“There’s nothing more ironic or contradictory than life itself.” (Robert De Niro, 1990’s)
Robert De Niro (born August 17, 1943) is one of the most iconic figures of American cinema, whom after having one of the illustrious careers Hollywood has ever seen, has since branched out in directing and producing. His first major film roles were in “Bang the Drum Slowly” and “Mean Streets”, both in 1973 and beginning his critically acclaimed, longtime collaborations with Martin Scorsese. In 1974, playing the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II”, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. De Niro earned an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film “Raging Bull”, while also being nominated for his roles in Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” (1976) and “Cape Fear” (1991). MOreover, he received nominations for his acting in Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” (1978) and Penny Marshall’s “Awakenings” (1990). Also in 1990, his portrayal as Jimmy Conway in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” earned him a not only exceptional critical acclaim, but a BAFTA nomination as well.
Robert De Niro was born in Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, the son of Virginia Holton Admiral, a painter and poet, and Robert De Niro, Sr., an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor, who was quite famous in his own right, especially in the NYC art scene of his era. In 1993, De Niro made his directorial debut with “A Bronx Tale”. The film, written by Chazz Palminteri, was about Palminteri’s turbulent childhood in the Bronx. De Niro agreed to direct the film after seeing Palminteri’s one-man off-Broadway play. De Niro also played Lorenzo, the bus driver who struggles to keep his son away from local mobster Sonny, played by Palminteri. He did did not direct another film until 2006’s “The Good Shepherd”, which starred Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie. The film depicts the origins of the CIA, with Damon portraying one of the top counter-intelligence agents during World War II and the Cold War. De Niro has a small role as General Bill Sullivan, who recruits Damon’s character into the world of counter-intelligence.
De Niro is often praised for his commitment to roles, stemming from his background in method acting. He famously gained a whopping 60 pounds and learned how to box for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull”; he ground his teeth for “Cape Fear”; he lived in Sicily for “The Godfather Part II”; worked as a cab driver for a few weeks for “Taxi Driver”; and he chose to learn to play the saxophone for “New York, New York”. He is also praised for legendary fashion sense, and his choice of eyewear is unparalleled through the decades …