20 Fascinating Robert De Niro Facts that Will Leave You Wonder

Little friends, let me tell you about Robert Anthony De Niro or Robert De Niro.

He is an American actor.

He is quite famous for his collaborations with Martin Scorsese and is considered to be one of the most fascinating and influential actors of his generation 😲.

De Niro has received many awards and accolades, including a Golden Globe, two Academy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

So, let us discuss some amazing facts about this amazing actor.

Fantastic Robert De Niro Facts

De Niro actually was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City

De Niro Actually Was Born In New York City

Hey there, little friends, did you know that actor De Niro was born on August 17, 1943?

He was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City 🌆.

His parents were Virginia Admiral and Robert De Niro Sr. Also, both of them were painters.

De Niro’s mom had English, Dutch, German, and French ancestry, while his dad was of Italian and Irish descent.

When De Niro was just 2, his parents divorced

De Niro’s parents met at the painting classes of Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 

Robert was just two years old when his parents divorced, as his father announced that he was gay.

So, De Niro was raised by his mother👩 in the Greenwich Village and also Little Italy areas of Manhattan.

His father lived within walking distance, and hence he spent a lot of time with his father when he was growing up.

De Niro dropped out of high school because he wished to pursue acting

De Niro Dropped Out Of High School

De Niro attended Elisabeth Irwin High School. The upper school of the Little Red School House. He attended the institution for seventh and eighth grades.

Later, in the ninth grade, he was then accepted into the High School of Music and Art.

However, he studied there for a very short time period and then transferred to a public junior high school, Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School.

De Niro even attended high school at Mc Burney School, and later, Rhodes Preparatory School.

However, he became fascinated by cinema, so at 16, he dropped out of high school to pursue acting🎭.

De Niro’s first role was at only 10

De Niro attended a public elementary set in Manhattan, PS 41, through the sixth grade. 

However, he started acting classes at the Dramatic Workshop.

When he was just 10, he made his stage debut in school. He played the Cowardly Lion 🦁 in The Wizard of Oz. 

In the role, he threatened to thrash a hippopotamus from top to bottom!! Really impressive, isn’t it?

Later, De Niro studied acting at HB Studio

De Niro Studied Acting At HB Studio

After some time, De Niro studied at HB Studio and also at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio. 

As a young actor, he was inspired by the works of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Greta Garbo, Kim Stanley, and James Dean.

He even played a few minor roles in movies like Three Rooms in Manhattan, Encounter, and Les Jeunes Loups.

Later, he landed a major role in Greetings (1968). It was a sacrificial movie about men avoiding the Vietnam War draft.

This movie 🎬 marked one of the early collaborations between director Brian De Palma and De Niro. 

De Niro is a dual citizen of Italy and the United States

I am really surprised to learn this interesting secret about De Niro! Want to know?

De Niro Is an Italian-American, American, and as of 2004, Italian.

The nation bestowed honorary citizenship upon this amazing actor as an honor. 

He received this honor in recognition of his career; however, it wasn’t smooth sailing at the passport office. 

In America, a group called the Order of the Sons of Italy strongly protested the plan of the Italian government.

It happened because of De Niro’s frequent portrayal of negative Italian-American stereotypes.

De Niro held the record for gaining the most weight for a role

De Niro Held The Record For Gaining The Most Weight For A Role

De Niro had to gain a lot of weight for an acting role in the movie Ragging Bull. It was actually adapted from the memoir of Jake LaMotta.

De Niro played the role of LaMotta, the Italian-American middleweight boxer🥊. 

LaMotta’s violent behavior and temper destroyed his relationship with his wife and also his family!

De Niro said it was one of the toughest roles to prepare for, as he had to gain 60 pounds and also learn boxing.

Later, at the 53rd Academy Awards, Ragging Bull got eight nominations, and De Niro won the Best Actor Award!!!

De Niro once made a more serious sacrifice for his role as a violent criminal character

To look a lot like a criminal while playing the role of a criminal character, De Niro offered a dentist $5000 to grind down his teeth. 

In the Cape Fear Film, he portrayed the role of Max Candy. 

He wanted to assume the physical traits of a sadistic ex-con. For this, he was willing to go to the extreme!

Later, after the filming, De Niro even gave the same dentist $20,000 to repair the damage.

To act in Taxi Driver, De Niro took firearm training 

De Niro Took Firearm Training

For the psychological drama Taxi Driver, De Niro collaborated with Scorsese. Before, he had worked with him in Mean Streets Film.

The Taxi Driver tells the story of a lonely taxi driver🚕, Travis Bickle, who descends into insanity. The movie is set in morally bankrupt and gritty New York City after the Vietnam War.

To portray the role, De Niro spent time with members of the U.S. Army base to learn their Midwestern mannerisms and accents. 

He also lost 30 pounds in weight. He even took firearm training and learned the behavior of taxi drivers. The film was critically acclaimed.

