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Robert De Niro Biography

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Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
(Bobby Milk (childhood, due to his pallor), Kid Monroe (given to him by Robert Mitchum), Bob)
New York, New York
Often played characters that were often prone to brutal violence and/or characters who were borderline psychotics.Known for method acting techniques with his characters by heavily studying their backgrounds.

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Robert De Niro Biography

Robert De Niro, who is thought of as one of the greatest actors of his time, was born in New York City in 1943 to two artists. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop. He first gained fame for his role in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973), but he gained his reputation as a volatile actor in Mean Streets (1973), which was his first film with director Martin Scorsese. In 1974 De Niro received an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and received Academy Award nomations for best actor in Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), and Cape Fear (1991). He won the best actor award in 1980 for Raging Bull (1980). De Niro currently heads his own production company, Tribeca Film Center, and made his directorial debut in 1993 with A Bronx Tale (1993).


Robert De Niro Trivia

Drena De Niro is his daughter through adoption. She is Diahnne Abbott's daughter from a previous marriage.

He and his wife, Grace Hightower, had their first child, Elliot. [18 March 1998]

Caught up in a Paris prostitution ring investigation. De Niro, denying any involvement, vowed never to return to France again. [1998]

Father of actor Raphael De Niro.

Ranked #5 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Turned down the role of Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).

Son of Robert De Niro Sr., an abstract expressionist, and Virginia Admiral, a painter.

In his 1980 Oscar acceptance speech he thanked Joey LaMotta (brother of Jake LaMotta), who was at the time suing United Artists for the portrayal of him in Raging Bull (1980).

He formed his production company, TriBeCa Productions, in 1989.

He owns a restaurant, "Ago" in West Hollywood.

Had twin sons with his girlfriend Toukie Smith, Aaron Kendrick De Niro and Julian Henry De Niro (October 20, 1995) conceived by in-vitro fertilization.

Although he is commonly referred to as an Italian-American actor, De Niro is actually one-quarter Italian in ancestry. His father was half-Irish and half- Italian. His mother was of French, Dutch and German ancestry. He was, however, quite close to his Italian paternal grandfather, whom Robert visited frequently in Syracuse, NY when he was young. De Niro has stated that he identifies "more with [his] Italian side".

Was offered but turned down the role of Sal the pizza shop owner in Do the Right Thing (1989).

He is the second actor to win an Oscar for portraying Vito Corleone. He and Marlon Brando are the only two actors to win an Oscar for playing the same character.

He first discovered his love for acting at age 10 when he portrayed The Cowardly Lion in a local production of "The Wizard of Oz." He dropped out of high school to join a gang.

Formerly held the World Record for Most Weight Gained for a Movie, in gaining over 60 pounds for his role in Raging Bull (1980). But seven years later, Vincent D'Onofrio eclipsed him in gaining 70 pounds for his role in Full Metal Jacket (1987).

Three movies (at least) that De Niro has appeared in have the song "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones noticeably featured in the soundtrack - - The Fan (1996), Casino (1995) and Goodfellas (1990).

Ranked #78 in Premiere's 2002 annual Power 100 List.

In 1993, he was tapped to star as Enzo Ferrari in the film Ferrari which was budgeted at $65 million (U.S.) and had Michael Mann attached as director. The project fell through.

He organised the first Tribeca Film Festival in May 2002. He intended to revitalise the Lower Manhattan area after September 11th attacks.

Has said that Meryl Streep is his favorite actress to work with.

He was voted as the best actor of all time at FilmFour.com (2002).

Inducted into the Italian-American Hall of Fame in 2002.

British '80s pop group Bananarama (Siobhan Fahey, Sarah Dallen and Karen Woodward) had a song dedicated to De Niro called "Robert De Niro's Waiting." De Niro heard about it and arranged to meet the three girls. They got so nervous waiting for him that all three got drunk before he even arrived.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer, and expected to make a full recovery. [October 2003]

Owns a San Francisco restaurant called Rubicon with Francis Ford Coppola and Robin Williams.

Spent four months learning to speak the Sicilian dialect in order to play Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II (1974). Nearly all the dialogue that his character spoke in the movie was in Sicilian.

When he was a child, he was an avid reader of playwrights.

According to a profile in Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood issue, is the first actor to do a method interpretation of a cartoon character as Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000).

He started the whole "awards show ribbon" tradition by wearing a green ribbon on his lapel at the 1981 Academy Awards. The ribbon was in rememberance of several African-American children who were victims of a serial killer in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980-1981. The ribbon was given to him by a fan in the bleachers as he arrived; the victims' families had been wearing them for months.

Was in Ossining, New York (home of the infamous Sing Sing penitentiary) to shoot three different movies: Analyze This (1999), Analyze That (2002) and Hide and Seek (2005).

In the Egyptian film Medina, El (1999), the main actor Ali has a duck that he named De Niro after his favorite actor.

Was voted the Number 2 greatest movie star of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll, narrowly being beaten by Al Pacino.

It was tricky to make him look huge as Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein (1994) , considering that Kenneth Branagh, who played Dr. Frankenstein, is of similar height. Many of the tricks used to make humans, wizards and elves dwarf the hobbits later on for "Lord of the Rings" trilogy were also employed to make De Niro appear much bigger than his co-stars, including using very large men as body doubles for shots where only the hands and feet are seen.

He was voted the 34th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Singer P.J. Harvey refers to De Niro in a song, "Reeling," from her album '4-Track Demos".

Finley Quaye mentions him in the song "Sunday Shining", in the line "I'm a hero like Robert De Niro".

Was unable to accept his first Oscar in 1975 due to filming commitments to Bernardo Bertolucci's Novecento (1976).

