Emmy winner Louis DiGiaimo, whose first credit in a long career as a casting director was ‘The Godfather,” died December 19 in Oakland, New Jersey. He was 77 and had reportedly suffered a stroke earlier this year.
DiGiaimo went on to cast films including “The Exorcist,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Rain Man,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Donnie Brasco” (which he also produced), “Hannibal” and “Gladiator.”
DiGiaimo, who was sometimes credited as Lou DiGiaimo, had fruitful working relationships with Barry Levinson and Ridley Scott. For the former he cast “Tin Men,” with Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito; “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987), with Robin Williams; “Rain Man,” with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman; and “Sleepers,” with Kevin Bacon, Robert De Niro and Hoffman.
DiGiaimo served as casting director on NBC’s highly regarded crime drama “Homicide: Life on the Street” (on which Levinson was an executive producer), drawing three Emmy nominations and winning in 1998.
For Ridley Scott, DiGiaimo cast “Thelma & Louise” (1991), with Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis — and a young Brad Pitt, whom DiGiaimo pushed for a supporting role; “1492: Conquest of Paradise,” starring Gérard Depardieu and Sigourney Weaver; “White Squall” (1996) with Jeff Bridges; “G.I. Jane,” starring Demi Moore; “Hannibal” (2001), starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore; and “Gladiator,” starring Russell Crowe.
DiGiaimo also cast Mike Newell’s “Donnie Brasco” (1997), starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, DiGiaimo was a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University and served as an accountant before joining an advertising firm. He launched his career in casting when he heard that Martin Ritt was making the crime drama “The Brotherhood” (1968), starring Kirk Douglas; DiGiaimo took pictures of some locals he felt could provide the right atmosphere for the movie, and Ritt hired him.