De Niro and Marlon Brando are the only two actors to win Oscars for the same role

Did you know this interesting secret?

Robert won his first Oscar in 1975!

It was for the role of the younger version of Vito Corleone in Godfather: Part II. 

The wizened capo, played by Marlon Brando, also brought Brando an Oscar. 

For 45 years, no other pair of actors could match the feat until 2020. 

It was the year when Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Actor for acting as and in Joker. 

Before in 2009, Heath Ledger posthumously won a Best Supporting Actor award for playing the same role in The Dark Knight (2008).

Robert De Niro: A two-time Oscar winner

Robert De Niro Won Oscar Twice

De Niro won two Oscar Awards from his eight Academy Award nominations.

He won the coveted Oscar for Best-Supporting Actor🏆. He got this award for portraying the role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II.

De Niro also won an Oscar for playing the role of Jake Motta in the movie Raging Bull in 1980.

This amazingly talented actor has won many other awards for his fascinating work in the film industry.

One of De Niro’s movies postponed one of his Oscar wins

Little fact lovers, have you heard this amazing secret about De Niro?

The 53rd Academy Awards, where Robert won an award for Raging Bull, were originally scheduled for March 30, 1981. 

However, the ceremony was postponed until the following day due to an assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan!

John Hinckley Jr., the would-be assassin, claimed the attack was intended to impress Foster, as he was quite impressed with Foster after watching Taxi Driver! Really interesting, isn’t it?

De Niro was even interrogated by French Police once

De Niro Was Interrogated By French Police

In February 1998, Robert was interrogated by the French Police. 

It happened due to his connection with an international prostitution ring. However, he denied the allegations. 

Later, he even filed a complaint against the examining magistrate for violating the secrecy of an investigation. 

He even said that he would not return to France. He said Le Monde newspaper🗞️, “I will never return to France. I will advise my friends against going to France.”

However, De Niro has since traveled there multiple times, including during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Robert De Niro: The co-founder of a film production company

If you are a fan of De Niro like me, then you will surely love this fascinating secret!

In 1989, De Niro and Jane Rosenthal co-founded the film production company named The TriBeCa Productions. It also organizes the Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition, Robert also owns Tribeca Grill, an American restaurant situated at 375 Greenwich Street in Tribeca, Manhattan. 

The restaurant opened in the year 1990.

Robert is also the owner of the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. De Niro also co-owns Nobu restaurants and hotels with partners Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper.

The gifted actor De Niro, is never afraid to weigh in on politics

Robert De Niro In Politics

De Niro lobbied Congress to try and stop the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998. He even has recently been speaking out against the current POTUS.

He has been a longtime of the former U.S. president and also went ahead and publicly expressed a sigh of relief when in 2020 the President was not re-elected!

On more than one occasion, De Niro has publicly condemned Trump for his actions as well.

De Niro is a big fan of the cats in Meet the Parents

I am really amazed to explore this fascinating secret about De Niro! Want to know? Let’s explore.

Meet the Parent’s Mr. Jinx was portrayed by two Himalayans named Misha and Bailey, and even De Niro fell in love with them. 

He played with them between scenes, even kept kibble in his pocket for them. Also, De Niro asked Jay Roach, the director, to have Mr. Jinx in as many scenes as possible. Amazing, right?

De Niro and his first wife Diahnne Abbott

De Niro And His First Wife

De Niro married Diahnne Abbott, his first wife 👰‍♀️ in 1976 and they have a son, Raphael.

Raphael is a former actor who works in New York real estate.

Later, in 1988, Robert and Diahnne got a divorce.

Robert and his second wife Grace Hightower

In 1997, De Niro married 💒actress Grace Hightower, his second wife, at their Marbletown home.

In 1998, their son Elliot was born; however, the couple split in 1999.

However, the divorced was never finalized, and the couple renewed their vows in 2004.

De Niro and his children vis surrogacy

De Niro And His Children Via Surrogacy

In 1995, De Niro has twin sons conceived through in vitro fertilization procedure and delivered by a surrogate mother, from a long relationship with former model Toukie Smith.

Later, in December 2011, he also had a daughter through surrogacy named Helen Grace.

In addition to his six children, Robert has four grandchildren, three from his son Raphael and one from his daughter Drena!

Robert De Niro received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Let me tell you another wonderful fact about De Niro!

Robert received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in America!

It is bestowed by the President of the United States.

The medal of freedom is awarded to individuals who have made meritorious contributions to the State, public, private endeavors, or even world peace.

Robert was among those who won this coveted award🥇 by Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, in the year 2016. 

Summing up

So little knowledge lovers, now you know a lot about Robert De Niro!

We have tried to gather as much information about this amazingly talented actor as possible…so that your treasure of knowledge is enhanced 😲.

Hope you like our efforts!!

Was this article helpful?
Hungry for more Facts?

Want to learn something new? Our fact generator tool is your solution. Click and get facts as much as you like!

Let's Go
Explore Fun Facts!

Leave a Comment