Robert De Niro
"De Niro" redirects here.
For other people with this surname, see De Niro (surname).
|Robert De Niro|
|Born||Robert Anthony De Niro Jr.
(1943-08-17) August 17, 1943 (age 77)
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director|
|Children||6, including Drena and Raphael|
His first major onscreen appearance was in Greetings (1968).
He soon gained recognition with his role as a baseball player in the sports drama Bang the Drum Slowly (1973).
His first collaboration with Scorsese was in Mean Streets (1973), in which he played the small-time criminal "Johnny Boy".
He diversified into comic roles, such as by playing a stand-up comedian in The King of Comedy (1982), and gained further recognition for his performances in Sergio Leone's crime epic Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Terry Gilliam's dystopian satire Brazil (1985), the religious epic The Mission (1986), and the comedy Midnight Run (1988).
De Niro entered the 1990s playing gangster Jimmy Conway in the crime film Goodfellas, a catatonic patient in the drama Awakenings (both 1990), and as a criminal in the psychological thriller Cape Fear (1991).
All three films received praise for De Niro's performances.
After appearing in a series of critically panned and commercially unsuccessful films, he earned another Academy Award nomination for his role in David O. Russell's 2012 romantic comedy, Silver Linings Playbook.
De Niro and Scorsese have made nine feature films together, and six of De Niro's films have been inducted into the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Robert Anthony De Niro was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City on August 17, 1943, the only child of painters Virginia Admiral and Robert De Niro Sr. His father was of Irish and Italian descent, while his mother had Dutch, English, French, and German ancestry.
His father lived nearby, and remained close with De Niro during his childhood.
Nicknamed "Bobby Milk" because of his pale complexion, De Niro befriended a number of street kids in Little Italy, much to the disapproval of his father.
Some, however, have remained his lifelong friends.
Against his parents' wishes, his grandparents had De Niro secretly baptized into the Catholic Church while he was staying with them during his parents' divorce.
De Niro attended PS 41, a public elementary school in Manhattan, through the sixth grade.
He was then accepted into the High School of Music and Art for the ninth grade, but only attended for a short time before transferring to a public junior high school: IS 71, Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School.
He found performing as a way to relieve his shyness, and became fascinated by cinema, so he dropped out of high school at 16 to pursue acting.
He later said, "When I was around 18, I was looking at a TV show and I said, 'If these actors are making a living at it, and they're not really that good, I can't do any worse than them.'"
He studied acting at HB Studio and Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio.
1963–1973: Early roles and breakthrough
De Niro's had minor film roles in Encounter, Three Rooms in Manhattan (both released in 1965) and Les Jeunes Loups (1968).
The film marked the first of a series of early collaborations between De Niro and director Brian De Palma.
A year later, De Niro appeared in the drama Sam's Song in which he portrays a New York City filmmaker.
Also in 1969, he appeared in De Palma's comedy The Wedding Party; although it was filmed in 1963, it was kept unreleased for six years.
De Niro, who was still unknown at the time, gained a favorable review from The New York Times' Howard Thompson: "This farcical comedy, modestly produced by a trio of young people and utilizing some unfamiliar faces, is great fun".
He then appeared in Roger Corman's low-budget crime drama Bloody Mama (1970), a loose adaptation of Ma Barker's life, who was the mother of four American criminals, of which De Niro portrayed one: Lloyd Barker.
Thompson praised the film and thought the cast gave "fine performances".
Next, De Niro starred in De Palma's comedy Hi, Mom!
(1970), a sequel to Greetings.
In 1972, De Niro starred in two performances at The American Place Theatre, directed by Charles Maryan.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "De Niro proves himself to be one of the best and most likable young character actors in movies with this performance".
Variety magazine's Alex Belth also took note of De Niro's "touching" portrayal, while Gardenia was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Harris later wrote about De Niro, "He learned only as much baseball as he needed for his role [...] I doubt that he ever cared to touch a baseball again".
