Mario Gianluigi Puzo (October 15, 1920 – July 2, 1999) was a two time Academy Award-winning Italian American author and screenwriter, known for his novels about the Mafia, especially The Godfather (1969), which he later co-adapted into the legendary film with Francis Ford Coppola.
His most famous work, The Godfather, was first published in 1969 after he had heard anecdotes about Mafia organizations during his time in pulp journalism. He later said in an interview with Larry King that his principle motivation was to make money. He had already, after all, written two books that had received great reviews, yet had not amounted to much. As a government clerk with five kids, he was looking to write something that would appeal to the masses. As a number one bestseller for months on The New York Times Best Seller List, Mario Puzo had found his target audience. The book was later developed into the film The Godfather directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola and Puzo collaborated then to work on sequels to the original film, The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III).
Puzo wrote the first draft of the script for the 1974 disaster film Earthquake, which he was unable to continue working on due to his commitment to The Godfather: Part II. Puzo also co-wrote Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie and the original draft for Superman II.
Puzo never saw the publication of his penultimate book, Omertà, but the manuscript was finished before his death, as was the manuscript for The Family. However, in a review originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jules Siegel, who had worked closely with Puzo at Magazine Management Company, doubted that Puzo had actually finished Omertà and expressed the view that it may have been completed by "some talentless hack.
'Godfather' Author Mario Puzo Dies; Romanticized Mafia in Novels, Films; Much-Imitated Writer Saw His Dominant Subject as Family, Not Crime
Jul 03, 1999; Mario Puzo, 78, whose romanticized portrait of the Mafia, "The Godfather," established a genre of popular literature and was the...