A solid character actor whose balding head and craggy face are perfect for playing any number of stuffy bureaucrats, Mitch Pileggi gradually came to attention in the television world as FBI Deputy Director Walter S. Skinner, the man directly in charge of Special Agents Mulder and Scully in their investigations into The X-Files. At first played mainly as a brick wall for Mulder to run into periodically, Skinner has gradually taken on depth and nuance, as well as a certain mysterious quality -- he appears to be somehow involved with the mysterious Elders, yet has stood against them, and the Cigarette Smoking Man (William D. Davis) on more than one occasion. Skinner has also been the primary focus of several episodes, and has been tied directly into the mythology of the series. Neither Mulder nor Scully seem to have a firm idea of where Skinner stands and his position was supposed to be revealed in the 1998 X-Files motion picture.
Pileggi is the son of a former Department of Defense contractor who took his family all over the world during Pileggi's youth. Pileggi himself also went to work, very briefly, for the Department of Defense, but abandoned that career track in favor of theater when he was 27 years old. He quickly graduated from the theater to parts in television and motion pictures, always playing relatively small, low-key parts. He had a recurring part in Dallas for a while. During his career he had lead billing only in Wes Craven's Shocker, in which he played a serial killer who manages to cheat the electric chair by becoming electrical energy himself.
A couple of Pileggi fan clubs have been created since his first appearance on The X-Files, and his AudioBook readings of the various X-Files novelizations have done very well for HarperCollins. While Skinner's ultimate fate is unknown, he seems likely to survive the 1998 X-Files movie -- though one should be mindful of the ultimate fates of earlier characters Deep Throat and Mister X.