Robert De Niro

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, English, Dutch, German, and French. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop. De Niro first gained fame for his role in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973), but he gained his reputation as a volatile actor in Mean Streets (1973), which was his first film with director Martin Scorsese. He received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and received Academy Award nominations for best actor in Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978) and Cape Fear (1991). He received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980).

He is the only child

Robert Anthony De Niro Jr.’s parents separated when he was only two years old, and eventually divorced. His mother primarily raised him, and there’s no other known sibling of the celebrated actor. This is one of the facts about Robert De Niro that very few people know about. He joins the list of actors claiming the only child status, which includes Leonardo Di Caprio, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, among others.

Robert De Niro aged three with his 24-year-old father Robert De Niro Sr. in 1946.
Robert De Niro aged three with his 24-year-old father Robert De Niro Sr. in 1946.
Robert De Niro aged three with his 24-year-old father Robert De Niro Sr. in 1946.

His first role, at age 10, was the Cowardly Lion in a production of The Wizard of Oz.

Wizard of Oz

Marlon Brando and De Niro are the only actors to win Oscars for playing the same character: Vito Corleone in The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, respectively.

Meryl Streep is his go-to female co-star. They have done three films together: The Deer Hunter, Falling in Love and Marvin’s Room.

He learned to drive a cab on the streets of New York to play Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

Between the time #RobertDeNiro signed a thirty-five thousand dollar contract to appear in #TaxiDriver, and when it began filming, he won an #Oscar for his role in #TheGodfather: Part II (1974), and his profile soared. The producers were terrified that De Niro would ask for a deserved large pay raise, since #ColumbiaPictures was very discomfited by the project, and were looking for excuses to pull the plug on it, but De Niro said he would honor his original deal so the film would get made. 🎬

He is a cancer survivor

One of the most encouraging and inspiring facts about Robert De Niro is his successful battle with cancer. In 2003, doctors discovered he had prostate cancer; he had just clocked 60 years of age. Fortunately, the cancer was detected at an early stage thanks to his routine cancer screening.

The prolific actor won the battle with prostate cancer, and made a full recovery in 2011. Despite the health issues, he still appeared in movies such as Godsend, Shark Tale, Meet the Fockers, and The Bridge of San Luis Rey, all released in 2004.

More photos & videos about Robert de Niro’s life and career

Robert De Niro through the years.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, 1982.
Behind the scenes of Goodfellas (1990), Martin Scorsese

Scorsese and De Niro at Caribbean, 1979.

De Niro and Scorsese went to the Caribbean island of Saint Marteen to rewrite the screenplay of ‘Raging Bull’ (1980). On their last day, Scorsese decided it would be fun to pretend they had spent their time drinking instead of working. Gloria Norris, who would transcribe their notes into a completed screenplay, took these snaps.

Scorsese and De Niro at Caribbean, 1979
Scorsese and De Niro at Caribbean, 1979