Robert De Niro is an Italian-American actor, producer and businessman. The Hollywood veteran is known for classics like The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), and Raging Bull (1980).
In modern times, he has scored big with movies like Little Fockers (2010), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), The Intern (2015) and Dirty Grandpa (2016). Though far from his prime, Niro is showing no signs of slowing. He continues to command fat paychecks for roles and receives increasing behind-the-scenes credits.
He even dabbled in TV in 2017 with dual roles of actor and executive producer in the HBO series Wizard of Lies. Read on to discover some of the highlights of his show business career.
Robert De Niro’s Wiki
Robert Anthony De Niro was born on August 17, 1943, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York. His parents who were both acclaimed painters divorced when he was just 2 years old. Young Rob was then raised by his mom. However, as he grew older, he developed a closeness to his dad who lived in the same neighbourhood as his mom. As a kid, he attended free children drama class courtesy of his mom’s employment at Maria Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop. At the age of 10, Rob portrayed Cowardly Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz.
As a teenager living in Little Italy, Manhattan, Rob became part of a rather harmless Italian street gang and earned the nick Bobby Milk. Later in his acting career, Rob used his street experiences to effectively portray Italian gangsters. De Niro attended many high schools including performance/visual arts schools but never made it to graduation in any. He finally gave up on his academics at the age of 16 to effectively pursue a career in acting.
The actor stands at 1.75 m. He tips the scale at 75kg (175lbs) and from all indications, is doing a good job staying healthy. He went through a surgery for prostate cancer in 2003.
Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
Robert honed his acting skills at Stella Adler Conservatory. Despite his decision to drop out of school, his mom remained supportive to the point of handing him money saved up for his college to pay for his acting training at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio.
Beginning from the 1960s, Robert started auditioning for movie roles. After appearing in a couple of uncredited roles, Robert landed his debut role in Greetings (1968). However, his first acting gig was filmed in 1963 for the movie The Wedding Party which was later released in 1969. Robert revealed in an interview that he received a $50 paycheck for that role.
The year 1973 proved to be a good year for Robert. He was able to get the attention of critics for his portrayal of a dying MLB player in Bang the Drum Slowly and for his role in the Martin Scorsese movie Mean Streets. The later would later birth a long-time successful partnership between De Niro and filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
Hollywood Breakthrough And Continued Success
Robert got his major breakthrough in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II. For his role as young Vito Corleone, Robert got his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He parlayed his success with a series of Martin Scorsese films like Taxi Driver, New York, New York (1977), and Raging Bull.
For his role in the later, which he had to add on 60 pounds, Robert received his second Oscar Award, this time for Best Actor. His other successful non-Scorsese film during this period was The Deer Hunter (1978) which earned him yet another Oscar nod for Best Actor.
Into the 1980s, Robert proved to be a versatile actor when he took a break from his mafia roles and dabbled into the world of comedy. It didn’t make his fans love him less. Some of them that were successful either critically and/or commercially include; The King of Comedy (1983) Brazil (1985), and Midnight Run (1988).
By the 1990s, De Niro began earning 7 figures per role and as the new millennium beckoned, the figures rose to 8.
His Highest Paying Roles And Net Worth
Sleepers (1996) – $6 million
Ronin (1998) – $14 million
Analyze This (1999) – $8 million
Meet the Parents (2000) – $13.5 million
The Score (2001) – $15 million
Analyze That (2002) – $20 million
Showtime (2002) – $17.5 million
Meet the Fockers (2004) – $20 million
Little Fockers (2010) – $20 million
Per Forbes calculations, De Niro raked in over $80 million between 2002 and 2004. And, over $100 million between 2009 and 2012. The man has an estimated net worth of $500 million.
In addition to acting, Robert also banks big as a filmmaker. This started in the 1990s. In 2003, he joined forces with producer Jane Rosenthal to found production company TriBeCa Productions. De Niro’s other capital venture is Tribeca Film Festival which he founded in 2002. The festival attracts millions yearly and generates annual revenue of $600 million.
In 2017, Robert got his first major TV role on the HBO series, Wizard of Lies. He plays the lead, Bernie Madoff and also serves as the executive producer of the show. Niro stands to earn high 6 figures per episode.
Other Business Ventures
The star is a successful businessman by many standards. In addition to his film-related ventures, De Niro is famed for owning a number of luxury accommodations worldwide. His The Greenwich Hotel located in the upscale Tribeca neighbourhood of Manhattan is a celebrity hotspot. Housed in the hotel is the restaurant – Locanda Verde also owned by Rob. More to that, he owns hotels in Nobu Manila, Philippines and The Wellington Hotel, in Covent Garden, London.
Robert joined forces with Australian billionaire investor, James Packer to launch a new luxury resort in Barbuda called Paradise Found. The duo invested over $250 million to restore an abandoned 251-acre space which held the once famed K Club Resort. The revamped resort include airports for private jets, 50 vacation villas, 6 over-water villas and more.
Robert De Niro’s Wife And Children
Niro married his first wife, Diahnne Abbot in 1976. Even, he adopted Diahnne’s daughter (Drena) from a previous relationship. The two were married for 12 years and had a son named Raphael De Niro. Raphael works in New York as a real estate agent. He was previously an actor but wasn’t successful or as famous as his dad is in his short acting endeavours. Robert and Diahnne parted ways in 1988.
In 1995, Robert De Niro had twin sons named Aaron Kendrick and Julian Henry De Niro from a surrogate mother through in vitro fertilization. He was in a long relationship with a former model, Toukie Smith as at that time.
By 1997, Robert was set to become a married man again as he took his second wife in the person of Grace Hightower, an actress. The two lived at their Marbletown home where their son Elliot was born in 1998. Their marriage ran out of steam by 1999 and they went for a marital hiatus. However, the divorce was never formalized; in 2004, they found their way back to each other and renewed their marital vows. Things continued to go well between them and their stronger marriage brought about the existence of a baby girl through another surrogate mother in December 2011. She was named Grace De Niro.
In all, Robert De Niro has 6 children, one adopted daughter and a son from his first wife, twin boys from a surrogate mother, a son from his second marriage and the youngest, a baby girl from another surrogate mother.
Robert announced on March 25, 2016, that his son and fifth child, Elliot suffers from autism. He disclosed this in an interview with Katie Couric while discussing Silver Linings Playbook written by movie director, David O. Russel who wrote the film for his son with bipolar disorder.