Although De Niro was offered a choice of roles, Scorsese wanted De Niro to play "Johnny Boy" Civello, a small time criminal working his way up a local mob.
While De Niro and Keitel were given freedom to improvise certain scenes, assistant director Ron Satlof recalls De Niro was "extremely serious, extremely involved in his role and preparation", and became isolated from the rest of the cast and crew.
Film critic Roger Ebert thought De Niro gave a "marvelous performance, filled with urgency and restless desperation".
Pauline Kael of The New York Times was equally impressed by De Niro, writing he is "a bravura actor, and those who have registered him only as the grinning, tobacco-chewing dolt of that hunk of inept whimsey Bang the Drum Slowly will be unprepared for his volatile performance.
1974–1980: Scorsese collaboration and acclaim
De Niro had previously auditioned for the first installment, The Godfather (1972), but quit the project in favor of doing The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.
Coppola, having remembered him, gave De Niro a role in Part II instead.
To portray his character, De Niro spoke mainly in several Sicilian dialects, although he delivered a few lines in English.
The film was a commercial success and grossed $48 million at the worldwide box office.
It was De Niro's first Academy win; Coppola accepted the award on his behalf as he did not attend the ceremony.
De Niro and Marlon Brando, who played the older Vito Corleone in the first film, were the first pair of actors to win Academy Awards for portraying the same fictional character.
After working with Scorsese in Mean Streets, De Niro collaborated with him again for the psychological drama Taxi Driver (1976).
In preparation for the role, De Niro spent time with members of a U.S army base to learn their Midwestern accent and mannerisms.
He also lost 30 pounds (13 kg) in weight, took firearm training and studied the behavior of taxi drivers.
The film was critically acclaimed, in particular for De Niro's performance; The Washington Post critic hailed it as his "landmark performance", and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote "De Niro is dazzling in one of his signature roles".
His "You talkin' to me?"
De Niro had two other film releases in 1976.
Starring an ensemble cast, the film is set in the Emilia region of Italy, and tells the story of two men, the landowner Alfredo Berlinghieri (De Niro) and the peasant Olmo Dalcò (Gérard Depardieu), as they witness and participate in the political conflicts between fascism and communism in the first half of the twentieth century.
De Niro lost 42 pounds (19 kg) for the role, and director Elia Kazan observed that De Niro would rehearse on Sundays, adding "Bobby and I would go over the scenes to be shot.
Bobby is more meticulous... he's very imaginative.
He's very precise.
He figures everything out both inside and outside.
He has good emotion.
He's a character actor: everything he does he calculates.
In a good way, but he calculates".
The film received mixed reviews; Variety magazine's critic opined that the film was "unfocused" and called De Niro's performance "mildly intriguing".
Film critic Marie Brenner wrote, "it is a role that surpasses even his brilliant and daring portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II... his performance deserves to be compared with the very finest".
The film received generally mixed reception, although critics were kinder to De Niro.
Producer Michael Deeley pursued De Niro for the role, because the fame of his previous films would help make a "gruesome-sounding storyline and a barely known director" marketable.
De Niro, impressed by the script and director's preparation, was among the first to sign on to the film.
Reviews for The Deer Hunter were generally positive, and the cast attracted strong praise for their performances.
The film received nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), and earned De Niro a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
The fourth collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese was in 1980, with the biographical drama Raging Bull.
Adapted from Jake LaMotta's memoir Raging Bull: My Story, De Niro portrays LaMotta, the Italian-American middleweight boxer whose violent behavior and temper destroyed his relationship with his wife and family.
"The book’s not great literature, but it’s got a lot of heart", De Niro told Scorsese at the time.
Although the film received critical acclaim, some reviewers were divided and criticized its "exceedingly violent" content; however, De Niro garnered praise for his realistic portrayal.
The critic from The Hollywood Reporter declared that "De Niro is incredible and makes the actor almost unrecognizable as himself; he looks amazingly like La Motta.
De Niro's appearance is also astonishing in the final scenes".
