After marrying Diahnne Abbott he adopted her daughter Drena De Niro, Abbott's daughter from her previous marriage. Drena refuses to identify her biological father. He also has son Raphael De Niro born 1977with Abbott.
Had a long-term relationship with fashion model Toukie Smith, sister of the late fashion designer Willi Smith. They have twins sons together.
He married his second wife Grace Hightower in 1997, and she gave birth to their son, Elliot De Niro on March 18, 1998. In 1999, the couple renewed marriage vows at their Ulster County farm in New York's Catskill Mountains, but later that year De Niro filed for divorce. Their fallout continued into 2001 as a potential custody battle over their son, Elliott, heated up. However, the divorce was never finalized and they managed to smooth over their troubles. Their second child was born in December 2011 via surrogate.
When he was a child, he was an avid reader of playwrights.
Growing up in the Little Italy section of New York City, his nickname was "Bobby Milk" because he was so thin and as pale as milk.
He turned down the role of Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He was considered for the role of Josh Baskin in Penny Marshall's Big (1988). He was offered the role of Sal the pizza shop owner in Do the Right Thing (1989), which he turned down.
Son of painter Virginia Admiral and abstract expressionist Robert De Niro Sr.. Despite being raised Presbyterian, Virginia was an atheist for most of Robert's childhood. Robert Sr. was raised Catholic but was not religious in any way. After De Niro was born, his father Robert Sr. came out as a homosexual and eventually divorced Robert's mother.
He formed his own production company, Tribeca Film Center (1989).
In his 1980 Oscar acceptance speech, he thanked Joey LaMotta (brother of Jake LaMotta), who was at the time suing United Artists for the portrayal of him in Raging Bull (1980).
After being caught up in a Paris prostitution ring investigation, he, denying any involvement, vowed never to return to France again (1998).
Although he is sometimes referred to as an Italian-American actor, De Niro is actually one quarter Italian in ancestry. His father was of half Italian and half Irish descent. His mother was of Dutch, English, German, French and Irish ancestry on her own father's side, and of German ancestry on her own mother's side. Robert was quite close to his Italian paternal grandfather, whom he visited frequently in Syracuse, New York when he was young. De Niro has stated that he identifies "more with [his] Italian side". He was inducted into the Italian-American Hall of Fame (2002).
He is the second actor to receive an Academy Award for portraying Vito Corleone. He and Marlon Brando were the first two actors to receive an Academy Award for playing the same character.
He first discovered his love for acting at age 10 when he portrayed the Cowardly Lion in a local production of "The Wizard of Oz". He dropped out of high school to join a gang.
Formerly held the World Record for Most Weight Gained for a Movie, in gaining over 60 pounds for his role in Raging Bull (1980). But seven years later, Vincent D'Onofrio eclipsed him in gaining 70 pounds for his role in Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Three movies (at least) that De Niro has appeared in have the song "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones noticeably featured in the soundtrack: Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995) and The Fan (1996).
Ranked #78 in Premiere magazine's 2002 annual Power 100 List.
In 1993, he was tapped to star as Enzo Ferrari in the film "Ferrari", which was budgeted at $65 million (U.S.) and had Michael Mann attached as director. The project fell through.
He organized the first Tribeca Film Festival in May 2002. He intended to revitalize the Lower Manhattan area after the September 11 attacks.
Has said that Meryl Streep is his favorite actress to work with.
He was voted as the best actor of all time at FilmFour.com (2002).
In 1984, British pop group Bananarama had a song dedicated to him called "Robert De Niro's Waiting". De Niro heard about this and arranged to meet the three girls, but they got so nervous, while waiting for him, that they got drunk before he even arrived.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer, and expected to make a full recovery. [October 2003]
Spent four months learning to speak the Sicilian dialect in order to play Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974). Nearly all the dialogue that his character spoke in the movie was in Sicilian.
According to a profile in Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood issue, is the first actor to do a method interpretation of a cartoon character as Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000).
