Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio, whose full name is Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio, was born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles, California, United States. He is an American actor and producer known for his distinctive and nuanced depictions of characters.

Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

At the age of five, DiCaprio made his acting debut on the children’s television program Romper Room. As a teenager, he appeared in a large number of commercials and instructional movies. He started making appearances on several television programs in 1990, including Roseanne and The New Lassie, and in 1991 he was chosen for a recurrent part on Growing Pains. In the same year, DiCaprio made his big-screen debut in the low-budget horror movie Critters 3.

In 1992, DiCaprio made a name for himself by beating out 400 other contenders to play Robert De Niro’s opposite in This Boy’s Life (1993). After receiving positive reviews for his subsequent movie, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), DiCaprio was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his convincing portrayal of a teen with an intellectual handicap. The Basketball Diaries (1995) and Total Eclipse (1995), which centered on poet Arthur Rimbaud’s homosexual romance with Paul Verlaine, were two independent films that came after.

With more mainstream films, DiCaprio started to draw in a larger audience in the middle of the 1990’s. After acting alongside Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, a timeless love story, he rose to teen heartthrob status. With the release of James Cameron’s epic Titanic in 1997, Leonardo DiCaprio became an international celebrity. His appealing appearance and moving depiction of Jack Dawson, a destitute artist who falls in love with an upper-class passenger (played by Kate Winslet), contributed to Titanic becoming one of the most financially successful films ever. Despite receiving numerous offers to play in blockbusters and other popular films, DiCaprio chose to focus on parts that presented the nuanced characters that had come to characterize his career.

He starred in The Beach, a gritty movie from 2000 about a young traveller looking for paradise. Two years later, he made an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s period piece Gangs of New York, which is about gangsters in mid-1800’s New York City. In Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can that same year, he also played the real-life con man Frank Abagnale, Jr., opposite Tom Hanks. In The Aviator (2004), DiCaprio collaborated once more with Scorsese and played a teenage Howard Hughes. For this role, he was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor.

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