Robert De Niro Turns 75! Look at His Wildest Transformations
Happy Birthday, Robert De Niro!
The protégée of Martin Scorsese starred in some of the most acclaimed films of the 20th century, including Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II.
As one of the few actors bestowed with the the Hollywood Foreign Press' Cecil B. DeMille award for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment,” De Niro has undergone some wide-ranging transformations for some of his most admired roles.
Click ahead to see some of the actor’s craziest portrayals.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
Des McAnuff’s The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle saw a disguised De Niro, who co-produced the film, star as the villanous “Fearless Leader” in the live action adaptation of the television cartoon. De Niro, who dons an iconic evil monocle and sleek back hair, plays the arch-nemesis of the two titular characters, alongside Rene Russo and Jason Alexander.
The King of Comedy (1982)
As the mentally deranged stand-up comic in Scorsese’s 1982 satire, The King of Comedy, De Niro’s outrageous wardrobe and old-Hollywood demeanor turned his character into an iconic farce. Making it into the American Film Institute’s top ten movies of the 80s, De Niro’s Rupert Pumpkin even lent inspiration to Foxcatcher’s sociopathic character, John E. du Pont.
Shark Tale (2004)
De Niro voiced the character of the great white shark Don Edward Lino in DreamWorks’ Shark Tale (2004) — a father hoping to pass on his criminal mob business to his two younger sons. Though James Gandolfini was originally set to star in the role, De Niro’s track record made him the next obvious choice.
Raging Bull (1980)
Portraying former boxing champion Jake LaMotta, De Niro trained with the athlete himself for months leading up to Scorsese’s 1980 biographical Raging Bull, shot in black and white. With many considering the film Scorsese’s ultimate masterpiece—the first to ever be preserved into the National Film Registry in 1990— it won De Niro his second Oscar for Best Actor.
Cape Fear (1991)
Scorsese’s 1991 remake of the 60s psychological thriller starred a younger, buffed-up and tattooed De Niro as Max Cady, the violent rapist who after 14 years of imprisonment seeks revenge against his prior lawyer, played by Nick Nolte. The Intern star received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for what was then his seventh collaboration with Scorsese.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Slowly descending into madness, De Niro’s ex-veteran-turned-cab-driver character, Travis Bickle, goes on to shave his head as he plots to assassinate a presidential candidate in Scorsese’s 1976 Taxi Driver. Receiving four Academy Awards including Best Picture, the film was selected to be preserved by the US Library of Congress in 1994.