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Mario Puzo (1920 - 1999)

American Novelist and screenwriter. One of seven children born to illiterate Italian immigrants, Puzo had an interest in writing that blossomed in high school. After serving in Germany during World War II, Puzo returned to New York and attended Columbia University. He published his first novel in 1955, The Dark Arena, and the second in 1965, The Fortunate Pilgrim: they won critical success but generated few sales. In 1969 The Godfather, a book about the fictional Corleone crime family, was published and quickly became a best-seller. Puzo cowrote the screenplay for The Godfather with Francis Ford Coppola, and the film, which starred Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, and James Caan, was released in 1972. A sequel came out in 1974 and in 1990 The Godfather, Part III was released. The three films won a total of nine Academy Awards. Puzo continued to write novels, including The Sicilian in 1984, The Fourth K in 1992, and The Last Don in 1996.

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