ROBERT DE NIRO
August 17, 1943
New York, New York
Robert De Niro parents, Virginia Admiral, a painter, and father Robert, a painter, sculptor, and
poet, gave him a lot of freedom growing up in the Little Italy neighborhood of Lower
Manhattan. He was a shy boy who prefered reading over playmates, and at the age of ten he worked
at overcoming his shyness by gaining a part in a school play. Although having had a taste of
the thespian life, when his teens arrived Robert found himself hanging out on the streets, where
he whiled away his time with a small-time gang. But his artistic blood called him back, and once
again he set his sights on acting. Turning his back on the streets, Robert honed his skills
at the Actor's Studio under the instruction of Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg.
His first paycheck came at sixteen with a touring performance in Chekhov's The Bear. From
there, De Niro embarked on a fifteen year tour through dinner theatres, off-Broadway stages
and low budget features.
As fate would have it, his neighborhood's proximity to the prestigious NYU Film School brought
him in contact with future directing greats, Martin Scorcese and Brian De Palma. De Palma's 1968
Greetings and Hi, Mom! in 1970 featured De Niro, but it wasn't until Scorcese's 1973
Mean Streets that De Niro really broke through. Playing the maniacal Johnny Boy got De Niro
noticed by Francis Ford Coppola, who cast him as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather,
Part II. It was a part that won De Niro rave reviews and established him as one of the most
skilled film actors of his generation.
Photo © Unknown - Bio by ThespianNet.com
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