Robert Anthony De Niro was born on August 17, 1943, in New York City, to Robert De Niro Sr., a renowned abstract expressionist painter, and Virginia Admiral, a poet and painter. Growing up in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood, De Niro was exposed to the vibrant energy of the city, which would later influence his performances.
De Niro’s passion for acting was ignited during his youth, and he attended the Stella Adler Conservatory and Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio to hone his craft. He made his stage debut in a 1960 production of “The Wizard of Oz” and later gained experience in Off-Broadway plays.
In 1963, De Niro made his film debut with a minor role in the drama film “The Wedding Party.” However, it was his collaboration with director Brian De Palma in the 1968 film “Greetings” that marked his breakthrough, showcasing his ability to portray complex characters with depth and authenticity.
|Name||Robert Anthony De Niro|
|Date of Birth||August 17, 1943|
|Place of Birth||New York City, U.S.|
|Parents||Robert De Niro Sr. (father) and Virginia Admiral (mother)|
|Education||Stella Adler Conservatory, Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio|
|First Stage Debut||“The Wizard of Oz” (1960)|
|Film Debut||“The Wedding Party” (1963)|
|Breakthrough Film||“Greetings” (1968)|
|Notable Collaborations||Martin Scorsese (director)|
|Academy Awards||– Best Supporting Actor for “The Godfather Part II” (1974)|
|– Best Actor for “Raging Bull” (1980)|
|Other Honors||– Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award (2011)|
|– AFI Life Achievement Award (2003)|
|– Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016)|
|Diahnne Abbott||– Raphael De Niro|
|– Drena De Niro (Stepdaughter)|
|Grace Hightower||– Elliot De Niro|
|– Helen De Niro|
|– Julian De Niro (Twin son)|
|– Aaron De Niro (Twin son)|
|– Unnamed Seventh Child (2023)|
De Niro has been married twice in his life. His first marriage was to actress Diahnne Abbott in 1976. They have a son together named Raphael De Niro. De Niro also adopted Abbott’s daughter, Drena De Niro, from her previous relationship. The couple divorced in 1988.
In 1997, De Niro married actress Grace Hightower. They have two children together, a son named Elliot and a daughter named Helen. They also welcomed twin sons, Julian and Aaron, in 1995, conceived through in vitro fertilization and delivered by a surrogate mother. Although De Niro and Hightower separated in 2018, their divorce was never finalized. In 2023, De Niro revealed that he recently had a seventh child, whose name remains undisclosed.
De Niro’s rise to stardom came in the early 1970s with his compelling performances in Martin Scorsese’s films. In 1973, he delivered a standout performance in “Mean Streets,” playing a small-time hood with a volatile nature. This marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese, as they went on to create cinematic masterpieces together.
De Niro’s ability to fully immerse himself in his characters brought him critical acclaim and widespread recognition. In 1974, he portrayed the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II,” a role that earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He further solidified his reputation as one of the greatest actors of his generation with his intense and transformative portrayal of Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” (1976).
De Niro’s commitment to his craft was evident in his physically demanding roles, such as Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull” (1980). To portray the boxer convincingly, he gained weight and trained rigorously, resulting in a mesmerizing and Oscar-winning performance.
De Niro’s collaboration with Martin Scorsese has become legendary in the film industry. Together, they have created some of the most memorable and influential films in cinematic history. Their partnership extended beyond “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver” to include films like “New York, New York” (1977), “The King of Comedy” (1982), “Goodfellas” (1990), “Casino” (1995), and “The Irishman” (2019).
Their work together showcased a deep exploration of human emotions, the dark side of society, and the complexities of flawed characters. De Niro’s performances in Scorsese’s films captured the essence of the characters and revealed the depths of their souls.
|1970||Hi, Mom!||Jon Rubin|
|1973||Mean Streets||John “Johnny Boy” Civello|
|1974||The Godfather Part II||Vito Corleone (Young)|
|1976||Taxi Driver||Travis Bickle|
|1977||New York, New York||Jimmy Doyle|
|1978||The Deer Hunter||Michael Vronsky|
|1980||Raging Bull||Jake LaMotta|
|1984||Once Upon a Time in America||David “Noodles” Aaronson|
|1990||Goodfellas||James “Jimmy” Conway|
|1995||Casino||Sam “Ace” Rothstein|
|1997||Wag the Dog||Conrad Brean|
|1999||Analyze This||Paul Vitti|
|2002||Gangs of New York||James “Jimmy” Conway|
|2012||Silver Linings Playbook||Patrizio “Pat” Solitano Sr.|
|2013||The Family||Fred Blake / Giovanni Manzoni|
|2019||The Irishman||Frank Sheeran|
|2021||The Comeback Trail||Max Barber|
|2022||Killers of the Flower Moon (upcoming)||William Hale|
Robert De Niro’s exceptional talent and dedication to his craft have garnered him numerous awards and accolades. He has received multiple Academy Awards, including Best Actor for “Raging Bull” and Best Supporting Actor for “The Godfather Part II.” His performances have also earned him Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In addition to individual recognition, De Niro has been honored with prestigious lifetime achievement awards, including the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Robert De Niro’s impact on the world of cinema is immeasurable. His intense performances, meticulous attention to detail, and ability to bring complex characters to life have left an indelible mark on film history. He has inspired countless actors and filmmakers with his dedication, versatility, and willingness to take risks in his craft.
De Niro’s legacy extends beyond his acting prowess. He has also made significant contributions to the film industry as a producer, founding the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 to revitalize the Lower Manhattan community after the September 11 attacks.