Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943, in Manhattan, New York City. His parents, Robert De Niro Sr. and Virginia Admiral, were both accomplished artists. His father was a celebrated abstract expressionist painter, while his mother was a poet and painter. De Niro’s upbringing in an artistic household profoundly influenced his path towards a career in the arts. Despite his parents’ separation when he was just two years old, De Niro maintained a close relationship with both, especially his father, who would later inspire many aspects of his craft.

De Niro’s passion for acting emerged early in his life. He attended the High School of Music and Art for a brief period before transferring to the private McBirney School and later the Rhodes Preparatory School. However, his formal education took a backseat when he decided to pursue acting full-time, enrolling at the Stella Adler Conservatory and later at the American Workshop, where he studied under Lee Strasbourg. These experiences were pivotal, as they ingrained in him the method acting approach that would define his career.

Breakthrough Roles:

De Niro’s early film roles were small and often uncredited, but his talent quickly caught the attention of filmmakers. His breakthrough came in 1973 with his role in “Bang the Drum Slowly,” where he played a terminally ill baseball player. However, it was his collaboration with director Martin Scorsese that truly launched his career into the stratosphere. Their first film together, “Mean Streets” (1973), showcased De Niro’s raw talent and set the stage for one of the most successful actor-director partnerships in cinema history.

In 1974, De Niro’s portrayal of the young Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part II” earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His ability to embody the character with such authenticity and depth solidified his reputation as one of the finest actors of his generation. This role was particularly notable for De Niro’s dedication to authenticity, as he spent four months in Sicily learning the Sicilian dialect to ensure his portrayal was as accurate as possible.

The Scorsese Collaboration:

De Niro’s collaboration with Martin Scorsese is one of the most celebrated in film history. Together, they have crafted some of cinema’s most iconic films. Following “Mean Streets,” they teamed up for “Taxi Driver” (1976), in which De Niro’s portrayal of Travis Sickle, a mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran, became legendary. His improvised line, has become one of the most famous quotes in film history.

Their partnership continued with films like “New York, New York” (1977), “Raging Bull” (1980), “The King of Comedy” (1982), and “Good fellas” (1990). “Raging Bull,” in particular, is often cited as De Niro’s finest performance. His transformation into the troubled boxer Jake Lamott, for which he gained 60 pounds, earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor. De Niro’s commitment to his roles and his ability to delve deep into the psyche of his characters are hallmarks of his work with Scorsese.

Expanding Horizons:

While De Niro’s collaborations with Scorsese are among his most famous, his career spans a wide range of genres and roles. In the 1980s and 1990s, he showcased his versatility with performances in films like “The Mission” (1986), “Midnight Run” (1988), “Awakenings” (1990), and “Cape Fear” (1991). In “The Mission,” De Niro played a mercenary-turned-missionary, a role that required him to undergo intense physical training and sword-fighting lessons.

De Niro’s foray into comedy was equally successful. His performances in “Analyze This” (1999) and its sequel “Analyze That” (2002), where he played a mob boss undergoing therapy, demonstrated his comedic timing and ability to parody his own tough-guy image. Similarly, the “Meet the Parents” series (2000, 2004, 2010) showcased his comedic talents, making him a favorite among a new generation of moviegoers.

Directorial Ventures:

In addition to his acting career, De Niro has also made significant contributions as a director and producer. His directorial debut came with “A Bronx Tale” (1993), a film based on Chain Palminteri’s play. The film was well-received and showcased De Niro’s ability to craft compelling narratives from behind the camera. He followed this up with “The Good Shepherd” (2006), a film about the origins of the CIA, which he also starred in.

De Niro’s work as a producer through his company Tribeca Productions has also been noteworthy. He co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002, in response to the September 11 attacks, to help revitalize the Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan. The festival has since become one of the most important events in the film industry, showcasing independent films and fostering a community of filmmakers and movie enthusiasts.

Recent Work and Legacy:

In recent years, De Niro has continued to deliver powerful performances. His role in “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) earned him another Academy Award nomination. In 2019, he reunited with Martin Scorsese for “The Irishman,” a film that utilized groundbreaking dealing technology to depict De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci across different decades. The film was critically acclaimed and received numerous accolades, further cementing De Niro’s legacy as one of the greatest actors of all time.

De Niro’s influence extends beyond his performances. He is known for his advocacy for social and political issues. He has been an outspoken critic of certain political figures and policies, using his platform to promote causes he believes in. His commitment to his craft and his willingness to tackle challenging roles have made him a respected figure in Hollywood and beyond.

Personal Life:

Robert De Niro’s personal life has been as eventful as his career. He has been married twice, first to Dianne Abbott from 1976 to 1988, with whom he has two children, and later to Grace Hightower, whom he married in 1997 and separated from in 2018. De Niro has six children in total and has often spoken about the importance of family in his life.

De Niro has also faced personal challenges, including his father’s struggle with his sexual identity and his own battle with prostate cancer in 2003, from which he successfully recovered. These experiences have shaped his worldview and informed his performances, adding layers of depth to his characters.

Robert De Niro’s career spans over five decades, during which he has become one of the most revered and influential actors in Hollywood. From his early collaborations with Martin Scorsese to his diverse roles across various genres, De Niro has consistently demonstrated his extraordinary talent and dedication to his craft. His impact on the film industry is immeasurable, and his legacy as one of the greatest actors of all time is firmly established. Whether on screen or behind the camera, Robert De Niro continues to captivate audiences with his performances, proving that he is, indeed, a Hollywood legend.


Does Robert De Niro still act while running his businesses?

Yes, De Niro continues to act in films and television shows while overseeing his business ventures. His passion for acting remains a significant aspect of his career.

What other business ventures has Robert De Niro been involved in?

Apart from the ones mentioned above, De Niro has also invested in real estate projects, such as the renovation of Greenwich Hotel in New York City, and co-founded production company Canal Productions.

How does Robert De Niro balance his acting career with his business ventures?

According to interviews, De Niro prioritizes delegating responsibilities to trusted partners and maintaining a strong team to manage day-to-day operations.

Is the Tribeca Film Festival open to public submissions?

Yes, the festival accepts submissions from both established and emerging filmmakers. The selection process is highly competitive, with thousands of submissions received each year.

How has De Niro’s involvement in the hospitality industry impacted Nob Hospitality’s success?

De Niro’s celebrity status and passion for fine dining have brought significant attention and clientele to Nob restaurants worldwide. His involvement has also helped elevate the brand’s reputation and appeal to a global audience. 

What future projects can we expect from Robert De Niro?

De Niro continues to be involved in various film and TV projects, including the highly anticipated “The Irishman” sequel.