He started the whole "awards show ribbon" tradition by wearing a green ribbon on his lapel at the 1981 Academy Awards. The ribbon was in rememberance of several African-American children who were victims of a serial killer in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980-1981. The ribbon was given to him by a fan in the bleachers as he arrived; the victims' families had been wearing them for months.
Was in Ossining, New York (home of the infamous Sing Sing penitentiary) to shoot three different movies: Analyze This (1999), Analyze That (2002) and Hide and Seek (2005).
In the Egyptian film El Medina (1999), the main actor Ali has a duck that he named De Niro after his favorite actor.
Was voted the No. #2 greatest movie star of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll, narrowly being beaten by Al Pacino.
This was tricky to make him look huge as Frankenstein's monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) , considering that Kenneth Branagh, who played Dr. Frankenstein, is of similar height. Many of the tricks used to make humans, wizards and elves dwarf the hobbits later on for the Lord of the Rings trilogy were also employed to make De Niro appear much bigger than his co-stars, including using very large men as body doubles for shots where only the hands and feet are seen.
He was voted the 34th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Singer PJ Harvey refers to De Niro in a song, "Reeling", from her album "4-Track Demos".
Finley Quaye mentions him in the song "Sunday Shining", in the line "I'm a hero like Robert De Niro".
Was unable to accept his first Academy Award in 1975 due to filming commitments to Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 (1976).
Was good friends with comedian John Belushi, who died of a drug overdose on March 5, 1982. In fact, De Niro and Robin Williams were the last stars to see Belushi alive, albeit on separate visits to Bungalow #3 of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont hotel that fateful day. De Niro visited Belushi at 3:00 am on the morning of his death, but, according to eyewitnesses, left minutes later after seeing that Belushi was sick. Less than an hour earlier, Belushi had been visited by Robin Williams, who also left straight away.
Ranked #1 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Living Actor (Gods Among Us)" list. [October 2004]
At age 17, after leaving the movies with a friend, he unexpectedly stated that he was going to be a film actor. No one believed him until he dropped out of his senior year of high school and joined Stella Adler's acting school.
His boyhood idols among actors included Montgomery Clift, Robert Mitchum and Marlon Brando. He preferred the darker, more character-driven work of these men to the older stars of Hollywood, for whom their public persona as a star was more important than their immersion into the character.
Rarely does interviews and is known as one of the most ultra-private celebrities. He was the subject of a late 1990s interview (and cover photo) for Esquire magazine. Most of the article focused on how guarded he is with his personal life, what few details are known about him, what rumors are speculated while only a minority of the article dealt with the actual interview itself. The writer noted that while the interview was ultimately agreed upon, he was given a substantial list of off-limit subjects not to ask De Niro about. They included: politics, religion, his family, his reported interest in fine wines, and so on.
When they met shortly before making Mean Streets (1973) De Niro and Harvey Keitel became fast friends. De Niro was from Greenwich Village in Manhattan and was taught by Stella Adler and Keitel was from the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn and was mainly mentored by Lee Strasberg. But the two guarded actors bonded and remain close to this day.
He and Martin Scorsese were brought up blocks apart in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, but never formally met when they were young. When introduced at a party in 1972, the two came to realize that they had seen each other many times but had never spoken.
Limousine drivers in Los Angeles joke about his less than generous tips by referring to him as "No Dinero".
Very good friends with Joe Pesci. They appeared together in seven films: Raging Bull (1980), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Goodfellas (1990), A Bronx Tale (1993), Casino (1995), The Good Shepherd (2006) and The Irishman (2019).
In October 1997, he ranked #5 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. In 2005, Premiere magazine ranked him as #38 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature.
Both of his Oscar-winning performances involved Marlon Brando. His first Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, had him playing the younger version of Brando's character Vito Corleone. His second, for Best Actor in Raging Bull (1980), he recited Brando's famous lines from On the Waterfront (1954).
