Mitch Pileggi was born in Portland, Oregon, but his childhood saw him move to California, Texas, and eventually Turkey, because of his father's work as a defense contractor. He was an active athlete in high school, but ended up taking a business degree from the University of Texas. At one point he also worked as a defense contractor, but the Iranian revolution in 1979 forced him to flee to Greece.
Upon returning to the United States, Pileggi decided to pursue an acting career, something he's done since high school. His first major roles arrived in the late 1980s, beginning with 1987's Three O'Clock High.
His biggest break came in 1994, however, when he joined the cast of the cult hit The X Files. Originally slated to be a recurring character, FBI deputy Walter Skinner became a critical part of the series. It is a role Pileggi would reprise on the big screen twice, in 1998 and 2008.
Pileggi was also part of short-lived shows Tarzan and The Mountain, and held recurring roles in Grey's Anatomy, Day Break, Sons of Anarchy, Supernatural, and most recently, Medium. He has also done some voice work, notably for the animated series The Batman, and as the narrator of Breaking the Magicians' Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed.
Pileggi has been married twice, and has a daughter with his second wife, Arlene Warren.
- His favourite X-Files episode is "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose".
- Skinner's character was based on his father.
- His favourite football teams are St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins.
- Method Fest, Best Ensemble Cast, 2007 (for Man in the Chair)
- Mongrel (1982)
- On The Line (1984)
- Three O'Clock High (1987)
- Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987)
- Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)
- Brothers in Arms (1989)
- Shocker (1989)
- Guilty As Charged (1991)
- Basic Instinct (1992)
- Dangerous Touch (1994)
- It's Pat (1994)
- The X Files (1998)
- Gun Shy (2000)
- Man in the Chair (2007)
- The X Files: I Want To Believe (2008)
- Woodshop (2010)
- Falcon Crest (guest, 1987-1989)
- The X Files (regular, 1994-2002)
- Tarzan (regular, 2003)
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (recurring, 2003-2005)
- The Mountain (regular, 2004-2005)
- The Batman (voice, 2005-2007)
- Day Break (recurring, 2006-2007)
- Stargate: Atlantis (recurring, 2005-2009)
- Grey's Anatomy (recurring, 2007-2010)
- Brothers & Sisters (recurring, 2008)
- Sons of Anarchy (recurring, 2008-2010)
- Supernatural (recurring, 2008-2010)
- Medium (recurring, 2009-2010)
"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. "
On putting forward script ideas to the writers: "-No, I'm just too lazy. I come up with typical X Files character names sometimes - Sam Clutch, for instance."