Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Robert De Niro Profile and Full Biography

Name: Robert De Niro
Born: 17 August 1943 (Age: 67)
Where: New York City, New York, USA
Height: 5' 9"
Awards: Won 2 Oscars, 1 Golden Globe

Over the course of nearly forty years, Robert De Niro has established himself as one of the most respected and iconic screen actors in history. This is a position he's achieved both through the relentless perfectionism of his approach to his work, and the ferocity with which he protects his private life. Apart from the very occasional tabloid snippet, we hear nothing about the man, only ever seeing him when he's playing someone else - which is, of course, exactly how he wants it to be.

Robert De Niro was born in New York, New York on August 17th, 1943. His ancestry - strangely, given his tight cinematic connection with the Mafia - is more Irish than Italian. His parents were both respected artists. His father, Robert Snr, was a painter, sculptor and poet, an abstract expressionist by style. His mother, Virginia Admiral was also a painter. The couple, who'd met as Hans Hoffman's Provincetown painting class, divorced when young Robert was only two, the boy being raised by his mother. Robert Snr continued with his art, Virginia eventually opened a typesetting and printing business. A biography, released in 2004 by John Baxter, claimed that Robert Sr was in fact gay and spent only a few months with Virginia before separating, later enjoying affairs with the poet Robert Duncan, as well as Tennessee Williams and Jackson Pollock. Robert Jr, as ever, would make no comment.
Despite the divorce, Robert still saw his father regularly, often being taken to the movies. On his return home, he'd act out the film he'd just seen, learning to imitate the great actors of the day (he later made his mother swear never to let the press know which ones). The house, something of an artistic refuge, was usually peopled by renowned painters, poets and critics.Robert Jr caught the acting bug early, appearing as The Cowardly Lion in a local production of The Wizard Of Oz at the age of 10. So keen was he (even as a boy he was intensely focused) that, at 13, his mother, recognising his desire and ability, sent him to a progressive private school, New York's High School Of Music And Art. But Robert wasn't quite ready. He dropped out and spent his time roaming the streets of Little Italy with a no-mark street gang, picking up the nickname Bobby Milk for his deathly white complexion. His father openly disapproved of his new "friends" and the pair fell out, though the rift wasn't permanent. When De Niro's father took off for a couple of years in Paris only to slip into depression and destitution, it was Robert Jr, aged only 18, who flew over there to bring him home.
The son of two Greenwich Village artists, De Niro dropped out of school at age 16 to study at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting. After working in a few Off-Off-Broadway plays, he appeared in his first film, Brian De Palma's The Wedding Party (1963, released 1969). During the next four years he appeared in several minor films, the most notable being The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971). It was not until his performance in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) that he was widely recognized as an excellent actor. Mean Streets (1973) marked De Niro's first association with director Martin Scorsese, with whom he would do some of his most celebrated work. Director Francis Ford Coppola, whose massively popular The Godfather (1972) had won the best picture Oscar, was so impressed by De Niro in Mean Streets that he offered the actor the part of young Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974), forgoing even a screen test. De Niro's brilliant take on the part that was created by Marlon Brando in the first Godfather film earned him a best supporting actor Oscar and made him an international star.

Following The Godfather, Part II, De Niro worked with some of the cinema's most noted directors in such films as Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 (1976), Elia Kazan's The Last Tycoon (1976), and Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978), the last one receiving the Oscar for best picture. But it was his films with Scorsese for which De Niro acquired a reputation for masterfully portraying extremely dark and unappealing figures. He received an Oscar nomination for his role as the isolated and violent Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) and won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of boxer Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980). Known for his intense role preparation, De Niro spent weeks driving a taxi in New York City before filming Taxi Driver, and he gained more than 50 pounds (about 23 kg) to portray La Motta. By the end of the 1970s, he was widely considered one of the best actors of his generation.

In the 1980s he appeared in a series of box office failures that have nevertheless become cult favourites. Scorsese's The King of Comedy (1983), which offered a desolate look at the hazards of celebrity, won critical praise but little public interest, whereas Sergio Leone's epic Once upon a Time in America (1984) suffered from postproduction studio interference, as did Terry Gilliam's futuristic satire Brazil (1985). De Niro also performed in more conventional films during that era, including True Confessions (1981), Falling in Love (1984), The Mission (1986), and De Palma's The Untouchables (1987). He revealed a talent for comedy in Midnight Run (1988) and won some of the best notices of his career for his depiction of a catatonic patient in Awakenings (1990). GoodFellas (1990) reunited De Niro with Scorsese for a brutal look at organized crime. Most critics agreed that Scorsese and De Niro had returned to form, but two further collaborations, Cape Fear (1991) and Casino (1995), were met with mixed reviews.


Anonymous said...

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