LATEST: Hollywood actor Robert De Niro will be granted Italian citizenship - despite objections from an Italian-American pressure group.

The Order Sons of Italy in America wrote a letter to Prime Minister SILVIO BERLUSCONI earlier last week (ends13AUG04), urging him to cancel the planned honour because they believe De Niro's onscreen gangster roles have tarnished their image.

But Culture Minister GIULIANO URBANI has refused to be bullied and still wants to grant De Niro honorary citizenship during next month's (SEP04) VENICE FILM FESTIVAL, where he is expected to promote his voice-over role in the animated movie Shark Tale.

De Niro, whose paternal grandparents Giovanni and ANGELINA were born in Italy, has played a wide range of mob roles in films including The Godfather: PART II and Goodfellas.

15/08/2004 10:34