ROBERT DENIRO Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Robert Mario De Niro, Jr.                                                             
Born: 17 August 1943 New York City, New York, U.S.                                           
Robert Mario De Niro, Jr. (born August 17, 1943) is a two-time Academy Award-               
and Golden Globe-winning American film actor, director, and producer, widely                 
considered to be one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time.               
He is noted for his method acting and portrayal of conflicted, troubled                     
characters and for his enduring collaboration with director Martin Scorsese. He             
is best known for his roles as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II,             
Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Michael "Mike" Vronsky in The Deer Hunter, boxer               
Jake Lamotta in Raging Bull, and as Al Capone in The Untouchables. De Niro was               
voted #2 for the Channel 4 website's "100 greatest actors of all time".                     
De Niro was born in New York City, the son of Virginia Admiral, a painter, and               
Robert De Niro, Sr., an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor. De Niro's               
father was a lapsed Catholic of Italian and Irish descent and his mother a                   
Jewish-raised atheist of German, Dutch and French descent. His Italian                       
great-grandparents had emigrated from Ferrazzano, in the province of Campobasso,             
Molise. His parents, who had met at the painting classes of Hans Hofmann in                 
Provincetown, Massachusetts, divorced when he was two years old. De Niro grew up             
in the Little Italy area of Manhattan. His childhood nickname was "Bobby Milk"               
due to his pale complexion.                                                                 
De Niro first attended the Little Red School House and was then enrolled by his             
mother at the High School of Music and Art in New York. He dropped out at the               
age of 13 and joined a Little Italy street gang. De Niro attended the Stella                 
Adler Conservatory, as well as Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio, and used his                 
membership there mostly as a professional advantage. At the age of 16 he toured             
in a production of Chekhov's The Bear.                                                       
At the age of 20, in 1963, came De Niro's first film role and collaboration with             
Brian De Palma, when he appeared in The Wedding Party; it was not released until             
1969, however. He spent much of the 1960s working in theater workshops and off-Broadway     
productions. He was an extra in the French film Three Rooms in Manhattan (1965),             
and made his official film debut after he reunited with De Palma in Greetings (1968)         
and later reprised his Greetings role in Hi, Mom (1970).                                     
He gained popular attention with his role as a dying Major League baseball                   
player in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). The same year he began his fruitful                   
collaboration with Scorsese when he played his memorable role as the smalltime               
Mafia hood "Johnny Boy" alongside Harvey Keitel's "Charlie" in Mean Streets (1973).         
In 1974, De Niro played a pivotal role in Francis Coppola's The Godfather Part               
II playing young Don Vito Corleone. His performance earned him his first Academy             
Award for Best Supporting Actor. He became the first actor to ever win an                   
Academy Award speaking only a foreign language, Sicilian.                                   
After working with him in Mean Streets he had a very successful working                     
relationship with Scorsese in films such as Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New               
York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), Goodfellas (1990),               
Cape Fear (1991), and Casino (1995). (They also acted together in Guilty by                 
Suspicion and Shark Tale.)                                                                   
In these films, De Niro has primarily played charming sociopaths. Taxi Driver is             
particularly important to De Niro's career; his iconic performance as Travis                 
Bickle shot him to stardom and forever linked De Niro's name with Bickle's                   
famous "You talkin' to me?" monologue, which De Niro improvised himself.                     
In 1976, De Niro appeared, along with GĂ©rard Depardieu and Donald Sutherland, in           
Bernardo Bertolucci's epic biographical exploration of life during World War II,             
Novecento (1900), seen through the eyes of two Italian childhood friends at the             
opposite sides of society's hierarchy.                                                       
In 1978, De Niro played "Michael Vronsky" in the acclaimed Vietnam War film The             
Deer Hunter, for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was             
offered the role of "Cowboy" in director Walter Hill's The Warriors (1979) but               
turned it down.                                                                             
Praised for his commitment to roles (stemming from his background in Method                 
acting), De Niro gained 60 pounds (27 kg) and learned how to box for his                     
portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, ground his teeth for Cape Fear, lived             
in Sicily for The Godfather Part II, worked as a cab driver for three months for             
Taxi Driver, and learned to play the saxophone for New York, New York. He also               
put on weight and shaved his hairline to play Al Capone in The Untouchables.                 
De Niro's brand of Method acting includes employing whatever extreme tactic he               
feels is necessary to elicit the best performance from those he is acting with.             
An example of De Niro's Method acting was during the filming of The King of                 
Comedy, in which De Niro directed a slew of anti-Semitic epithets at co-star                 
Jerry Lewis in order to enhance and authenticate the anger demonstrated by his               
onscreen character. An enraged Lewis claims he was going for Bobby's throat.                 
