Mario Puzo, the legendary author behind the iconic novel and film series, The Godfather, has left an indelible mark on modern American literature. But there’s more to this literary genius than just his most famous creation. Today, we’re going to dive into the life of Mario Puzo, exploring his early years, his writing journey, and his eventual net worth. Let’s get started!
Net Worth: $20 Million
Date of Birth: Oct 15, 1920 – Jul 2, 1999
Place of Birth: Hell’s Kitchen, New York City
Profession: Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Author
Mario Puzo Early Life
Mario Puzo was born on October 15, 1920, in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. His parents, Maria and Antonio Puzo, were both Italian immigrants who had moved to the United States in search of a better life. Growing up in a poor family during the Great Depression, Puzo’s childhood was anything but glamorous. The family lived in a tiny, cramped apartment, and young Mario often had to share a bed with his siblings.
Despite the hardships, Puzo’s parents instilled in him a love for storytelling and a deep appreciation for their Italian roots. Mario would often listen to his mother’s tales of their homeland, sparking his interest in writing. In fact, it was his mother who inspired one of the most memorable characters in The Godfather, Vito Corleone.
As a teenager, Puzo attended the prestigious DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he began to hone his writing skills. He later joined the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, working as a public relations officer. It was during this time that Puzo started to explore his passion for writing further, penning short stories and articles for military publications.
Mario Puzo Personal Life
Mario Puzo was known to be a private person, keeping much of his personal life out of the public eye. In 1946, he married Erika Lina Broske, and the couple went on to have five children together. Although Puzo was often busy with his writing career, he made it a point to spend quality time with his family.
Despite his fame and fortune, Puzo remained down-to-earth and humble. He continued to live in the same modest house in Long Island, New York, for many years, even after the incredible success of The Godfather. Puzo was known for his wit and dry sense of humor, qualities that endeared him to his friends and family.
Mario Puzo Career
Mario Puzo’s career as a writer spanned over four decades, during which he produced numerous novels, screenplays, and short stories. Although he is best known for The Godfather, Puzo’s body of work showcases his versatility as a writer and his ability to delve into various genres.
After the success of The Godfather, Puzo continued to explore the world of organized crime in his novels, such as The Sicilian, which served as a sequel to The Godfather, and The Last Don, which tackled the life of a powerful crime boss in Hollywood. In addition to his mob-centric works, Puzo also delved into the world of gambling with Fools Die, exploring the lives of various characters connected to the Las Vegas gambling scene.
Puzo’s success in Hollywood as a screenwriter went beyond The Godfather film series. He co-wrote the script for the 1978 film Superman, which starred Christopher Reeve as the titular superhero. Later, Puzo also collaborated with director Francis Ford Coppola on the screenplay for the 1982 musical drama One from the Heart.
Throughout his career, Mario Puzo received numerous accolades and awards for his work. In addition to his Academy Awards for The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, Puzo was honored with the Screenwriters Guild Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the British Academy Film Award, among others.
Mario Puzo Net Worth
After leaving the military, Puzo tried his hand at various odd jobs while continuing to write in his spare time. He would eventually find success with his first two novels, The Dark Arena (1955) and The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965). While both books were well-received by critics, they didn’t bring Puzo the financial success he had hoped for.
Then, in 1969, Puzo published The Godfather. The novel was an instant hit, selling millions of copies worldwide and catapulting Puzo to international stardom. The Godfather’s story of the powerful and ruthless Corleone family resonated with readers, and the book’s popularity led to a film adaptation in 1972.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather film starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and James Caan, and went on to become one of the most successful and influential movies in history. Puzo himself co-wrote the screenplay, earning him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
With the success of The Godfather, Puzo’s net worth began to soar. He continued to write novels, including Fools Die (1978), The Sicilian (1984), and The Last Don (1996). He also co-wrote the screenplays for The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990), both of which were highly successful at the box office.
At the time of his death in 1999, Mario Puzo’s net worth was estimated to be around $20 million. It’s important to remember, though, that this figure accounts for not only his earnings from his novels and film adaptations, but also from various other ventures, including book royalties, film residuals, and investments. Even after his passing, Puzo’s estate continues to generate income from the enduring popularity of his works.