Robert De Niro Celebrates a Milestone Birthday
Beloved New Yorker Robert De Niro turns 80 today! Well known for his method acting and fierce privacy, the actor got his start in theater after dropping out of high school to attend acting school. His first starring role came in the 1969 film The Wedding Party, with then-rising star director Brian De Palma, for which De Niro was paid only $50. After a few more roles, it was 1973’s Bang the Drum Slowly where he first became famous. His first collaboration with Martin Scorsese was also released in 1973: Mean Streets, which gave him De Niro his renowned “tough guy” reputation. Since then, the two went on to do 10 feature films together. With two Oscars under his belt as well as many other awards and nominations, the actor shows no signs of slowing down. According to IMDB, he has 8 projects in the works and because he was a co-founder of Tribecca Studios, they have planned a 3-day celebration called “De Niro Con” in honor of this milestone birthday.
While we can’t throw this icon a 3-day celebration, we certainly can look back at his monumental career in photos.
The Early Years
In the 1968 Brian De Palma film, Greetings.
William Finley, Charles Pfluger, Robert De Niro in his first starring role in The Wedding Party (1969).
De Niro as an ailing baseball player in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). He would star in Mean Streets the same year.
A young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II ( 1974), which he won an Academy Award for.
Martin Scorsese with Robert De Niro on the set of Taxi Driver (1976).
Christopher Walken, Robert De Niro, Chuck Aspergen, John Savage and John Cazale in The Deer Hunter (1978).
The Rising Star
Posing with an Oscar after his win for Best Male Performance in Raging Bull (1980).
The 1985 sci-fi dystopia thriller Brazil.
As Chicago 1930s gangster Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987).
Penny Marshall directed the film Awakenings (1990), starring Robin Williams and a catatonic De Niro. Just before this film came the infamous mob flick, Goodfellas.
Another Scorsese film was a Cape Fear remake in 1991; here De Niro poses alongside the original 1961 bad guy, Robert Mitchum who also had a bit role in the 1991 version.
This Boys Life (1994) starred De Niro with a young Leonardo Di Caprio. Impressed by his talent, he was who made pal Martin Scorsese aware of the young star. Leo later starred in many Scorsese films.
Another Scorsese flick, Casino (1995), this time playing the role of a Las Vegas Casino owner and was loosely based on the mob years of Sin City in the 1970s.
Long time pal and fellow actor Joe Pesci out on the town, the two have starred in seven films with each other.
After a long string of hit movies in the 1980s-1990s, he wrapped up the decade with the comedy Analyze This (1999). Starring Billy Crystal who plays a therapist treating De Niro’s role as a mob boss from anxiety. It had a follow up sequel Analyze That (2002).
The Past 20 Years to Now
The new century kicked off with the massive hit comedy, Meet the Parents (2000) with an all star cast that produced two more sequels, Meet the Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers (2010).
Although he had a slew of films throughout the 2000s, it wasn’t until Silver Linings Playbook (2012) with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence that he saw his next Oscar Nomination. Sadly he did not win.
2019 brought him together again with director Martin Scorsese in The Irishman with Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa and pal Joe Pesci. All of them were nominated for Oscars with zero wins.
Robert De Niro gifted a key to the city of NY on June 7, 2023, with Mayor Eric Adams, Martin Scorsese and Jane Rosenthal.
Phew! This has been really hard wrapping up this amazing acting icons career of the past 50 years into what you just read. Many amazing roles were not mentioned along with his stage career or other accolades. For now we will just say “Forget about it” and just leave this here.