The Hollywood legend: Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is an American actor whose portrayal of doomed suitor Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997) made him a generation’s definition of a heartthrob. Throughout his career, DiCaprio has demonstrated a high level of dramatic versatility, from his breakout film role as a mentally-challenged teenager in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), through his work with Martin Scorsese in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006). More recently, DiCaprio earned critical notice for his starring roles in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) and J. Edgar (2011), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.
Born in 11 November, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, DiCaprio is the only child of Irmelin (Indenbirken) and former comic book artist George DiCaprio. His father is of Italian and German descent, and his mother, who is German-born, is of German and Russian ancestry. His parents signed him with a talent agent when he was a child, and DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational shows. Although the budding actor had small roles in such TV series as Roseanne (1988) and The New Lassie (1989), DiCaprio’s made his film debut in Critters 3 (1991), a low-budget horror movie.
In 1992, DiCaprio joined what became the final season of Growing Pains (1985), playing a homeless boy who was invited to move in with the Seavers. The sitcom’s cancellation coincided with an upswing in his career, including the starring role in the film adaptation of Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries (1995) and his heightened portrayal of Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996). Although DiCaprio’s Romeo raised his profile with audiences, his turn in the box office record-breaking Titanic (1997) graduated the actor to A-list status.
The majority of DiCaprio’s post-Titanic career demonstrates a high level of selectivity in his choices. In addition to numerous collaborations with Scorsese, DiCaprio has also starred in films directed by Steven Spielberg (Catch Me If You Can (2002)), Ridley Scott (Body of Lies (2008)), and Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road (2008)), in roles that encompass a wide emotional and dramatic range. This continues to be the case, evident in his upcoming film appearances as a mustache-twirling villain in Django Unchained (2012), soon to be followed by his performance as tragic literary character Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013).
DiCaprio is passionate about environmental and humanitarian causes, having donated $1,000,000 to earthquake relief efforts in 2010, the same year he contributed $1,000,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Society.