Michael Thomson of the BBC observed "the power of Scorsese is matched by the intensity of De Niro who delves deep into the soul of the boxer".
At the 53rd Academy Awards, the film received eight nominations, including Best Actor for De Niro, for which he won.
Raging Bull has since been regarded as one of the greatest films of the 1980s by American critics.
1981–1991: Dramas, comedies and awards success
Less challenging than his previous film, De Niro played a priest who clashes with his brother (Robert Duvall), a detective investigating the murder of a prostitute.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times thought the plot was hard to follow at times but praised the actors who "work so beautifully together it sometimes seems like a single performance".
To expand his range of acting roles and to prove his acting abilities, De Niro sought out films with a comedic tone throughout the 1980s.
De Niro was first to bring the script to the attention of Scorsese, who then gave it a New York setting and darker tone.
The film failed to find an audience, and was a box office disappointment, grossing only $2.5 million from a budget of $19 million.
However, most critics praised De Niro's performance.
The theatrical cut, with a runtime of 229 minutes, premiered at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival and received a 15-minute standing ovation.
The film was shortened for theaters in the U.S. (139 minutes), but this proved to be highly unpopular with critics.
Falling in Love, a romantic comedy starring opposite Meryl Streep, was his last release of 1984.
Although the film was unsuccessful at the box office, Brazil was included in The Criterion Collection.
In May 1986, De Niro returned to the stage at Longacre Theatre, playing the lead role in the production Cuba and His Teddy Bear.
Vincent Canby reviewed the film negatively, and was critical of De Niro's casting: "De Niro, who was very fine as the street-wise priest in True Confessions, is all right here until he opens his mouth".
In 1987, De Niro had two minor film roles.
While Pauline Kael opined that De Niro "lazy" for undertaking small roles, De Palma defended him by saying he was "experimenting with those characters".
In July 1987, he traveled to Russia to serve as President of the Jury at the 15th Moscow International Film Festival.
The film received amicable reception and was a commercial success, grossing $81 million worldwide.
In his mixed review, Hal Hinson of The Washington Post wrote of De Niro:
Scorsese cast Willem Dafoe instead.
In 1989, De Niro starred in several films that were not widely seen.
The film revolves around the complex relationship between a Vietnam veteran, his sister and fellow army buddy.
The pair play escaped convicts who go on the run towards Canada.
Film critics did not receive We're No Angels or Stanley & Iris positively; modern review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives them approval ratings of 47% and 33%, respectively.
De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal co-founded TriBeCa Productions, a film production company in 1989.
De Niro and Scorsese soon reunited for their sixth collaboration in 1990, with the crime film Goodfellas.
De Niro played James Conway, an Irish truck carjacker and gangster.
Goodfellas premiered at the 47th Venice International Film Festival to an "enthusiastic" response from Italian critics, although it grossed a moderate $46 million upon its wider release.
In the awards season, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards, and De Niro was nominated for Best Actor at the BAFTAs.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked it as the 92nd-greatest American film of all time in their 10th Anniversary Edition of the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list.
The drama, based on Oliver Sacks' 1973 book of the same title, tells the story of Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams), who discovers benefits of the drug L-Dopa in 1969 and administers it to catatonic patients.
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for De Niro.
Sacks later remarked of the film: "I was pleased with a great deal of it.
I think in an uncanny way, De Niro did somehow feel his way into being Parkinsonian.
[...] At other levels I think things were sort of sentimentalized and simplified somewhat".
De Niro's next film project was the drama Guilty by Suspicion (1991) in which he plays David Merrill, a fictitious film director, returning to the U.S. during the McCarthy era and Hollywood blacklist.
The film received generally favorable reviews.
De Niro's biggest success of 1991 was Cape Fear, his seventh film with Scorsese.
To look the part, De Niro spent hours in the gym and consented to the grind down of his teeth which were corrected when filming ended.
De Niro's performance was widely lauded.
