My Cousin Vinny

The Book Series

larry kelter headshotLawrence Kelter (Author: Back To Brooklyn)
Lawrence Kelter never expected to be a writer. In fact, he was voted the student least likely to step foot into a library. Well, times change, and he has now authored several novels including the internationally best-selling Stephanie Chalice, and Chloe Mather Thriller Series. 
​Early in his writing career, he received support from literary icon, Nelson DeMille, who was gracious enough to put pencil to paper to assist in the editing of the first book, and felt strongly enough about the finished product to say, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum.”
 He’s excited to announce the forthcoming release of Back To Brooklyn, the long-awaited literary sequel to the film My Cousin Vinny. It will be the first in a series of comic adventures featuring Vinny Gambini and Mona Lisa Vito. He guarantees each and every one of these tales to be laugh your butt off funny!
He’s lived in the Metro New York area most of his life and relies primarily on familiar locales for story settings. He does his best to make each novel quickly paced and crammed full of twists, turns, and laughs.

Larry has written several novels, novellas, and short stories. If you'd like to know about him and his book catalogue simply click on the Mystery Chest on the right. 


Dale LaunerDale Launer (Screenwriter/Producer: My Cousin Vinny)
Dale Launer’s movie-biz break came when the producing team of Joanna Lancaster and Richard Wagner read a writing sample that so enthused them, they optioned it, set it up, and two studios, two directors and a number of drafts later, the movie was produced at Disney titled it RUTHLESS PEOPLE, starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito.
 Launer hooked up with Charles Hirschhorn to write and produce DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. The movie was set up at Orion starring Michael Caine and Steven Martin, and introducing Glenn Headly. The next movie was one he wrote and produced - an original screenplay called MY COUSIN, VINNY. Jonathan Lynn was attached as director. Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei were cast in the leads, and Fred Gywnne as the judge. It starred Joe Pesci and won an Oscar for Marisa Tomei.He also wrote, directed and produced an "experimental" film titled Tom's Nu Heaven, which won Best Picture at the Monaco Film Festival.  This was one of the first movies to be shot on "high definition." He also wrote the spec screenplay Bad Dog - which Dreamworks purchased as one of the biggest screenplay sales in history. In 2003 Launer was chosen as the keynote speaker for NAB's "Digital Cinema Summit" where he discussed ways that explore new and innovative production methods exploited by the new digital technologies. Methods which are commonly used now. He also wrote and directed Tom's Nu Heaven, an early "High Definition" film which won Best Picture at the 2007 Monaco Film Festival.
 
Both My Cousin Vinny and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels made the Top 101 Funniest Screenplays of All Time by the Writers Guild of America. Dirty Rottten Scoundrels came to Broadway as a musical in 2005 staring John Lithgow. The company is currently on tour in the UK.


Joe PesciJoe Pesci (Vincent LaGuardia Gambini)
Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943, in Newark, NJ, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor and by the mid-50s was starring on the series "Star Time Kids". In the mid-'60s he released a record under the stage name of "Joe Ritchie" titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing", and was also playing guitar with several bands. He even joined with friend Frank Vincent to start a vaudeville-style comedy act, but met with limited success (interestingly, Pesci and Vincent would later go on to co-star in several gangster films together, including Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). His work in The Death Collector was seen by Robert DeNiro, who convinced director Martin Scorsese to cast him as "Joey LaMotta" in the epic boxing film Raging Bull (1980), which really got him noticed in Hollywood. He played opposite Rodney Dangerfield in Easy Money(1983), was with buddy DeNiro again in Once Upon A Time In America (1984), nearly stole the show as con man Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2(1989) and scored a Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing the psychotic Tommy DeVito in "Goodfellas".  His comedic talents shone again in the mega-popular Home Alone (1990), and he put in a terrific performance as co-conspirator David Ferrie in JFK (1991). Pesci was back again as Leo Getz for Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), and was still a bumbling crook in Home Alone 2 (1992), and had a minor role in the. He was lured back by Scorsese to play another deranged gangster named Nicky (based on real-life hood in the violent Casino (1995). 


