the forefront of popular culture.

Relationships

Anthony Cleri

Brother
survived him

Carol Gino

Companion
born c. 1941 met while Gino was caring for wife Erika through the cancer that would kill her companion since 1979

Virginia McLaughlin

Daughter
works for her father

Evelyn Murphy

Sister
survived him

Antonio Puzo

Father
married late became increasingly erratic finally diagnosed as schizophrenic and institutionalized

Erika Puzo

Wife
born c. 1920 in Germany met while Puzo was in Germany during World War II died in 1978 of breast cancer at age 58

Maria Puzo

Mother
Puzo claims she was the model for Don Corleone in "The Godfather" Puzo's family immigrated from the countryside near Naples

Dorothy Puzo

Daughter
directed "Cold Steel" (1987), starring Sharon Stone

Anthony Puzo

Son
works for father

Eugene Puzo

Son
gardener for father also helps brother Anthony manage father's affairs

Joseph Puzo

Son

EDUCATION

New School for Social Research

New York , New York
won a literary prize

Commerce High School

New York , New York
first, teacher Dan Drago and then another teacher praised his writing as "publishable," inspiring him to a writing career

Columbia University

New York , New York

Milestones

1997

1964 novel "The Fortunate Pilgrim" re-released by Random House

1997

CBS aired miniseries version of "The Last Don"; network paid $2.1 million, outbidding Coppola for rights

1996

Random House published comeback novel "The Last Don"

1991

Nearly died of a heart attack in Las Vegas, NV; underwent quadruple-bypass surgery at Cedars-Sinai in L.A.

1990

Co-wrote "The Godfather, Part III", considered the weakest of the three films

1988

Miniseries "Marion Puzo's the Fortunate Pilgrim", based on his 1964 novel, appeared on NBC

1987

Entrusted Michael Cimino to direct his film adaptation of his novel "The Sicilian"; it bombed egregiously

1984

Received $1 million to write a screenplay for "The Cotton Club"

1978

Paperback rights to "Fools Die" sold for then-astonishing $2.5 million

1978

Collaborated with Robert Benton, David Newman and Leslie Newman to write "Superman"; same team would script "Superman II" (1980)

1974

Shared a second Best Screenplay Oscar with Francis Ford Coppala for "The Godfather, Part II"

1972

Feature film version of "The Godfather" released; would win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Screenplay (for Puzo and director Francis Ford Coppola)

1968

Came back from European vacation to find that the bidding for "The Godfather" paperback rights had reached $415,000

1964

Second novel, "The Fortunate Pilgrim", appeared; considered by Puzo his finest work

1955

Published first novel "Dark Arena", based on his World War II experiences in Europe

Received $1.3 million advance for yet another Mafia novel

Wrote fiction and non-fiction for magazines like TRUE ACTION and MALE

Worked as a switchboard attendant for NY Central Railroad

Served in Army during World War II; assigned to the military government of captured French towns; though never firing a shot, earned five battlefield stars for coming under fire

Worked as a government clerk

Received $5K advance from Putnam for proposed Mafia novel

Raised in Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City; one of seven children

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