The film grossed a successful $182 million and earned De Niro a Best Actor nomination at the 64th Academy Awards.
1992–1997: Directorial debut and crime dramas
In 1992, De Niro appeared in two films.
The first, Mistress, is a comedy-drama in which he played ruthless businessman Evan Wright.
Of his performance, the critic from The Independent called De Niro "more urbane and coherent than we've seen him for a while".
He was cast as New York lawyer Harry Fabian.
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a rating of "B-" and was critical of De Niro: "The actor who once got so far inside his roles that he just about detonated the screen – now plays characters who don’t seem to have any inner life at all".
Next, he served as a producer for the mystery thriller Thunderheart (1992).
The feature received reasonable reviews and was lauded for the chemistry between De Niro and Murray; The Washington Post critic noted that their "real-life friendship spills over into this jittery, very funny look at the male bonding experience".
Playing stepfather Dwight Hansen of Wolff (DiCaprio), the film was mostly well received, although Timeout magazine believed that "DiCaprio steals the show".
De Niro starred in his directorial debut, A Bronx Tale (1993), a coming-of-age story about an Italian-American boy who is torn between the temptations of organized crime, racism in his community, and the values of his decent father.
A Bronx Tale premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to a positive response; Marjorie Baumgarten of The Austin Chronicle wrote "De Niro's choices as a director all seem prudent and un-showy, designed to draw attention to the characters and the story rather than its technical assemblage and much-lauded star".
Variety magazine's Todd McCarthy took issue with the film's slow start but complimented De Niro's "impressive sensitivity to the irrational roots of racism and violence".
Although the film was commercially successful, earning $112 million worldwide, the general consensus of reviews were largely negative.
Film critic James Berardinelli opined that it was entertaining and De Niro gave a strong performance, despite the film's "frantic" pace.
Casino (1995) marked De Niro's return to the crime genre with Scorsese in their eighth collaboration.
De Niro portrays Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a mob-connected casino operator in Las Vegas.
The film's themes revolve around greed, betrayal, wealth, status, and murder that occur between two mobsters, Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Pesci), and a trophy wife (Stone) over a gambling empire.
Casino was released to mostly positive critical reception, and was a success at the worldwide box office.
Roger Ebert was impressed with the lead performers' abilities to "inhabit their roles with unconscious assurance", and The Globe and Mail's critic thought "De Niro does an extraordinarily subtle job of capturing the paradox [...] that lie at the heart of this picture".
Shortly afterwards, he starred in 1995's crime thriller Heat, about a group of professional bank robbers.
Art Linson, who had previously produced films starring De Niro, sent him the script first.
"It was very good, very strong, had a particular feel to it, a reality and authenticity," De Niro said.
De Niro plays Gil Renard, a baseball fanatic who loses his sanity.
His fiftieth film credit was in the crime drama Sleepers (1996), about four boys who become involved with crime, and are sentenced to a detention center where they are abused by guards, and seek vengeance upon release.
De Niro plays priest Bobby Carillo, a father figure to the four boys.
Writing for the British Empire magazine, Bob McCabe opined that "Performances are all eminently watchable [...] but the truncated feel robs the film of anything more than perfunctory pleasures".
Also in 1996, De Niro co-produced the crime-comedy Faithful.
De Niro plays Internal Affairs investigator Lt. Moe Tilden, who explores police corruption in a New Jersey town.
The film opened to a generally warm response, although Barbara Shulgasser of San Francisco Examiner criticized De Niro's acting in certain scenes, suggesting Mangold put De Niro in a "manufactured situation", preventing him from realizing his full potential.
De Niro co-starred and co-produced Wag the Dog (1997).
The film is a political satire about a biased publicist (De Niro) and a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) who fabricate a war in Albania to cover up a U.S president's sex scandal.
In January 1998, a month after its release, the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal dominated the headlines, which helped the film generate publicity.
As a result, Wag the Dog was well-received and made the list of Roger Ebert's ten best films of 1997.
