Name: Mitch Pileggi
Date of Birth: 5 April 1952
Place of Birth: Portland, Oregon, USA
Character on the X Files: Assistant Director Walter Sergei Skinner
Currently resident in: Valencia, CA
Height: 6' 2"
Education: Graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He also attended Fullerton College, the University of Maryland branch college in Munich, Germany.
Spouse: Arlene Warren (1996-present)
Debbie Andrews (1978-83) divorced
Off Duty: roller-blading, playing guitar, and working out.
Awards: Nomination, 1998 SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for The X Files. Nomination shared with: Gillian Anderson, William B. Davis, David Duchovny
Trivia: Host of "Breaking the Magician's Code" specials (1 and 2).
Narrates audio versions of Kevin J. Anderson's novels "X-Files: Ruins" and "X-Files: Antibodies".
Any supernatural events in his life: "My dorm when I was studying in Munich was an old SS barracks that was supposedly haunted. One night we were sitting around, making fun of the spirits. At some point I went back to my room. There was a big brass candelabra on the dresser. I knelt down to get into the closet and the candelabra came crashing down and just missed my head. It was on a totally flat surface. Nothing could have knocked it over. It was very weird. I apologized to the spirit immediately." ( March 6, 1995 issue of Entertainment Weekly)
Hardcore fan club: The Mitch Pileggi Pheromone Brigade/Estrogen Brigade (MPPB/MPEB)
Bio: (Baseline II Inc.1998) This tall, athletic and bald character-player of film and TV certainly made the most of a guest shot on a first-season episode ("Tooms") of the hit Fox paranormal drama "The X-Files". Pileggi (pronounced "puh-ledgy") was invited back for an eight-episode arc at the beginning of the second season--largely coinciding with Gillian Anderson's diminished presence due to her pregnancy. Initially viewed with suspicion by both the show's protagonists and fans, the intense, repressed and seething FBI Assistant Director Skinner eventually won everyone over with his quietly heroic efforts to aid his sometimes renegade agents, even at the price of angering his masters and putting his professional and physical life on the line. Skinner has said that he stands on the line that David Duchovny's Agent Fox Mulder routinely crosses. The character became one of the show's tiny group of recurring characters. Pileggi realized well into his characterization that he had been unconsciously modeling Skinner on his own late father, Vito, a defense contractor.
The peripatetic nature of his father's profession took the young Pileggi and his family from his native Portland, OR, to California to such far-flung locales as Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Iran. He first began acting as a student in an American high school in Turkey, discovering a penchant for musicals. Pileggi fell away from the limelight after high school, taking an undergraduate business degree at the University of Texas at Austin. He worked as a defense contractor himself for several years in Iran before fleeing the revolution. Settling finally in Austin, TX, Pileggi took up performing in community theater and went on to bit parts in TV. Moving to Los Angeles, he won additional TV guest shots and roles in low-budget genre movies--his most notable was as mass murderer Horace Pinker, the lead in Wes Craven's wildly uneven supernatural thriller "Shocker" (1989). His character survives the electric chair transformed into a malevolent energy that kills through TV. Pileggi sank his teeth into the showy part--cast by Craven for his ability to make criminality sexy--but the film's poor critical and commercial reception thwarted the producers' aim to create a new Freddy Krueger. Usually cast as toughs, unsympathetic cops and bad guys, Pileggi had small parts in such films as "Return of the Living Dead Part II" (1988), "Basic Instinct" (1992) and "It's Pat" (1994).
Finally achieving celebrity with his role on "The X-Files," Pileggi has become a sex-symbol of sorts to many of the show's ardent admirers. His relaxed and youthful demeanor during conventions and personal appearances has served to enhance his status as a fan favorite. Accordingly, the shows' producers have slowly been giving Skinner more of a life beyond the walls of his office. Pileggi was promoted to series regular with the 1996-97 season.
X Files trivia: He is married to Arlene Warren who was Gillian Anderson's stand-in and played A.D.Skinner's secretary on the show…now that's what I call an office romance.
More details on the character from the horse's mouth (from Fangoria magazine, June 1995): 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.'"
Filmography: Mitch has had many bit parts in movies including the infamous Basic Instinct. In 2000, he will appear in the movie Gun Shy. He has done a few TV movies like Raven Hawk and Knight Rider 2000.
On TV he has had guest roles on Dallas (recurring), That '70s Show, Walker: Texas Ranger and The A-Team.
For a more detailed filmography visit:
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