Robert De Niro (born 17.8.1943)
Robert De Niro is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. He is best known for his roles in films such as Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. De Niro is widely respected for his commitment to method acting, and once worked for three months as a taxi driver to prepare him for his role as Travis Bickle.
Robert De Niro: Childhood
Robert De Niro was born in New York. His mother, Virginia Admiral, was a painter and his father, also named Robert De Niro, was also a painter and sculptor. His heritage is Italian and Irish, on his father's side and English, German, French and Dutch on his mother's side. De Niro's parents divorced when he was two and he grew up in Little Italy, Manhattan.
After attending the Little Red School House, his mother sent him to the Fiorella H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art. Among his fellow pupils there was Al Pacino. He also attended the Stella Adler Conservatory and Lee Strasberg's Actor Studio.
Aged 16, De Niro toured in a production of Chekhov's play The Bear.
Robert De Niro: Acting Career
In 1963, De Niro appeared in Brian De Palma's The Wedding Party. For the rest of the decade, de Niro mainly worked in off-Broadway theatre productions and a number of theatre workshops. The Wedding Party was not released until 1969, so his first official film appearance was in 1968's Greetings, another De Palma number.
In 1973, his role as a terminally ill baseball player in Bang the Drum Slowly earned him a great deal of public attention. Later that year, his long-term collaborative relationship with Martin Scorsese began when he starred alongside Harvey Keitel in Mean Streets. This relationship saw him starring in films such as Taxi Driver (in which he plays the film's main protagonist, Travis Bickle), New York, New York, Raging Bull (the biopic of troubled boxing legend Jake La Motta), The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Casino.
The next year, De Niro played the young Don Vito Corleone in the Godfather, Part II, a Francis Ford Coppola film. His performance earned him his second Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1978, De Niro's appearance as Michael Vronsky in The Deer Hunter earned him another Oscar Nomination, this time for Best Actor.
In the 1980s, De Niro began to branch out into comedy roles. He had a small role in Terry Gilliam's Brazil as well as the popular action-comedy Midnight Run. De Niro went on to star alongside Billy Crystal in 1999's Analyze This and its sequel, Analyze That. A similar success was Meet the Parents, in 2000 and its follow-up Meet the Fockers, in 2004.
Interspersed with these comedic successes, De Niro also starred in a slew of more serious movies. Most notably, De Niro appeared opposite Robin Williams in Awakenings, playing a patient given new life by medication. 1993 saw De Niro star alongside Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio - then both relatively unknown - in This Boy's Life. In 1995, De Niro starred in Michael Mann's blockbuster, Heat.
In 2006, De Niro turned down a role in The Departed in order to work as director on The Good Shepherd. He co-starred in the film, along with Matt Damon, Joe Pesci and Angelina Jolie.
In 2008, De Niro was reunited with Al Pacino. Although the pair had starred in the same films before, this was the first time that they had ever shared screen-time together. Also starring the rapper 50 Cent, the film received a lukewarm reception from film critics.
Robert De Niro: Personal Life
De Niro has a son, Raphael, from his first wife, Diahnne Abbott. During the marriage, Robert also adopted Abbott's daughter Drena. He also has twin sons, Julian Henry and Aaron Kendrick, from a relationship with Toukie Smith and a son Elliot. Elliot is the product of De Niro's second marriage, to Grace Hightower.
De Niro has been bestowed with Italian citizenship.
Robert De Niro is a supporter of the Democratic Party and has been a vocal advocate of Barack Obama.