1998–2006: Comic roles, thrillers, and slump
The film was a box office hit, earning $176 million worldwide and De Niro was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes.
In Flawless (1999), De Niro appeared as a homophobic police officer, who suffers a stroke, and is assigned to a rehabilitative program with a gay singer.
The critic from the BBC gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, and thought De Niro gave a "refreshingly low-key" performance, in comparison to his previous work.
He voiced the character Fearless Leader, who is a dictator and employer of two mobsters.
The film was critically panned, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a 43% approval rating.
It is his best performance in years".
De Niro, who had been seeking comic roles at the time, was encouraged by his producing partner Jane Rosenthal, to take on the role.
The film was a high earner at the box office, with $330 million in receipts.
Film critics welcomed De Niro's transition as a comic actor and ability to make audiences laugh.
After several comedies, De Niro landed a lead role in the crime thriller 15 Minutes (2001), a story about a homicide detective (De Niro) and a fire marshal (Edward Burns) who join forces to apprehend a pair of Eastern European murderers.
The film's reception was generally unfavorable; William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer took issue with the "in-your-face exaggeration", but he thought De Niro delivered "his usual edgy flair, [...] on the mean streets of his native Manhattan".
He plays a retiring thief when a young man (Norton) persuades him into doing one last heist together.
Upon release, The Score fared well with critics, although Peter Rainer of New York magazine did not think the film challenged De Niro or fully utilize his talents.
The reviewer from LA Weekly remarked "De Niro isn't actually playing a part but riffing on his own legend", and thought the references to Taxi Driver were "cheap".
The film received mixed reviews and under-performed at the theaters.
He appeared in Analyze That (2002), a sequel to 1999's Analyze This.
Filming began in New York City, seven months after the September 11 attacks.
De Niro insisted on filming there, stating "It's a New York story, a New York movie.
We always intended to keep it there and I'm glad we were able to do it".
The actual story never gets off the ground".
Despite these failures, De Niro served as a producer for the critically acclaimed romantic-comedy About a Boy (2002), and appeared in 9/11 (2002), a CBS documentary about the September 11 attacks, told from the New York City fire department's point of view.
Several critics consider De Niro's career as having begun to slump in the early 2000s, with De Niro starring in roles that were less dramatic than those in the previous decade.
As of 2020, the film is De Niro's poorest-performing work; Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 4% based on 139 critic reviews.
Most critics were also unimpressed, but it was a high earner at the box office.
In a scathing review of De Niro, the critic from Slant Magazine wrote "In self-parody mode for the umpteenth time, De Niro mugs for the camera with a series of overblown grimaces and faux-menacing glares".
It was also critically panned.
Although the film was a financial success, some critics thought De Niro had been miscast, and queried his decision to star in a mediocre feature.
The film reunited him onscreen with Joe Pesci, co-star from Raging Bull, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale, Casino, among others.
Writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, Sandra Hall noted its slow pace, stating "There's a potentially fascinating slice of American history here, but De Niro has carved it up with an excruciatingly dull knife".
The critic from USA Today found the plot initially hard to follow, but praises De Niro for "creating a stirring personal tale".
Finally in 2006, he voiced the character Emperor Sifrat XVI in Arthur and the Invisibles.
2007–2016: Further film roles
He plays Captain Shakespeare, the leader of a ship.
The film was generally well received, although one critic from New York magazine thought De Niro's performance was "god-awful – yet his gung-ho spirit wins him Brownie points".
The following year, he starred in the police procedural thriller Righteous Kill opposite Al Pacino, both playing New York City detectives who investigate serial executions of criminals who escaped justice.
The film's response was mainly disappointing; Peter Hartlaub of San Francisco Chronicle thought the story was unoriginal and De Niro lacked energy.
The film grossed $78 million from a budget of $60 million.
Next, he starred in What Just Happened (2008), a satirical comedy based on Art Linson's experiences as a producer in Hollywood.
The film was screened at the 2008 Canne Film Festival as an out-of-competition entry.
