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. Robert De Niro built a durable star career out of his formidable ability to disappear into a character through perfectionism.
- Robert De Niro was born in New York, New York on August 17th, 1943. His parents were both respected artists. His father, Robert Snr, was a painter, sculptor and poet. His mother, Virginia Admiral was also a painter.
- He dropped out of high school and spent his time roaming the streets of Little Italy with a street gang, picking up the nickname Bobby Milk for his deathly white complexion.
- De Niro was so captivated by the movies. De Niro learned how to immerse himself in a character emotionally and physically.De Niro's professional life took an auspicious turn, however, when he was introduced to former Little Italy acquaintance Martin Scorsese at a party in 1972. Sharing a love of movies as well as their neighborhood background, De Niro and Scorsese immediately became friends.
- He exploded onscreen as Johnny Boy in "Mean Streets" (1973), his first of many landmark collaborations with director Martin Scorsese. De Niro's performance as Johnny Boy remains arguably perhaps the finest and most revered breakthrough performances in cinema history.
- Robert De Niro won an Oscar as best supporting actor for The Godfather, Part II in 1974. Over the next few decades he became known for his intense portrayals of mobsters, tough guys, loners and other not-quite-socially-adjusted characters.
- Trade Mark: Often played characters that were prone to brutal violence and/or characters who were borderline psychotics. Intense physical and mental preparation for roles.
- Ranked #1 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Living Actor (Gods Among Us)" list. Was voted the Number 2 greatest movie star of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll, narrowly being beaten by Al Pacino.
- Rarely does interviews and is known as one of the most ultra-private celebrities. 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.
- Is left handed. However, he wrote with his right hand in Taxi Driver (1976).
- Perhaps no other collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese was more discouraged and admired at the same time than "Raging Bull" (1980). Raging Bull was critical and financial disaster, but over the years remains as a classic that ranked high on many lists of greatest films.
- "Raging Bull" depicted the life of former middleweight boxer Jake La Motta. For an entire year prior to production, De Niro trained as a boxer with La Motta, who molded the actor. Scorsese stopped production for four months so De Niro could eat his way to gaining 60-odd pounds. In the end, De Niro delivered a visceral portrayal of a man who can only use animalistic violence to deal with complex human emotions, earning his first Academy Award for Best Leading Actor.
- Made his directorial debut in A Bronx Tale (1993).
- 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.
- He is a staunch supporter of the US Democratic Party. He supported Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election and supported John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Supported Democratic senator Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential election.
- He owns several restaurants in New york, California.
- As of the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, De Niro is the most represented actor, by 14 films. Included are the De Niro films Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), Novecento (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Brazil (1985), The Untouchables (1987), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Heat (1995) and Meet the Parents (2000).
"I don't like to watch my own movies - I fall asleep in my own movies."
(on Taxi Driver (1976)'s infamous line) "You have no idea that, years later, people in cars will recognize you on the street and shout, "You talkin' to me?" I don't remember the original script, but I don't think the line was in it. We improvised. For some reason it touched a nerve. That happens."
"The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you. You're in a conversation and everybody's agreeing with what you're saying -- even if you say something totally crazy. You need people who can tell you what you don't want to hear."
[on Martin Scorsese]" I wish I had that knowledge of movies that he has. He's like an encyclopedia. I could call him up and ask him about a certain movie, and he would know about it. He's seen everything, it's great."
"After my first movies, I gave interviews. Then I thought, What's so important about where I went to school, and hobbies? . . . Wwhat does any of that have to do with acting, with my own head?"
Due to his detestation towards interviews, De Niro had famously remained tight-lipped about everything. De Niro developed a reputation for being one of the hardest working actors in the business, giving rise to legendary methods of preparation. But there was never any doubt as to where De Niro stood in the pantheon of acting - he towered above all. Who he was as a man, however, would never be known. In the end, all that was left was his performances. Given his amazing body of work, that would be enough.