Robert De Niro, born on August 17, 1943, in New York City, is an iconic figure in the world of cinema, celebrated for his unparalleled talent, chameleon-like versatility, and profound influence on the art of acting. With a career spanning over five decades, Robert De Niro has left an indelible mark on Hollywood and is regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. His estimated net worth is $520 million.
In this article, we will delve into the life and career of Robert De Niro, from his early days in New York to his rise to fame, notable achievements, and his profound impact on the world of entertainment.
Robert De Niro was born to artist parents. His mother, Virginia Admiral, was a painter, and his father, Robert De Niro Sr., was a renowned abstract expressionist painter. Growing up in New York City's Greenwich Village, De Niro was exposed to the world of art and entertainment from an early age. His parents' influence played a significant role in nurturing his interest in acting.
Robert De Niro's journey to stardom began with his training at the prestigious Stella Adler Conservatory and the Lee Strasberg Institute, where he honed his skills in method acting. His early career included roles in off-Broadway productions and various films. It was his collaboration with director Martin Scorsese that catapulted him to fame. Their first film together, "Mean Streets" (1973), marked the beginning of a prolific partnership that produced several cinematic masterpieces.
Robert De Niro's filmography is a treasure trove of iconic roles and memorable performances. Some of his most celebrated characters and notable films include:
"The Godfather Part II" (1974) - De Niro's portrayal of young Vito Corleone earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
"Taxi Driver" (1976) - His role as Travis Bickle is one of the most enduring and complex character studies in cinematic history.
"Raging Bull" (1980) - De Niro's transformative performance as boxer Jake LaMotta earned him his second Academy Award, this time for Best Actor.
"Goodfellas" (1990) - His portrayal of James Conway in this Scorsese-directed mob epic showcased his ability to embody morally ambiguous characters.
"Casino" (1995) - Another collaboration with Scorsese, where De Niro played Ace Rothstein, a character based on a real-life Las Vegas casino executive.
"The Deer Hunter" (1978) - De Niro's role as Michael Vronsky in this Vietnam War drama earned him critical acclaim.
"Heat" (1995) - His on-screen confrontation with Al Pacino in this Michael Mann-directed crime drama is legendary.
Robert De Niro's career is marked by numerous awards and accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the AFI Life Achievement Award. He is celebrated for his method of acting approach, his meticulous preparation for roles, and his ability to disappear into characters. His influence on method acting and his dedication to storytelling have left an enduring legacy.
Robert De Niro married actress Diahnne Abbott in 1976, and they have a son named Raphael, who used to be an actor but now works in New York real estate. De Niro also adopted Abbott's daughter, Drena De Niro, from a previous relationship. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1988.
Afterwards, De Niro was in a relationship with model Toukie Smith between 1988 and 1996. The couple had twin sons, Julian and Aaron, who were conceived by in vitro fertilisation and delivered by a surrogate mother in 1995.
In 1997, De Niro married actress Grace Hightower. They had a son named Elliot in 1998, but the couple split in 1999. Interestingly, their divorce was never finalised, and in 2004, they renewed their vows. In December 2011, their daughter Helen was born via surrogate. In 2014, De Niro and Hightower separated after 20 years of marriage.
De Niro has four grandchildren, one from his daughter Drena and three from his son Raphael. In April 2021, De Niro's lawyer argued in a virtual divorce hearing that he was "working at an unsustainable pace" to support Hightower and pay off back taxes, while Hightower's lawyer claimed he had been unfairly decreasing the agreed-upon payments.
In April 2023, at the age of 79, De Niro welcomed his seventh child, a daughter named Gia, with his girlfriend Tiffany Chen.
In July 2023, it was sadly announced that De Niro's grandson, through his daughter Drena, Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, had passed away at the age of 19. The cause of death was determined to be a combined drug intoxication involving fentanyl and cocaine.
Robert De Niro's journey from a young actor with a passion for storytelling to an iconic and transformative figure in Hollywood is a testament to his extraordinary talent, dedication, and the profound impact he has made on the world of acting. His performances, characterised by their depth and authenticity, have resonated with audiences worldwide. As he continues to inspire and entertain, Robert De Niro remains a beloved and influential figure in the world of entertainment, celebrated for his exceptional talent, dedication to the art of acting, and his enduring influence on the art of storytelling.