The Sydney Morning Herald opined that most reviewers gave the film a lukewarm reception because of the character he plays, which is "sympathetic" and quieter than his earlier roles.
Although the film's response was equally mixed, The Guardian's critic praised De Niro for a "decent, watchable performance in a while".
In 2010, he had a minor part as Senator John McLaughlin in the action film Machete.
It is a crime drama where De Niro plays a manipulated parole officer.
The film was met with a divided reception; Toronto Star's critic thought De Niro delivered a respectable performance due to Jovovich's support.
Another critic, Jesse Cataldo from Slant Magazine noted the film's restraint and thought De Niro is repeating himself by playing the same basic characters.
Next he starred in Little Fockers (2010), the third sequel to Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers.
Despite universally negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success, grossing over $310 million worldwide.
In one review, The Daily Telegraph wrote "Despite the farcical script, De Niro in particular has his paterfamilias character sensitively tuned".
That year, De Niro was cast in Edge of Darkness, but he left the project citing creative differences.
He was replaced by Ray Winstone.
In 2011, De Niro starred in the Italian comedy Manuale d'amore 3.
Except for Limitless, which received an approval rating of 69% from Rotten Tomatoes, the other two films were met with mixed-to-negative reviews.
De Niro was also appointed President of the Jury for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, making it the second time he has served.
It was met with a mixed response; critic A. complimented De Niro's ability for playing an estranged father (opposite O. ScottPaul Dano), calling him "unpredictable and subtle", despite an uncertain plot.
He appeared in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012), as the father of Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), who is released from a psychiatric hospital and moves back in with his parents to rebuild his life.
The film was a critical and commercial success; earning eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, and grossing $236 million worldwide.
Critics lauded the entire cast; Variety magazine's Justin Chang noted De Niro's calm performance, writing "it’s hard to remember the last time De Niro was this effortlessly endearing and relaxed onscreen".
In 2012, De Niro served as an executive producer for the television series NYC 22.
His other 2013 release, Last Vegas, received some respectable reviews.
Co-starring Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen, the film is about three retirees who travel to Las Vegas to have a bachelor party for their last remaining single friend.
In a harsh assessment of De Niro's performance, the A.V. 's critic considered it "arguably the low point of De Niro’s career". Club
They had previously worked together in 1997's Cop Land.
Critics panned the film, which has a 31% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 140 reviews.
In 2014, De Niro appeared in a documentary about his father, Robert De Niro, Sr., titled Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. which aired on HBO.
The latter fared better with critics; Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times cordially remarked "De Niro brings a fresh, relaxed lightness to his performance, tinged with the gruff charm of Spencer Tracy".
Returning to the heist genre, he starred in Heist, playing Francis "The Pope" Silva, a gangster casino owner who is targeted by criminals.
The film was not a box office success.
Upon release, the film received a polarized reception for its reputedly distasteful content, and appeared in several critics' lists of worst films of 2016.
In 2017, De Niro starred as Bernie Madoff in Barry Levinson's HBO film The Wizard of Lies, a performance which earned him critical praise and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie.
In 2019, De Niro won acclaim for portraying Robert Mueller alongside Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump in various episodes of Saturday Night Live, earning him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
The film was a commercial success, and earned eleven nominations at the Academy Awards.
It is their ninth feature film together and the first since 1995's Casino, and co-stars Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, and Joe Pesci.
The film received critical acclaim; Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph, praised De Niro's "sensational" performance and the chemistry between his co-stars, whom he has worked with in earlier films.
Variety magazine's critic also noted the chemistry, calling him "superb", despite perceived weaknesses in the film's special effects.
In 2020, Variety magazine confirmed that De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio will star in Scorsese's upcoming film Killers of the Flower Moon based on the book of the same name.
In May, Apple TV was announced to co-finance and co-distribute the film, with Paramount still distributing.
Recognition and legacy
Several journalists consider De Niro to be among the best actors of his generation.