Although unmistakably better known for his roles in Scorsese's films, he starred             
in Sergio Leone's last film: a four-hour long epic period gangster movie titled             
Once Upon a Time in America. Leone had spent almost ten years of his life trying             
to obtain the rights to get the film, which was heavily edited for US theaters               
and was underplayed both with critics and audiences alike. The original uncut               
version, however, is widely regarded as Leone's best work. Leone himself found               
it better than his previous films (i.e. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly). He                 
even said that Robert De Niro was a real actor, unlike Clint Eastwood..                     
Fearing he had become typecast in mob roles, De Niro from the mid-1980s began               
expanding into occasional comedic roles, and has had much success there as well             
with such films as Brazil (1985), in which he had a small role; the hit action-comedy       
Midnight Run (1988), the melodrama Awakenings (1990) with Robin Williams where               
DeNiro plays a catatonic patient brought to life by medication; Showtime (2002)             
opposite Eddie Murphy; and the film-and-sequel pairs Analyze This (1999) and                 
Analyze That (2002), and Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004).               
Other films include Falling in Love (1984), The Mission (1986), Angel Heart (1987)           
Heat (1995), Wag the Dog (1997) and Ronin (1998). In 1997, he reteamed with                 
Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta, along with Sylvester Stallone, in the crime drama             
Cop Land. De Niro proved he was able to play a supporting role taking a back                 
seat to Stallone, Keitel and Liotta.                                                         
In 1993 he also starred in This Boy's Life, featuring then-rising child actors               
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.                                                         
In 1995 De Niro starred in Michael Mann's Heat, along with fellow actor Al                   
Pacino. The duo drew much attention from fans as both have generally been                   
compared throughout their careers. Though both Pacino and De Niro starred in The             
Godfather Part II, they shared no screen time. In May 2007, reported             
that De Niro and Pacino will once again appear in a film together as police                 
investigators hunting a serial killer in the crime thriller Righteous Kill.                 
In 2004, De Niro provided the voice of Don Lino, the antagonist in the animated             
film Shark Tale, opposite Will Smith. This was De Niro's first experience with               
voice acting. When interviewed about his role in Shark Tale, De Niro said that               
participating in an animated cartoon was one of the funniest aspects of his                 
Hollywood career. He also reprised his role as Jack Byrnes in                               
Meet the Fockers. Both films were very successful at the box office, but                     
received mixed reviews.                                                                     
De Niro had to turn down a role in The Departed (Martin Sheen taking the role               
instead) due to commitments preparing The Good Shepherd. He said "I wanted to. I             
wish I could've been able to, but I was preparing The Good Shepherd so much that             
I couldn't take the time to. I was trying to figure a way to do it while I was               
preparing. It just didn't seem possible."                                                   
In De Niro's next project, he directed and co-starred in The Good Shepherd (2006),           
also starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie. The movie also reunited him                     
onscreen with Joe Pesci, with whom De Niro had starred in Raging Bull, Once Upon             
A Time in America, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale and Casino.                                     
On June 7, 2006, it was announced that De Niro donated his film archive,                     
including scripts, costumes, and props, to the Harry Ransom Center at The                   
University of Texas at Austin. De Niro has said that he is working with Martin               
Scorsese on a new project. "I'm trying to actually work...Eric Roth (screenwriter)           
and myself and Marty are working on a script now, trying to get it done."                   
De Niro has won two Academy Awards: Best Actor for his role in Raging Bull; and             
Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather Part II.                                             
De Niro and Marlon Brando are the only actors who won Academy Awards for                     
portraying the same character: Brando won for playing the elderly Don Vito                   
Corleone (though he declined the award) in The Godfather while De Niro later won             
the award for playing the young Vito in The Godfather Part II. Brando and De                 
Niro came together onscreen for the first and only time in The Score (2001). De             
Niro actually auditioned for the role of Sonny in the first Godfather but                   
the role was given to James Caan. When The Godfather Part II was in                         
preproduction, the director, Francis Ford Coppola, remembered De Niro's audition,           
and cast him to play the young Vito Corleone. De Niro's performance is one of               
only four to win an Academy Award for working in a foreign language, as he                   
primarily spoke Italian, with very few phrases in English.                                   
In late 2007 Robert De Niro was once again recognised by the British public when             
a band from Wales called X-ell made a song entitled 'You Talkin' To Me' The                 
chorus line goes 'I wanna be like Robert De Niro, cause he is my hero' and                   
recieved much attention from the bands fans. This song is soon to be released               
for the whole world to hear and is dedicated to all the die hard fans of Robert             
De Niro.