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Lou DiGiaimo

  • Birthplace: Paterson, NJ
Date of passing: 
December 19, 2015

Obituary

Obituary: 

Louis DiGiaimo was an Emmy Award-winning casting director who rose to prominence with the classic 1972 film The Godfather.

The New Jersey native was known for bringing a gritty authenticity to his work, in films ranging from The French Connection to Donnie Brasco. He also helped Brad Pitt to score his breakthrough role in Thelma and Louise.

Louis DiGiaimo was an Emmy Award-winning casting director who rose to prominence with the classic 1972 film The Godfather.

The New Jersey native was known for bringing a gritty authenticity to his work, in films ranging from The French Connection to Donnie Brasco. He also helped Brad Pitt to score his breakthrough role in Thelma and Louise.

Before he broke into casting, DiGiaimo studied at Fairleigh Dickinson University and worked as an accountant and at an advertising firm. According to news reports, he got his start in casting when he heard director Martin Ritt was making the 1968 crime saga The Brotherhood, starring Kirk Douglas, in New York. DiGiaimo thought the production would be enhanced by the use of locals in minor roles, so he took photos of some people in the city, shared them with Ritt, and wound up with a job.

The Godfather, his first film as casting director, put him on the map. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it starred Marlon Brando in the title role of crime boss Vito Corleone, and also provided major career breaks to such performers as Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Abe Vigoda, Richard Castellano and Diane Keaton.

DiGiaimo was a frequent collaborator with directors Barry Levinson and Ridley Scott. His work with Levinson included the films Tin Men, Good Morning, Vietnam, Rain Man and Sleepers, as well as the television series Homicide: Life on the Street, for which he won his Emmy. For Scott, he cast Thelma and Louise, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, White Squall, G.I. Jane, Hannibal and Gladiator.

When casting the role of J.D., the charismatic grifter who seduces Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise, DiGiaimo saw more than a hundred actors. But when DiGiaimo met Pitt, who had few credits at the time, he knew the young actor had the combination of sex appeal and menace necessary for the character, and championed him.

DiGiaimo's other feature film credits included The Exorcist, Rancho Deluxe, Breakheart Pass, Cruising, Porky's Revenge, Blue Chips and The Brave.

Additional television work included the series Movin' On, Night Heat and 100 Centre Street, as well as several made-for-TV movies, including In the Shadow of a Killer, The Hands of Time and The Big Heist.

DiGiaimo died December 19, 2015, in Oakland, NJ. He was 77.

 

 

 

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AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

1 Nomination No Emmys