A. said that De Niro "was transforming himself – physically, vocally, psychologically – with each new role. O. Scott
And in the process, before our eyes, reinventing the art of acting."
As early as 1977, Newsweek remarked that the actor "gives you the shock of becoming, of a metamorphosis that can be thrilling, moving, or frightening."
Biographer Douglas Brode praises De Niro's versatility and ability to inhabit any role, although Pauline Kael once said in 1983 that she did not like how the actor was "disfiguring" himself in films such as Raging Bull.
When asked why he undertook such roles, De Niro responded, "To totally submerge into another character and experience life through him, without having to risk the real-life consequences—well it's a cheap way to do doing things that you would never dare to do yourself."
In 2009, he was announced as one of the Kennedy Center Honorees with the commemoration: "One of America's greatest cinematic actors, Robert De Niro has demonstrated a legendary commitment to his characters and has co-founded one of the world's major film festivals".
In 2016, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
Obama said “Everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful, very personal way [...] These are folks who have helped make me who I am".
A number of De Niro's films have become classics of American cinema, with six of his films inducted into the U.S. as of 2020. National Film Registry
Five of his films are featured on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films of all time.
De Niro and James Stewart share the title for the most films represented on the AFI list.
Timeout magazine's list of 100 best movies included seven of De Niro's films, as chosen by actors in the industry.
The collection, which took more than two years to process and catalog, opened to the public in 2009.
In 1989, De Niro and partner Jane Rosenthal co-founded the film production company TriBeCa Productions, which also organizes the Tribeca Film Festival.
It opened in 1990.
He is also the owner of the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca.
The first Nobu Hotel opened inside Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, in 2013.
Two years later, the second Nobu Hotel opened at City of Dreams in Manila, Philippines.
In 2015, De Niro partnered with James Packer after the billionaire acquired a 20 percent stake in Nobu for $100 million.
He is a stakeholder in Paradise Found Nobu Resort, a company planning to build a luxury resort on the island of Barbuda.
De Niro is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, De Niro called Trump "blatantly stupid" and said, "He wants to punch people in the face?!
I'd like to punch him in the face."
This was in reference to the similar desire Trump expressed towards protesters at one of his rallies.
It's no longer 'down with Trump'.
It's 'fuck Trump'."
De Niro opined that Trump is a racist, and admits that he was "naive" about Obama's presidency and race relations in America: "I felt we were on a new thing.
I didn't realize how against him certain people were – racially against him, offended that he was there."
In December 2019, De Niro clarified his views again on Trump and his family in an interview with The New York Times: "He is a person who, to me, has no morals, no ethics, no sense of right and wrong, is a dirty player.
He has not one speck of redeemability in him.
The president is supposed to set an example of trying to do the right thing.
[...] There's not one thing that I see in him or his family, not any redeeming qualities.
They're out on the take.
It's like a gangster family."
In 2020, he defended himself by saying, "As a citizen, I have as much right as anybody – an actor, an athlete, a musician, anybody else – to voice my opinion, if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I am going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power."
De Niro married actress Diahnne Abbott in 1976.
They have a son, Raphael, a former actor who works in New York real estate.
De Niro also adopted Abbott's daughter Drena De Niro from a previous relationship.
He and Abbott divorced in 1988.
Afterwards, he was in a relationship with model Toukie Smith between 1988 and 1996.
In 1997, De Niro married actress Grace Hightower.
Their son, Elliot, was born in 1998 and the couple split in 1999.
The divorce was never finalized and in 2004 they renewed their vows.
In December 2011, their daughter was born via surrogate.
In 2014, he and Hightower moved into a 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom apartment at 15 Central Park West.
Four years later, it was reported De Niro and Hightower had separated after 20 years of marriage.
De Niro has four grandchildren; his daughter Drena, has one, and his son Raphael, has three.
De Niro is long-term resident of New York City, and has been investing in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood since 1989.
He also has a 32-hectare (78-acre) estate in Gardiner, New York, which serves as his primary residence.