Marisa Tomei (Mona Lisa Vito)
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York to mother Patricia "Addie" Tomei, an English teacher and father Gary Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa also has a brother, actor Adam Tomei  As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent. She was one year into her college education at Boston University when she dropped out for a co-starring role on the CBS daytime drama As The World Turns (1956). Her role on that show paved the way for her entrance into film: in 1984, she made her film debut with a bit part in The Flamingo Kid (1984). Three years later, Marisa became known for her role as Maggie Lawton, Lisa Bonet's college roommate, on the sitcom  A Different World (1987). Her real breakthrough came in 1992, when she co-starred asJoe Pesci's hilariously foul-mouthed, scene-stealing girlfriend in My Cousin Vinny (1992), a performance that won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Later that year, she turned up briefly as a snippy Mabel Normand in director Richard's Attenborough's biopic Chaplin (1992), and was soon given her first starring role in Untamed Heart (1993). A subsequent starring role -- and attempted makeover into Audrey Hepburn -- in the romantic comedy Only You (1994).


Ralph Macchio (Bill Gambini)
Ralph George Macchio was born on November 4, 1961 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He started out in various TV commercials in the late 1970s before appearing in the puerile comedy movie Up the Academy (1980), then a regular role in 1980 on the television series Eight is Enough(1977) followed by a decent performance as teenager Johhny Cade in the The Outsiders (1983) based on the popular S.E. Hinton novel about troubled youth. In 1984, Macchio scored the lead role in The Karate Kid (1984) directed by Rocky (1976) director John G. Avildsen. The film was a phenomenal success, being highly popular with adults and children alike. The movie spawned two equally popular sequels The Karate Kid II(1986) and The Karate Kid Part III(1989), both again starring Macchio and Pat Morita, and both directed by Avildsen. Macchio also starred in the blues road movie Crossroads (1986), featured alongside Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny(1992) and, looking to toughen up his image, Macchio played a hit man in A Good Night To Die (2003). Arguably, movie audiences still identify Macchio very strongly with his Karate Kid role, but as his features have gained a more weathered, adult edge, he has found opportunities and positive reviews from appearances in stage productions showcasing his acting talent. It would be great to see this versatile actor score some broader and more challenging film roles.


Fred Gwynne (Judge Chamberlain Haller)
Fred Gwynne was an enormously talented character actor most famous for starring in the television situation comedies Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) (as Officer Francis Muldoon) and The Munsters (1964) (as the Frankenstein clone Herman Munster). He was very tall and had a resonant, baritone voice that he put to good use in Broadway musicals. Born Frederick Hubbard Gwynne in New York City on July 10, 1926, to a wealthy stockbroker father, he attended the exclusive prep school Groton, where he first appeared on stage in a student production of William Shalespeare's "Henry V". After serving in the United States Navy as a radioman during World War II, he went on to Harvard, where he majored in English and was on the staff of the "Harvard Lampoon". At Harvard, he studied drawing with artist R.S. Merryman and was active in dramatics. A member of the Hasty Pudding Club, he performed in the dining club's theatricals, appearing in the drag revues of 1949 and 1950. After graduating from Harvard with the class of 1951, Gwynne acted in Shakespeare with a Cambridge, Massachusetts repertory company before heading to New York City, where he supported himself as a musician and copywriter. His principal source of income for many years came from his work as a book illustrator and as a commercial artist. His first book, "The Best in Show", was published in 1958.
On February 20, 1952, he made his Broadway debut as the character "Stinker", in support of Helen Hayes, in the comic fantasy "Mrs. McThing". The play, written by "Harvey (1950)" author Mary Chase, had a cast featuring Ernest Borgnine, the future "Professor" Irwin Corey and Brandon DeWilde the young son of the play's stage manager, Frederick DeWilde. The play ran for 320 performances and closed on January 10, 1953. He next appeared on Broadway in Burgess Meredith's staging of Nathaniel Benchley's comedy "The Frogs of Spring", which opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on October 21, 1953. The play flopped, closing on Halloween Day after but 15 performances. He did not appear on Broadway again for almost seven years.
With time, his characterisation of Herman Munster began to fade and he began establishing himself as a film character actor of note in the 1980s with well-reviewed appearances in The Cotton Club (1984), Ironweed (1987), Disorganized Crime (1989) and Pet Cemetery (1989), in which his character, Jud Crandall, was based on author Stephen King, who himself is quite tall. Gwynne also made a memorable turn as the judge who battles with the eponymous My Cousin Vinny (1992), his last film. Critic and cinema historian Mick LaSalle cited Gwynne's performance as Judge Chamberlain Haller in his August 2003 article "Role call of overlooked performances is long", writing: "Half of what made Joe Pesci funny in this comedy was the stream of reactions of Gwynne, as the Southern Judge, a Great Dane to Joe Pesci's yapping terrier."