Robert De Niro
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From Tribeca to Tinseltown: The Evolution of Robert De Niro

An on-screen action legend and loyal family man who has just welcomed his seventh child to the brood, even at the age of 79 years old, Robert De Niro shows no sign of slowing down.

Naomi Chadderton
Naomi Chadderton
An experienced editor and journalist specialising in news and lifestyle.

Few actors in Hollywood have left an indelible mark on both the silver screen and the hearts of audiences like Robert De Niro. With a career spanning several decades, the American legend has become synonymous with acting excellence, portraying a wide array of characters in films that have gone on to become classics all around the world. Not only that, but having both just become a father once more at the ripe old age of 79 and tragically lost a grandchild in the same year, he’s proving that strength knows no bounds – or no age.

From his humble beginnings to his philanthropic efforts, here's a glimpse into the life and legacy of this iconic actor.

The Early Life of Robert De Niro

Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. was born on August 17, 1943, in New York City to artists Virginia Admiral and Robert De Niro Sr., setting the stage for young De Niro's artistic inclinations. Growing up in Greenwich Village, he was exposed to the world of acting and the arts from an early age, making his acting debut at the age of ten in a school production.

The budding actor dropped out of high school to fully focus on his acting ambitions and soon found his way into various theatre productions. The rest, as they say, is history.

Scorcese’s Secret Weapon

De Niro's big break came with his role in the film Mean Streets (1973), directed by Martin Scorsese, marking the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between the two that would lead to iconic films like Raging Bull (1980), GoodFellas (1990) and Taxi Driver (1976), where De Niro's portrayal of Travis Bickle earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

In a recent interview about Scorsese’s new film Killers of the Flower Moon, fellow collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio noted how much of an influence De Niro has been on his career. “My career was launched by doing This Boy’s Life, auditioning with Bob and then getting the role,” he told Deadline. “Working with him, watching his professionalism and the way he created his character was one of the most influential experiences of my life and career.”

De Niro’s dedication to his roles often led him to immerse himself fully in the characters, famously gaining weight to play the older Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Robert De Niro: The Man Behind The Lens

De Niro's dedication to his craft extended to his roles behind the camera as well, and he co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 as a response to the September 11 attacks, aiming to revitalise lower Manhattan through the power of cinema. The festival has since become a prominent platform for independent filmmakers, showcasing a wide range of thought-provoking works.

Robert De Niro: Joining The “Old Dads’ Club”

Proving you’re never too old to procreate, De Niro became a father for the seventh time at 79 this past April when he welcomed a baby with his partner Tiffany Chen, which was quickly followed by the revelation that his good friend Al Pacino was a month off fathering his fourth child at 83.

Just days after he announced the birth of his child, when asked in an interview with Access Hollywood what it meant to be a good father, he replied: “Sometimes I don’t think people really know what being a good father is.” He then corrected himself and added: “Well, they do. You know you have your responsibility.

“Look, it’s a mystery, it’s a lot of excitement,” he said. “But it’s scary and you do your best,” he added.

Robert De Niro: Champion of Good Causes

Beyond his contributions to the film industry, De Niro has been actively involved in philanthropy, and his commitment to healthcare led to the establishment of the The De Niro Family Precision Medicine Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which focuses on individualised treatments for patients.

His philanthropic work also extends to his efforts to raise awareness about various social and political issues, and the actor has regularly been known to use his platform to advocate for environmental causes while being vocal about issues such as climate change.

"I don’t really think of retirement. I don’t know what else I would do other than what I’m doing.”

Why Retirement Still Isn’t On The Cards

De Niro is a man in constant motion – he also owns numerous restaurants including the hugely successful Nobu sushi chain - and retirement just doesn’t seem to be a word in his vocabulary. “My main interest has always been movies — making them, directing them, being involved,” said De Niro, who also co-directed the Broadway-musical version of his filmmaking debut, A Bronx Tale. "I have never lost the passion for that."

As Robert De Niro captivates audiences with his performances, his legacy extends beyond the silver screen. His dedication to his craft, resilience in the face of challenges, and commitment to making a positive impact through philanthropy make him an inspirational figure, and his ability to breathe life into a multitude of characters has not only shaped cinematic history but has also left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who have been touched by his artistry.

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We are big believers that you should be able to design a life you love and not stick to a linear path, especially when it comes to your career choices. In fact, we'd go as far to say that the concept of retirement in its current form needs to be retired. Yes, that's right, there's no rulebook here!