In October 2003, De Niro was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
He underwent surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in December 2003.
In 2006, De Niro received Italian citizenship, despite opposition by the Sons of Italy, who believe that De Niro damaged the public image of Italians by portraying criminals.
In 2016, De Niro initially defended the inclusion of a controversial documentary, Vaxxed, at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
He explained that his interest in the film was from his personal experience with his autistic son, Elliot.
The film was withdrawn from the schedule after consultation with the festival organizers and scientific community".
In February 2017, De Niro took part in a joint presentation with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of the anti-vaccine non-profit Children's Health Defense, to discuss their concerns with vaccine safety.
De Niro has stated that he is not anti-vaccination, but does question their efficacy.
In 2012, De Niro joined the anti-fracking campaign Artists Against Fracking.
In October 2018, De Niro was targeted by an explosive device which was sent by an unidentified suspect.
The device was found at the Tribeca Grill, which also houses his production company in Manhattan.
According to the FBI, similar devices were sent to other high profile politicians including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Former CIA Director John Brennan.
In February 1998, De Niro was held for questioning by French police in connection with an international prostitution ring.
De Niro denied any involvement, and later filed a complaint against the examining magistrate for "violation of secrecy in an investigation".
He stated he would not return to France, but has since traveled there several times including for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2006, the trust that owns De Niro's Gardiner estate sued the town to have its property tax assessment reduced, arguing that $6 million was too high and should be compared only with similar properties in Ulster County, where Gardiner is located.
The town, which had been comparing its value to similar estates in Dutchess County, across the Hudson River, and Connecticut's Litchfield County, where many other affluent New York residents maintain estates on large properties, won in State Supreme Court.
In 2014, the trust's lawyers appealed the decision and the town was unsure if it should continue to defend the suit because of financial limitations (it would have earned far less in payments on the increased taxes than it had spent on legal costs).
This angered many residents, who initially sympathized with De Niro, and some proposed to raise money privately to help the town continue the suit.
The dispute was publicized by The New York Times.
"When he [De Niro] read about it on Election Day, he went bananas," due to the negative publicity, said Gardiner town councilman Warren Wiegand.
He was unaware that a lawsuit was filed; the trust's accountants took responsibility citing fiduciary duty.
Shortly afterwards, De Niro directed his lawyer, Tom Harvey, to withdraw the suit and reimburse the town's legal bills of $129,000.
Harvey conveyed to Wiegand that "De Niro didn't want to screw the town".
In August 2019, De Niro's company Canal Productions filed a $6 million lawsuit against former employee Graham Chase Robinson, for breaching her fiduciary duties and violating New York's faithless servant doctrine by misusing company funds and watching hours of Netflix during work hours.
In October 2019, Robinson filed a lawsuit against De Niro, claiming harassment and gender discrimination.
Filmography and awards
Prolific in film since the 1970s, De Niro's most critically acclaimed films, according to the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, include Bang the Drum Slowly (1973), Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Brazil (1985), The Mission (1986), Midnight Run (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Heat (1995), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), and The Irishman (2019).
De Niro has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the following performances:
- 47th Academy Awards (1974): Best Supporting Actor, win, for The Godfather Part II
- 49th Academy Awards (1976): Best Actor, nomination, for Taxi Driver
- 51st Academy Awards (1978): Best Actor, nomination, for The Deer Hunter
- 53rd Academy Awards (1980): Best Actor, win, for Raging Bull
- 63rd Academy Awards (1990): Best Actor, nomination, for Awakenings
- 64th Academy Awards (1991): Best Actor, nomination, for Cape Fear
- 85th Academy Awards (2013): Best Supporting Actor, nomination, for Silver Linings Playbook
- 92nd Academy Awards (2020): Best Picture, nomination, for The Irishman
He was also the 56th recipient of Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award; Leonardo DiCaprio, who co-starred with De Niro in This Boy's Life, presented him the award, citing him as an inspiration and influence.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert De Niro.