Top 10 Robert DeNiro Moments

Top 10 Robert DeNiro Moments

De Niro was born in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, New York, the son of Virginia Admiral, a painter and poet, and Robert De Niro, Sr., an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor. His father was of half Italian and half Irish descent, while his mother was of Dutch, English, French, German, and Irish ancestry. His Italian great-grandparents, Giovanni De Niro and Angelina Mercurio, emigrated from Ferrazzano, Molise; his paternal grandmother, Helen O’Reilly, was the granddaughter of Irish immigrants.

De Niro’s parents, who had met at the painting classes of Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts, divorced when he was three years old. He was raised by his mother in the Greenwich Village and Little Italy areas of Manhattan. His father lived within walking distance and De Niro spent much time with him as he grew up. De Niro attended PS 41, a public elementary school in Manhattan, through the sixth grade. He then went to Elisabeth Irwin High School, the private upper school of the Little Red School House, for the seventh and eighth grades. He was accepted into the High School of Music and Art for the ninth grade, but only attended for a short time before transferring to a public junior high school.

De Niro began high school at the private McBurney School and later attended the private Rhodes Preparatory School, although he never graduated from either. Nicknamed “Bobby Milk” for his pallor, De Niro hung out with a group of street kids as a youth in Little Italy, some of whom have remained his lifelong friends.  The direction of his future had already been foreshadowed by his stage debut at age 10, when he played the Cowardly Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz.  Along with finding relief from shyness through performing, he was also fixated by cinema, and he dropped out of high school at age 16 to pursue acting.  He studied acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory, as well as Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio.

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