Robert De Niro Sr.
Creativity runs in the De Niro family.
His mother Virginia Admiral was a painter and his father Robert De Niro Sr. was an abstract expressionist painter whose works have been displayed in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art and in hotels and restaurants owned by the actor. After his father passed away, De Niro maintained possession of his art studio in Soho, covering the walls with his drawings and paintings, as well as work from artists Robert Sr. admired.
Scorsese And De Niro
De Niro and director Martin Scorsese have worked together on nine feature films, including their latest collaboration, “The Irishman”, due out next year.
When the cinema icons met for the first time in 1972, they discovered they grew up only blocks apart in the Greenwich Village area of New York City and had crossed paths several times around the neighbourhood without actually meeting.
Bitten By The Acting Bug
His first acting role was at age 10 in a school production of “The Wizard Of Oz”. The future acting icon played the Cowardly Lion. Years later, he’d drop out of high school to enrol at the Stella Adler Conservatory and Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio in New York City.
If you hailed a New York taxi in the mid-1970s, there’s a chance De Niro was your driver. In preparation for 1976’s “Taxi Driver”, the actor actually got his New York cab driver's licence. He worked as a taxi driver for a brief time to get a feel for the character of Travis Bickle.
Iconic Ad Lib
It’s one of the most iconic lines in the history of cinema, but De Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?” monologue was completely ad-libbed. The “Taxi Driver” script reportedly only described the scene as “Travis looks in the mirror”.
The Birth Of Tribeca
In May 2002, De Niro launched the Tribeca Film Festival. His intention in creating the new film festival was to help revitalize the Lower Manhattan area following 9/11. He made the announcement with the help of pals Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese and actor-director Ed Burns.
To play the role of revenge-driven sex offender Max Cady in “Cape Fear”, De Niro had a dentist grind down his teeth for an estimated $5,000. At the end of production, he went back to the dentist to fix what he had done. The fix reportedly cost $20,000.
John Belushi's Last Night
The actor was reportedly the last person to see comedian John Belushi alive. De Niro stopped by his suite at L.A.’s Chateau Marmont hotel at 3 a.m. on March 5, 1982, shortly after another famous guest, Robin Williams, had departed.
Belushi was in the middle of an all-night drug binge, leading De Niro to leave after witnessing his behaviour. In the morning Belushi, 33, was found dead of a cocaine and heroin overdose.
He’s one of two actors to win an Oscar for playing the same role: both Marlon Brando and De Niro took home the Academy Award for their portrayals of Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part II”, respectively. De Niro would go on to win his second Oscar to date for 1980’s “Raging Bull”.
De Niro allegedly started the tradition of actors wearing ribbons at awards shows to show their support for various causes. Arriving at the 1981 Academy Awards, he was given a green ribbon by an onlooker in the bleachers in remembrance of several African-American children who were the victims of a serial killer in Georgia.
De Niro wore the green ribbon on his lapel while accepting his Oscar for "Raging Bull".