I was 45 years old and tired of being an artist. Besides, I owed $20,000 to relatives, finance companies, banks, and assorted bookmakers and shylocks. It was time to grow up and sell out, as Lenny Bruce once advised.Mario Puzo on the secret origins of The Godfather. Via MeFi.
I called my brother to tell him the good news. This brother had ten per cent of The Godfather because he’d supported me all my life and gave me a final chunk of money to complete the book. So now I wanted him to know that since my half of the paperback rights came to $205,000, he was in for a little over 20 grand.
He is the kind of guy who is always home when I call to borrow money. Now that I had money to give back, he was naturally out. I got my mother on the phone. She speaks broken English but understands the language perfectly. I explained it to her.
She asked, ‘$40,000?’
I said no, it was $410,000. I told her three times before she finally answered, ‘Don’t tell nobody.’