Robert De Niro, confident in his acting skills, left school at age sixteen to study with Stella Adler. Robert was born in 1943 in New York City, and his love for theater was never a secret. With both of his parents being respected artists who met at Hans Hoffman’s famous painting classes, the arts ran in his family.
Thankfully for Robert’s fans, his parents supported him in his endeavors and he left school early in 1959 to study and pursue his career as a professional actor. It wasn’t long before Robert began building a reputation as he started working with many acclaimed directors, like Elia Kazan, Brian DePalma, and most importantly to his career, Martin Scorsese.
De Niro’s part in the second installment of The Godfather series in the 1970s earned him his very first Academy Award. It wasn’t long after that De Niro’s career began to pick up, and he soon got the parts in many other films, such as The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull, which put him in the place to win multiple other awards for his skills.
The 80s and 90s saw more success for Robert as he participated in productions like the Goodfellas and Analyze This. More recently, Robert got even more attention for his work on the 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook.
Robert’s mother, Virginal Admiral, made a name for herself during the 1940s and 50s art scene in New York. As a highly talented painter, Virginia graduated from Berkeley and later met Robert’s father at an acclaimed art class. Robert De Niro Senior was also a gifted artist who focused on sculpting and poetry. Known as the “golden couple” during that time, they ended up splitting ways in the mid-1940s when Robert junior was about two years old.
Robert grew up without much of a father figure as his dad spent most of his time focused on art. His mother raised him while keeping up with her art skills and getting a job at a local printing company in order to support him.
But, Robert’s history didn’t fault him, and he was always said to be an energetic and happy child. When he got the chance to spend time with his father, he loved watching movies with him, and recalls being fixated by the Swedish actress Greta Garbo.
His mother had a part-time job working as a typist and copyeditor at Maria Picator’s Dramatic Workshop, and as part of the benefits she got to take Robert to acting classes for free. These early experiences and lessons has often been credited as the reason behind De Niro’s love for acting and his obvious talent and skill.
When he was only ten years old, Robert officially started his acting career when he appeared as the Cowardly Lion during a production of The Wizard of Oz. It wasn’t long after that Robert got a prestigious invitation into the High School of Music and Art, which specialized in visual and performance arts, but Robert didn’t stay for long.
After only a few days, the atmosphere overwhelmed young Robert. He recalls that it was very competitive and simply unpleasant, so he dropped out after only a few days and attended public school instead.
Robert was enrolled into Public School #41in Greenwich Village, but even though the atmosphere was much better suited for learning, Robert soon discovered he was simply uninterested in school altogether. His parents, who recognized his talent and interest for acting early on, allowed him to drop out of school at sixteen to take acting classes.
During his ventures among the crowd though, teenaged Robert joined an Italian street game where he got the nickname “Bobby Milk” which referenced his pale skin. While Robert has often joked about how tame the gang was and how he was a very modest troublemaker, the experience later would help him play a mobster in The Godfather, the movie that many believe officially launched his career.
Robert is without a doubt one of the most skilled actors today, and his multiple awards and nominations prove it. De Niro has gained a large following and it seems he has yet to star in a flunk. His early exposure to acting and other arts is likely what fuels his seemingly natural ability to act, both on-stage and on-screen.
Robert currently has multiple films in pre and post-production set to be released throughout 2015 and 2016. And with his fans confident in his skills, there’s no doubt that they will be a success.