Dossier: Mitch Pileggi

Most of the information in this section was provided by Charity Tahmaseb, who started the Mitch Pileggi FAQ. Many thanks to Charity for allowing me to reproduce her hard work! However, I know that my version is now woefully out of date. The Mitch Pileggi FAQ is now maintained by Paula Mackey. Thanks Paula! You can e-mail her or check out the MPEB Home Page for the most up-to-date copy.

Mitch Pileggi is 47 years old and was born on April 5th. He is 6'2". He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Mitch is married to Arlene Rempel, 32, who is Gillian Anderson's stand-in on The X-Files, and they have one daughter, Sawyer, born in May 1998. His hobbies include working out, reading and roller-blading. His favorite authors include Anne Rice, Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut and Michael Crichton.

Pileggi was born in Oregon and grew up in various locations all over the U.S. and the world. He now lives in Valencia, Calif.

How do you pronounce Pileggi?

According to reliable sources, Mr. Pileggi pronounces his name "Puh-legdy" with emphasis on the second syllable.

Mitch Pileggi on Walter S. Skinner:

Excerpts reprinted from Fangoria, June 95 issue:

(Mitch) Pileggi knew exactly how to approach the role of Skinner. "I had a pretty good grasp when I went in," he recalls. "I was under the impression it was only going to be for one episode from last season, and then it turned out to be more, which I'm pleased about. There was about an eight-episode story arc, when Gillian Anderson had her pregnancy, where they had to take the story line someplace else, and I was part of it. Then it got away from Skinner for awhile, but now he's back."

One reason that Pileggi had such a solid feel for Skinner's behavior is that he based the initial character on his father. "He was an operations manager for a Department of Defense contractor overseas, and had many people working for him with a lot of responsibility," the actor explains. "He was very stern in his dealings with employees, but he had a compassionate side, and the producers have finally let me start exploring that aspect of Skinner. It is becoming more evident that Skinner is on Mulder's side. But because of the politics of the FBI, he has to temper everything he does and play the game.

"Even in the early episodes," Pileggi continues, "you will see that Skinner was a hardass, and yet he managed one way or another to let Mulder get what he needed. He would do it in a roundabout way, but he would do it. The way it was described to me by [writer/producer] Jim Wong is that Skinner has been where Mulder is now. He sympathizes with Mulder and knows what he's going through, but he has to be careful how he helps him.

"I want him to be a friend to Mulder," Pileggi says. "I got a letter from a fan who observed that every time Mulder brings up Deep Throat and how he was the only one he trusted, Skinner kind of bristles. I've tried to put it in subtly that Skinner is a little jealous that Mulder has had this relationship with Deep Throat. I want Mulder to trust me. That's the direction I would like the story line to go, but I don't know how close they'd let those two characters get. Chris Carter said to me once, 'Don't let Skinner get too friendly with Mulder, because you don't know what happened to Deep Throat.'"

Indeed, as Pileggi points out, even someone as highly placed as he is not immune to risk. "Skinner is walking a fence," the actor admits. "He wants to help Mulder when he can, but he has to be careful of his own back, especially with the 'smoking man.' It's funny, but the guy who plays him [William B. Davis] doesn't actually smoke, and I do. In one episode when he's in Skinner's office, there's a sign on the desk saying NO SMOKING."

While he enjoys playing Skinner, Pileggi sometimes wishes for a little more action, especially out in the field. "I keep on saying, 'Get me out of the office,'" he reveals, "They've built me a great set, but get me out. Usually, all of my stuff is hot in that office and I do my scenes in one or two days. Then I come back to Los Angeles or just hang out in Vancouver for awhile. I don't know how realistic it is to have a director get out in the field, but I'd like to have my own encounters, maybe with some monster besides the 'smoking man.'"

Is that Skinner in...

The American Express Commercial? If you're referring to the Corporate American Express Card commercial, then yes, that is Mitch Pileggi.

Mitch Pileggi has perfected the art of "Bad Guy Chic" [TM of the MPPB, 1995], so he often pops up in many shows/movies as a bad guy/heavy/enforcer, etc. So keep your eyes open and please forward any other MP sightings to: Robin Mayhall for inclusion in the Mitchly News section.

Excerpts from magazines reprinted without permission but with no infringement of copyright intended.

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