Robert De Niro (born August 17, 1943) is an American actor and producer who has starred in over 90 films. His first major film roles were in the sports drama Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) and Martin Scorsese's crime film Mean Streets (1973). In 1974, after being turned down for the role of Sonny Corleone in the crime film The Godfather (1972), he was cast as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974), a role for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
longtime collaboration with Scorsese later earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. He also earned nominations for the psychological thrillers Taxi Driver (1976) and Cape Fear (1991), both directed by Scorsese. De Niro received additional Academy Award nominations for Michael Cimino's Vietnam war drama The Deer Hunter (1978), Penny Marshall's drama Awakenings (1990), and David O. Russell's romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
Praised for his commitment to roles, stemming from his background in method acting, De Niro gained 60 lb (27 kg) and learned how to box for his role as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, ground his teeth for Cape Fear, lived in Sicily for The Godfather Part II, worked as a cab driver for a few weeks for Taxi Driver, and learned to play the saxophone for New York, New York. He again put on weight for his performance as Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987).
De Niro's brand of method acting includes employing whatever extreme tactic he feels is necessary to elicit the best performance from those with whom he is working. During the filming of The King of Comedy, he directed a slew of anti-Semitic epithets at co-star Jerry Lewis to enhance and authenticate the anger demonstrated by Lewis' character. According to People magazine, the technique was successful, with Lewis recalling: "I forgot the cameras were there... I was going for Bobby's throat."