Was good friends with comedian John Belushi, who died of a drug overdose in 1982 on separate visits to bungalow #3 of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont hotel that fateful day in March 1982. He visited Belushi's apartment at 3:00 am on the morning of his death but, according to eyewitnesses, left minutes later after seeing that Belushi was ill. Belushi had also been visited by Robin Williams less than an hour earlier, who also left straight away.

Ranked #1 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Living Actor (Gods Among Us)" list. [October 2004]

His mother, despite being raised Presbyterian was a practicing Jew for most of Robert's childhood. His father was raised Catholic but was not religious in any way.

At the age of 17, after leaving the movies with a friend, he unexpectedly stated that he was going to be a film actor. No one believed him until he dropped out of his senior year of high school and joined Stella Adler's acting school.

His father, after Robert was born, came out of the closet as a homosexual and eventually divorced Robert's mother.

His boyhood idols among actors included Montgomery Clift, Robert Mitchum and Marlon Brando. He preferred the darker, more character-driven work of these men to the older stars of Hollywood, for whom their public persona as a star was more important than their immersion into the character.

Rarely does interviews and is known as one of the most ultra-private celebrities. He was the subject of a late 90s interview (and cover photo) for Esquire magazine. Most of the article focused on how guarded he is with his personal life, what few details are known about him, what rumors are speculated while only a minority of the article dealt with the actual interview itself. The writer noted that while the interview was ultimately agreed upon, he was given a substantial list of off-limit subjects NOT to ask De Niro about. They included: politics, religion, his family, his reported interest in fine wines, and so on.

When they met shortly before making Mean Streets (1973) De Niro and Harvey Keitel became fast friends. De Niro was from Greenwich Village in Manhattan and was taught by Stella Adler and Keitel was from the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn and was mainly mentored by Lee Strasberg. But the two guarded actors bonded and remain close to this day.

He and Martin Scorsese were brought up blocks apart in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, but never formally met when they were young. When introduced at a party in 1972, the two came to realize that they had seen each other many times but had never spoken.

Limo drivers in Los Angeles joke about his less than generous tips by referring to him as "No Dinero".

Very good friends with fellow actor and frequent co-star, Joe Pesci.

Premiere Magazine ranked him as #38 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).

Both of his Oscar-winning performances involved Marlon Brando. His first Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, had him playing the younger version of Brando's character Vito Corleone. His second, for Best Actor in Raging Bull (1980), he recited Brando's famous lines from On the Waterfront (1954).

Underwent surgery for prostate cancer at New York's Sloan-Kettering Hospital in December 2003. The cancer has now gone into remission.

Studied at Actors Studio with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg.

Is left handed. However, he wrote with his right hand in Taxi Driver (1976).

Co-owns the Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco with Bay area residents Francis Ford Coppola and Robin Williams. Much of his father's art work adorns the walls of the business. He also owns a restaurant in West Hollywood, Ago, and co-owns several restaurants in New York, including Nobu and Layla.

Shares a birthday with friend and sometime-co-star Sean Penn.

First actor to win an Oscar (for The Godfather: Part II (1974)) for a performance in a sequel. (The very first performer to win an Oscar for a sequel was Katharine Hepburn)

He is a staunch supporter of the US Democratic Party. He lobbied Congress against impeaching President Clinton in 1998, supported Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election, and supported John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election.

Renewed his marriage vows to wife Grace Hightower at De Niro's Ulster County farm near New York's Catskill Mountains. De Niro married Hightower in 1997, but their marriage looked to be ending when De Niro filed for divorce two years later. Their fallout continued into 2001 as a potential custody battle over their son Elliott heated up. However, the divorce was never finalized and they managed to smooth over their troubles.

His performance as Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980) is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

His performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) is ranked #42 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

His performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) is ranked #22 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Early on, before Tim Burton was commissioned as director, was considered for the role of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

Was offered the part of Dick Tracy in Dick Tracy (1990).

De Niro started the whole "awards show ribbon" tradition by wearing a green ribbon on his lapel at the 1981 Academy Awards. The ribbon was in remembrance of several African-American children who were victims of a serial killer in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980-1981. The ribbon was given to him by a fan in the bleachers as he arrived; the victims' families had been wearing them for months.

Turned down the role of Tony D'Amato in Any Given Sunday (1999).

Passed up the opportunity to play Frank Costello in The Departed (2006) to work on his second directorial feature The Good Shepherd (2006).

Accidentally broke a rib of Joe Pesci in a sparring scene in _Raging Bull (1980)_ . This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle.

He successfully battled with prostate cancer in 2003.

Growing up in the Little Italy section of New York City, his nickname was "Bobby Milk' because he was so thin and as pale as milk.

He won an Oscar for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980), making him one of eleven actors to win the Award for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Award ceremony (as of 2007). The other ten actors and their respective performances are: Spencer Tracy for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938), Gary Cooper for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941), Patty Duke for playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962), Jason Robards for playing Benjamin Bradlee in All the President's Men (1976), Robert De Niro for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980), Sissy Spacek for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), Susan Sarandon for playing Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995), Geoffrey Rush for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996), Julia Roberts for playing Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000), Jim Broadbent for playing John Bayley in Iris (2001/I) and most recently Helen Mirren for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006).

After Once Upon a Time in America (1984), director Sergio Leone was planned to cast Robert in a film he was working on about the siege in Leningrad but due to Sergio's death in 1989 of a heart attack the film never happen.

For the role of Max Cady in Cape Fear (1991), he paid a dentist $5,000 to make his teeth look suitably bad. After filming, he paid $20,000 to have them fixed. For this film, he was tattooed with vegetable dyes, which faded after a few months.

De Niro and Robin Williams were the last stars to see John Belushi alive, albeit on separate visits to bungalow #3 of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont hotel that fateful day in March 1982.




 
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