Did you know the Mona Lisa was stolen? And that she was missing for nearly 2 1/2 years? Find out how and why in "Mona Lisa is Missing," a fun, fascinating film about the unthinkable 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous masterpiece. Follow this story from Paris to Italy, where we uncover the truth behind the "greatest art heist in history."
Each year more than 8 million people pass through the Louvre, most of them just to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. But do they know that Vincenzo Peruggia, a simple Italian workman, stole the painting in 1911 and had the Mona Lisa all to himself, hidden away in his squalid room in Paris for nearly two-and-a-half years? "Mona Lisa is Missing" tells the tale of a 35-year long obsession to find the truth about why and how Vincenzo Peruggia stole the iconic painting.
Since 1976, Joe Medeiros, former head writer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was fascinated with the story. But in 2008, it became more than an interest when Medeiros discovered that Peruggia's only child, 84-year-old Celestina, was living in the town where her father had been born. That's when the idea for the documentary was born. Celestina, like Medeiros, wanted to know the truth about her father's theft (he died when she was a toddler) - and she gave Medeiros her blessing to bring her back the answers no matter what the facts would reveal. And he did.
Medeiros has appeared on Museum Secrets Revealed the Smithsonian Channel, Raiders of the Lost Art on Ovation and has been interviewed by MSNBC, NPR, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Financial Times and a variety of other radio, television, and internet outlets. Joe began his career as an advertising copywriter. In 1988, he began working as a joke writer for Jay Leno and remained with Leno for 22 years -- 14 of which as head writer of the The Tonight Show.