Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Martin Scorsese and His Mother Cook Up a Storm on Letterman in Throwback Video

Martin Scorsese and His Mother Cook Up a Storm on Letterman in Throwback Video

It’s pretty amazing to see an esteemed director like Martin Scorsese actually take part in a bit along with David Letterman. Sure, this clip is from “back in the day” in 1991. OK, so let’s set this up a little bit. Scorsese was a guest on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. This visit was around the time Scorsese’s version of Cape Fear was coming out.

That would have been enough for a good visit between Scorsese and Letterman. Dave might have even managed to get Martin to tell a funny story of two. Yet that will have to wait until another visit. Why? Scorsese is going to really get shown up by his mother, Catherine.

Scorsese movie fans, though, have seen her before. He loved to put her into his movies in a cameo role. By the time of this appearance in November 1991, Catherine was a year beyond having a spot in her son’s Mafia movie Goodfellas. As the story goes, Martin invited his mother to come on Letterman’s show and cook pizza.

So, in this clip from the Letterman show, you’ll see David and Martin chat a bit. Then the attention turns toward Catherine, a second-generation American-Italian, and her pizza. Be sure to watch for her son to try and give Mom a little bit of direction. She wasn’t having any of it. Letterman does get in on the action. But don’t mistake the cooking section as anything other than a starring spot for Catherine.

Martin Scorsese Couldn’t Hold Back His Mother

Once they bring out the finished pizza, which had been prepared before her on-air moment, Catherine tells us why she uses scissors to cut away at a pizza. As she’s getting ready to make pieces available for them to eat, Letterman looks over and calls over Bill Murray. He’d stopped by earlier in the show and was hanging around in the wings.

Never let it be said that Letterman didn’t like a good segment for his show. Catherine is as lively as ever here, going to town with her cooking as her son just looks on in amazement. It’s kind of wild to see Scorsese moved to the background. He hardly gets a word in edgewise here. Of course, Scorsese did have time to chat with Letterman about Cape Fear.

Catherine Scorsese died in 1997 at 84 years old. So, when she popped here on NBC, she already was in her 70s. Man, she appeared to have a lot of spunk in her. Just watching her interact with Dave, you could tell that the audience loved it.

Speaking of Goodfellas, here’s a quote attributed to Scorsese about how his mother treated a couple of cast members. “My mother treated (Joe) Pesci & particularly (Robert) De Niro as family members, real family members because we know each other for so long, and to her, it was my son’s friends who were making a movie,” he said.

Catherine made her last film appearance for her son in Casino, another movie where Pesci and De Niro were in the cast.