Buon compleanno, Robert De Niro!
The extraordinary actor is turning 71 today.
De Niro was born in Greenwich Village, New York, the son of Virginia Admiral, a painter and poet, and Robert De Niro, Sr., a painter and sculptor. His father was of Italian and Irish descent. Despite being a mix of ethnicities, including German, Dutch and Irish, De Niro has stated he identifies more with his Italian side. His paternal great-grandparents, Giovanni De Niro and Angelina Mercurio, emigrated from Ferrazzano, Molise to the United States in 1887. De Niro grew up in New York's Little Italy and the Greenwich Village.
De Niro was nominated for an Oscar several times. He won his first in 1974 for his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, and his second Oscar win was in 1980 for Raging Bull.
He is thought of as one of the greatest actors alive.
Watch De Niro receive the Cecil B. De Mille Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2011 Golden Globes ceremony: