Robert De NiroActor / Filmmaker
Born: 17 August 1943
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: The intense star of Taxi Driver
The most celebrated American film actor of his era, Robert De Niro won an Oscar as best supporting actor for The Godfather, Part II in 1974. Over the next few decades he became known for his intense portrayals of mobsters, tough guys, loners and other not-quite-socially-adjusted characters, and equally well known for his single-minded commitment to acting. (The latter reputation was sealed when he packed on 50 pounds to play boxer Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese's 1980 film Raging Bull, for which he won another Oscar as best actor.) De Niro has worked often with Scorsese, in films including Mean Streets (1973), the now-famous Taxi Driver (1976, with De Niro as the scary loner Travis Bickle), Goodfellas (1990, with Joe Pesci) and Casino (1995, with Sharon Stone). He has also done comedy in films like Midnight Run (1988) and Wag The Dog (1997, with Dustin Hoffman), and spoofed his tough-guy reputation in Analyze This (1999) and as an ex-CIA father-in-law in Meet The Parents (2000, with Ben Stiller). Not lacking whimsy, De Niro has also played character roles of all sorts, including an offbeat ex-con in Jackie Brown and a comical fantasy pirate in Stardust (2007). He directed the family drama A Bronx Tale (1993) and the modern spy story The Good Shepherd (2006, with Matt Damon). He founded the TriBeCa Film Center in Manhattan in 1989, and created the TriBeCa film festival in 2002 as a response to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Extra credit: De Niro played young Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II; an older version of Corleone was played by Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972). Brando also won an Oscar, as best actor, for the role.
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