Robert De Niro is an American actor and producer who has starred in over 100 films. He was cast as the young Vito Corleone in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His longtime collaboration with director Martin Scorsese earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake La Motta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. He received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2003, and the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2010.
Let’s find out interesting facts about him!
1. Robert Anthony De Niro was born August 17, 1943, in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, New York.
2. He is the son of Virginia Admiral and Robert De Niro Sr.
3. Both of his parents were painters;his father was of half Italian and half Irish descent,while his mother was of half German ancestry, with her other roots being French, English and Dutch.
4. De Niro’s parents, who had met at the painting classes of Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts, divorced when he was two years old after his father announced that he was gay.
5. He was raised by his mother in the Greenwich Village and Little Italy areas of Manhattan. His father lived within walking distance and De Niro spent much time with him as he grew up.
6. His mother was raised Presbyterian but became an atheist as an adult, while his father was a lapsed Catholic since the age of 12.
7. Against his parents’ wishes, his grandparents had him secretly baptized into the Catholic Church while he was staying with them during his parents’ divorce.
8. De Niro began high school at the private McBurney School and later attended the private Rhodes Preparatory School, although he never graduated from either.
9. Nicknamed “Bobby Milk” for his pallor, De Niro hung out with a group of street kids as a youth in Little Italy, some of whom have remained his lifelong friends.
10. The direction of his future had already been foreshadowed by his stage debut at age 10, when he played the Cowardly Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz.
11. Along with finding relief from shyness through performing, he was also fixated by cinema, and he dropped out of high school at age 16 to pursue acting.
12. He studied acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory, as well as Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio.
13. He received an Italian passport in 2006. His Italian citizenship was granted by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Italian Republic despite a strong opposition of the American-Italian community.
14. He shares his birthday with Sean Penn.
15. Robert has been nominated for an Academy Award five times and has won twice for his role in The Godfather: Part 2 and Raging Bull.
16. Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando are the only actors to win an Oscar for playing the same character, Vito Corleone.
17. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have collaborated on eight films since 1973 – Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, New York, New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Casino.
18. De Niro started the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2002 with the intention of revitalising the Lower Manhattan area after September 11th attacks.
19. He turned down the role of Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ. It later when to Willem Defoe.
20. He had to turn down a role in The Departed (2006) due to commitments with preparing The Good Shepherd (2006).
21. De Niro got his first taste of life as an actor when he landed the plum role of the Cowardly Lion in his school’s production of The Wizard Of Oz.
22. Since 1968, there have only been five years when he hasn’t released a film. He released five films in 2011, four in 2012 and by the end of 2013, he’ll have potentially released seven.
23. In 1987, De Niro was the President of the Jury at the 15th Moscow International Film Festival.
24. He performed a lot of his own stunts during the filming of The Deer Hunter.
25. In February 1998, during a film shoot in France, De Niro was taken in for questioning by French police over a prostitution ring.
26. He married his first wife, Diahnne Abbott in 1976 and they have a son, Raphael, a former actor who works in New York real estate.
27. Robert and Diahnne got a divorce in 1988.
28. He also has twin sons conceived by in vitro fertilization and delivered by a surrogate mother in 1995, from a long relationship with former model Toukie Smith.
29. In 1997, De Niro married his second wife, actress Grace Hightower, at their Marbletown home.
30. Their son Elliot was born in 1998 and the couple split in 1999.
31. The divorce was never finalized and in 2004 they renewed their vows.
32. In December 2011, a daughter named Helen Grace was born via surrogate.
33. In addition to his six children, De Niro has four grandchildren, one from his daughter Drena and three from his son Raphael.
34. De Niro announced on March 25, 2016 that his son, Elliot, has autism and that explained his interest in its causes and treatment.
35. It was reported in October 2003 that De Niro had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in December 2003.
36. The F-word is spoken 114 times during the Raging Bull, most during improvised scenes.
37. The F-word in Goodfellas beats that with 296 curses.
38. He was good friends with comedian John Belushi, who died of a drug overdose on March 5, 1982.
39. He was voted the 34th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
40. For his role in Silver Linings Playbook, he said it was difficult for him to pretend to be a football fan as he is not really that much of a football person.
41. In 1989 he formed his own production company. He named the production company TriBeCa Productions.
42. Heat was filmed in 65 locations around Los Angeles and never used a sound stage.
43. On screen brothers De Niro and Pesci lived and trained together while making Raging Bull.
44. Robert De Niro considers himself a method actor. After he has signed on to play a role, he always spends a great deal of time researching or generating extensive backgrounds for each of his characters.
45. He learnt to speak Sicilian for the role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II.
46. He grew up just a few blocks away from future director Martin Scorsese, but the pair didn’t meet until much later on.
47. He paid a dentist to mess up his teeth for the role of mad Max Cady in Cape Fear, then paid even more to get them sorted out.
48. He based the movement of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver on a crab, because he imagined him shifting from side to side.
49. De Niro also worked as cab driver to prepare for the role of Bickle.
50. He received $35,000 for his Oscar-nominated performance in Taxi Driver (1976). His part in Little Fockers (2010) earned him $20 million.