Underwent surgery for prostate cancer at New York's Sloan-Kettering Hospital. The cancer has now gone into remission. [December 2003]
Co-owns the Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco with Bay area residents Francis Ford Coppola and Robin Williams. Much of his father Robert De Niro Sr.'s art work adorns the walls of the business. He also owns a restaurant in West Hollywood, Ago, and co-owns several restaurants in New York, including Nobu (with stakeholders Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper) and Layla. Since 1994, De Niro, Matsuhisa and Teper have expanded to own over 40 restaurants and 18 hotels in North and South America, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Shares a birthday with friend and sometime-co-star Sean Penn.
First performer to receive an Academy Award (for The Godfather Part II (1974)) for a performance in a sequel.
He is a staunch supporter of the US Democratic Party. He lobbied Congress against impeaching President Bill Clinton in 1998. He supported Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election and supported John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Supported Democratic senator Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential election.
His performance as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980) is ranked #10 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
His performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) is ranked #42 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Before Tim Burton was commissioned as director, he was considered for the role of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). The role went to Johnny Depp.
He was offered the role of Dick Tracy in Dick Tracy (1990), which went to Warren Beatty.
He turned down the role of Tony D'Amato in Any Given Sunday (1999), which went to Al Pacino.
Passed up the opportunity to play Frank Costello in The Departed (2006) to work on his second directorial feature The Good Shepherd (2006).
After Once Upon a Time in America (1984), director Sergio Leone planning to cast De Niro in a film he was working on about the siege of Leningrad in World War II, but that project never came about due to Leone's death in 1989.
For the role of Max Cady in Cape Fear (1991), he paid a dentist $5,000 to make his teeth look suitably bad. After filming, he paid $20,000 to have them fixed. For this film, he was tattooed with vegetable dyes, which faded after a few months.
Accidentally broke a rib of Joe Pesci in a sparring scene in Raging Bull (1980). This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle.
Mentioned in 'Weird Al' Yankovic's song, "Frank's 2000 TV".
Owns residences on the east and west sides of Manhattan as well as near Marbletown, New York.
Is one of five performers to win an Oscar playing a character that spoke mostly in a foreign language. The other are Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard, Roberto Benigni and Benicio Del Toro.
Played a real-life CIA director in The Good Shepherd (2006) and another real-life CIA agent in Ronin (1998), as well as a fictional CIA agent in Meet the Parents (2000).
Mentioned in the song "Gun Love" by the rock band ZZ Top, in the line "Runnin' with the Wild Bunch, makin' like Robert De Niro".
(November 11, 2008) Attended the star-studded opening of Dubai's lavish Atlantis Palms resort. Guests were welcomed in style with a display of one million fireworks, said to be visible from space.
Is mentioned in Stephen Lynch's song "Vanilla Ice Cream".
As of the fifth edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (edited by Steven Jay Schneider), De Niro is the most represented actor, by 14 films. Included are the De Niro films Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), 1900 (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1982), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Brazil (1985), The Untouchables (1987), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Heat (1995) and Meet the Parents (2000).
He based the movement of his character Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) on that of a crab. He thought the character was indirect and tended to shift from side to side.
He visited Michael Jackson on the set of filming the "Smooth Criminal" segment for Moonwalker (1988). Also visiting the set was Gregory Peck, and Bruce Willis.
Was cited as one of the most promising movie personalities of 1973 in John Willis' 1974 Film Annual "Screen World" book.
One of the five winners of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. Other 2009 winners were Bruce Springsteen, Dave Brubeck, Mel Brooks, and Grace Bumbry.
Mentioned in Jay-Z's and Alicia Keys' song "Empire State of Mind".
Is almost perfectly imitated by St. Louis Cardinals' Shortstop, Brendan Ryan, especially during post game interviews.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.
