Dad, I really want to become an actor, but if this is what it's all about, I don't want to do it.
Few stars can match the diversity of Leonardo DiCaprio. Starting from the youthful TV shows to achieving superstar status, he is in a place only a few actors in Hollywood can claim to be. Best of all he is part of a few young stars who have successfully steered their way out of the pop bubble and into serious roles earning him accolades from critics and fans alike.
Leo is the only child of a comic book distributor, George DiCaprio and a legal secretary, Irmelin Indenbirken. He was born on November 11, 1974. His first name was taken from the artist Leonardo da Vinci after her pregnant mother first felt his kick while in front of a painting of the famous artist. His childhood was characterized by living in various neighborhoods with his mother and having to be visited by his father (at the time his parents were divorced).
He started his interest in acting when his stepbrother started being seen in television commercials. At the age of twelve he already set out too finding agents but were most of times turned down.
He got his first role in the TV movie Parenthood. It was also in this movie production that he met his best friend Tobey Maguire. He would later take on various roles on other TV shows. One notable movie he had done at that time was This Boy's Life, which starred Robert de Niro. It was considered a breakthrough performance for the young actor and would be followed by What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
His role opposite Claire Danes in the revisiting of Romeo + Juliet gave him a lot of young fans but his next movie earned him the status that he is enjoying now. James Cameron's Titanic was an ambitious film in all aspects. The recreation of the events surrounding of the demise the ship was told in the perspective of two fictional lovers Jack Dawson (played by Leo) and Rose (Kate Winslet). The tragedy of the ship and the love story propelled the film to become the highest grossing movie in the world and launched Leonardo as a young superstar.
He then decided to work with seasoned directors to move away from superstar image. He has worked with Steven Spielberg with Catch Me If You Can. He has also worked with Martin Scorsese with a lot of projects. First he played an avenging son in the period film Gangs of New York. They would then team up again on another period flick, The Aviator. In the movie he portrays the Multi-Millionaire Howard Hughes. His portrayal of the eccentricities of the aviation magnate earned him a Best Actor nomination in the Oscars.
In 2006, Leo would appear in two movies where he would play roles of characters with questionable allegiance. First Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Here Leonardo plays an undercover cop sent to observe a Boston mob boss (Jack Nicholson) while hiding his identity from a mole posing as a cop (Matt Damon). This film earned Scorsese his first Oscar for Best Directing.
Leo's next movie in 2006 beat his role in The Departed to a nomination in the Oscars. In Blood Diamond he plays a South African trying to smuggle diamond out the country. This was also the two roles that earned a double nomination in the Golden Globe Awards. This is testament of how Leonardo DiCaprio has changed himself from an actor to a star.