Mario Puzo Biography

Larry Miller
Mario Puzo Biography

Claim to Fame: author, novelist, and screenwriter
DOB: October 15, 1920
Date of Death: July 2, 1999
Diabetes Type: unknown

Mario Puzo was born to an Italian family living in the Hells Kitchen neighborhood of New York City on October 15, 1920. Upon graduating from the City College of New York, Puzo decided to join the United States Air Force during World War II. Here he served as a public relations officer, and was stationed in East Asia and Germany. It was during this time that he was first published: "The Last Christmas" was a short story of his that appeared in American Vanguard in 1950.

After the war, Puzo decided to broaden his academic horizons in literature and creative writing, and began studying at the New School for Social Research in New York, and also at Columbia University. At the age of 35, Puzo published his first book The Dark Arena.

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Puzo worked as not only a writer, but also as the editor for Martin Goodmans Magazine Management Company. His projects included many pulp journalism features in magazines like Male, True Action, and Swank.

Puzos most notable work, The Godfather, was published in 1969 and soon became recognized by the masses. This mafia-based story focused on the themes of love, crime, family, and old world values, making it a huge commercial success. Almost immediately following its release, The Godfather hit The New York Times Best Seller List where it stayed for 67 weeks. The book was eventually turned into a film, which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and ended up winning three of them. After Puzo was also awarded an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, he collaborated with director Francis Ford Coppola to work on two Godfather sequels.

Some of Puzos later projects included Richard Donners Superman: The Movie and the draft for Superman II. He also helped with the story lines for the 1982 movie A Time to Die and the 1984 movie The Cotton Club.

Mario Puzo died of heart failure on July 2, 1999 in Long Island, New York.

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Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

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