He won an Oscar for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980), making him one of 18 actors to win the Award for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Award ceremony (as of 2015). The other seventeen actors and their respective performances are: Spencer Tracy for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938), Gary Cooper for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941), Patty Duke for playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962), Jason Robards for playing Ben Bradlee in All the President's Men (1976), Sissy Spacek for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)_, Jeremy Irons for playing Claus Von Bullow in Reversal of Fortune (1990), Susan Sarandon for playing Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995), Geoffrey Rush for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996), Julia Roberts for playing Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000), Jim Broadbent for playing John Bayley in Iris (2001), Jennifer Connelly for playing Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind (2001), Helen Mirren for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006), Sandra Bullock for playing Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side (2009), Melissa Leo for playing Alice Eklund-Ward in The Fighter (2010), Christian Bale for playing Dickie Eklund in The Fighter (2010), Meryl Streep for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011), and Eddie Redmayne for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014).
First guest to appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009) on March 2, 2009.
Receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards. [January 2011]
Unlike Marlon Brando, who preceded him as Don Vito Corleone, he actually has Italian ancestry in his background. He and Brando both have Dutch ancestry.
He was originally cast in the role of Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York (2002), but pulled out when he discovered this would mean spending six months in Europe and was replaced by Daniel Day-Lewis.
He was considered for the role of Harry Line in Home Alone (1990), which went to his good friend Joe Pesci.
Is an only child of Robert De Niro Sr. and Virginia Admiral.
Is mentioned in Billy Bragg's 1991 song "Sexuality".
President of the jury at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
The longest he has gone without an Oscar nomination is 21 years, between Cape Fear (1991) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
Became a father for the first time at age 33 when his [now ex] wife Diahnne Abbott gave birth to their son Raphael De Niro on November 9, 1976.
Became a father for the second and third time at age 52 when his twins Julian Henry and Aaron Kendrick De Niro with [now ex] partner Toukie Smith were born via a surrogate on October 20, 1995.
Became a father for the fourth time at age 54 when his second wife Grace Hightower gave birth to their son Elliot De Niro on March 18, 1998.
Became a father for the fifth time at age 68 when his daughter Helen Grace De Niro with second wife Grace Hightower was born via a surrogate in December 2011.
As of 2020, he has appeared in 11 films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), The Mission (1986), Awakenings (1990), Goodfellas (1990), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013), The Irishman (2019), and Joker (2019). Of those, The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Deer Hunter (1978) are winners in the category. Goodfellas and Awakenings were released in the same year, 1990. 29 years later, The Irishman and Joker were also released in the same year.
The Godfather (1972) predicts both of his Oscar-winning roles. In a scene with Vito Corleone, a poster advertising a Jake LaMotta fight can be seen.
He and his close friend Gérard Depardieu have both received Oscar nominations for playing a role that had already earned an Oscar for another actor. DeNiro won his first Oscar for playing Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974), a role previously played by Marlon Brando. Depardieu was nominated for Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), a role that previously won an Oscar for José Ferrer.
Read the book Raging Bull (1980) while filming The Godfather Part II (1974). His roles in both films would win him an Academy Award.
Has played characters that are Vietnam veterans on five occasions: Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Jacknife (1989), Meet the Parents trilogy, and Grudge Match (2013).
He was considered for the role of Howard Payne in Speed (1994), which went to Dennis Hopper instead.
Before Martin Scorsese was hired to direct Taxi Driver (1976), others considered for the role of Travis Bickle were Jeff Bridges, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Ryan O'Neal, Peter Fonda, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, Robert Blake, David Carradine, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Walken, Alain Delon, James Caan, Roy Scheider, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould, Alan Alda, Neil Diamond, George Hamilton, Charles Grodin, Michael York and Kris Kristofferson.
In the 1950s, Robert lived with his mother in the top floor apartment at 219 West 14th Street in Manhattan's "Little Spain".
He was offered the roles of Captain Robert Stout and Staff Sergeant Eddie Dohun in A Bridge Too Far (1977) but turned both down. Elliott Gould and James Caan were cast respectively.
Walked out of a Radio Times interview after saying the journalist was asking him questions with a "negative inference".
He gained 60 pounds for a single scene playing an older Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980).
There is a "De Niro Men's Clothing Shop" in Chengdu, China.
He turned down the role of Hopper in A Bug's Life (1998), which went to Kevin Spacey.
