Aside from clothing, food, and shelter, reading books is another thing that has kept human beings going either through entertainment or moral lessons. While everybody can pick up their pen to write, some are blessed with the gift of writing intriguing stories that capture the moment, portray reality with an intriguing storyline. Not many authors work live after their demise. However, this American happens to be a standout.
Today’s story is about Mario Gianluigi Puzo, born October 15, 1920, in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City to Italian immigrants from Pietradefusi, Province of Avellino, Campania. He was an American author, screenwriter, and journalist of Italian descent popularly known as Mario Puzo. He served in the US Army Air Forces in Germany in World War II and later graduated from the City College of New York.
His father was always busy as a trackman for the New York Central Railroad and committed to the Pilgrim State Hospital insane asylum for schizophrenia; he was raised alone by his mother and other siblings. At one point, Mario lost his wife, Erika, to breast cancer which made him a lonely man at some point.
Every great person always goes through challenges at some point in life. Nevertheless, the ability to endure tough times always made them stronger.
Mario’s journey to greatness began when he wrote his first short story, “The Last Christmas,” published in American Vanguard. After the war, he wrote his first book, The Dark Arena, published in 1955. In 1960, he was hired by Bruce Jay Friedman as an assistant editor of a group of men’s pulp magazines with titles such as Male, Men. Under the pen name Mario Cleri, Puzowrote World War II adventure features for the magazine True Action.
His Eureka moment finally arrived when he published his book The Godfather, which immediately garnered recognition among critics and publishers. Puzo stated this story came from research into organized crime, not from personal experience, and was looking to write something that would appeal to the masses. The novel remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 67 weeks and sold over nine million copies in two years. The book will later develop into the film The Godfather in 1972 and was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The film received three awards of the eleven Oscar category nominations, including Puzo’s Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. It later led to Coppola and Puzo collaboration on films such as The Godfather Part II in 1974 and The Godfather Part III in 1990.
In 1991, Puzo’s long-awaited speculative fiction, The Fourth K, was finally published. It hypothesizes a member of the Kennedy family who becomes President of the United States early in the 2000s. In September 2020, for the film’s 30th anniversary, it was announced that a new cut of the film titled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone would have a limited theatrical release in December 2020, followed by digital and Blu-ray.
Other works of Mario Puzo such as Omerta, The Family and many more have inducted him into the writers’ hall of fame. His literary works are bound to live in the mind of book and movie lovers for a long time.