- As a child, he appeared in plays and the TV variety show Startime Kids.
- Recorded an album in the '60s called Little Joe Sure Can Sing under the name Joe Ritchie.
- Played guitar and sang in the band Joey Dee and the Starliters.
- Landed the role of Joey LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980) after Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro saw him in the 1976 cheapie The Death Collector.
- Provided the voice of the Brooklyn Bridge in a Lexus commercial.
- Friendly with the members of The Four Seasons and appeared as a character in the group's Tony-winning bio-musical Jersey Boys.
- Sued producers of Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father in 2011, claiming he gained 30 lbs. for a promised lead role in the film, only to then be offered a smaller part.
- 1981, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 1990, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner
- 1980, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 1981, BAFTA Film Awards — Most Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles: Winner
- 1991, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- Mary Pesci — Mother
- Angelo Pesci — Father
- Claudia Haro — Ex-wife
- Tiffany Pesci — Daughter
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