He was considered for the role of Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 (2004), which went to Alfred Molina.
Has worked with eight directors who have won an Oscar for Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Bernardo Bertolucci, Elia Kazan, Michael Cimino, Ron Howard, Barry Levinson and Alfonso Cuarón.
He was offered the role of Mitch Leary in In the Line of Fire (1993), which he turned down due to scheduling conflicts with A Bronx Tale (1993). The role went to John Malkovich.
Longtime friend/fan and confidant of Whoopi Goldberg.
Prefers making movies to acting on stage.
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Barack Obama, in a live televised ceremony held in the East Room of the White House, on November 22, 2016, along with twenty other recipients, the the largest, and final Medal of Freedom ceremony of Obama's presidency. At this ceremony, the twenty-one recipients, in alphabetical order, included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elouise Cobell (posthumous award given to her son), Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Richard Garwin, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Frank Gehry, Margaret Hamilton (as Margaret H. Hamilton), Tom Hanks, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (posthumous award given to her niece), Michael Jordan, Maya Lin, Lorne Michaels, Newton Minow, Eduardo Padron (as Eduardo Padrón), Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Vin Scully, Bruce Springsteen and Cicely Tyson.
He was the one who first made Martin Scorsese aware of Leonardo DiCaprio. He had worked with DiCaprio on This Boy's Life (1993) and had been very impressed by his talent and spoke about him to his friend and frequent collaborator. Scorsese and DiCaprio would later work together on many films.
De Niro revealed in March 2016, that his son Elliot is autistic.
In an interview with Total Film magazine in 2007, he praised Eddie Redmayne, whom he directed and starred with in The Good Shepherd (2006), when asked about younger actors whom he liked.
Maternal grandson of Donald (1890-1949), born in the state of Illinois, and Alice (née Groman) Admiral (1887-1962), born in the state of Iowa.
Maternal great grandson of Nicholas (1853-1918), born in Holland, and Virginia (née Holton) Admiral (1848-1928), born in the state of Kentucky.
He has appeared in six films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990).
Maternal great grandson of August (1856-1947) and Gesina (née Beckman) Groman (1860-1949). Both were born and raised in the state of Indiana and died in the state of Iowa.
Robert De Niro's Best Actor Oscar nomination for Cape Fear (1991) is the only time he was nominated for his performance in a film which was not nominated for Best Picture.
Speaks fluent Italian and French.
At the 31st AFI Life Achievement Awards, Jodie Foster credited De Niro with introducing her to the true craft of acting. During production of Taxi Driver (1976), he would insist that they'd meet for coffee and rehearse their scenes from together at a local diner. After a while, Jodie became bored of the routine until De Niro began improvising lines during their rehearsals. Jodie soon learned to follow his improv as he weaved back and forth to the original script, in essence teaching her how to effectively build a character.
Cites actor Alec Baldwin's De Niro impressions as his favorites.
His father left home when he was 2.
He left school at 16 and trained with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg.
He appeared in off - Broadway productions and with touring companies before making his film debut in Brian de Palma's 'Greetings' in 10968.
As a teenager he ran with the Greenwich Village 'Kenmare Street Gang'.
In 1988 he and Jane Rosenthal founded Tribeca production company which develops projects for him to produce, direct or appear in.
Has been a close friend of Bruce Springsteen since 1975.
Has the most films in the IMDB top 250 of any actor with ten films represented. The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Heat (1995), Joker (2019) and The Irishman (2019).
Appeared on his first ever podcast as Michael Moore's guest on his newly launched "Rumble" podcast . The interview was conducted at De Niro's office in Lower Manhattan, New York (December 20, 2019).
Alumnus of Stella Adler Studio of Acting. He studied directly under Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, both taught Konstantin Stanislavski's Method.
Born at 3:00 AM (EWT).
After King of Comedy he was scheduled to make Star in Weeds written by Dorothy Tristan and John Hancock.
He originally signed to play Sal in Do the Right Thing but dropped out.