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Biography for Al Pacino

Birth name

Alfredo James Pacino




5' 7" (1.70 m)

Mini biography

One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 70s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies. Born on April 25th, 1940 in the South Bronx, New York, Pacino's parents (Salvatore and Rose) divorced when he was young. His mother moved them into his grandparents' house. Pacino found himself often repeating the plots and voices of characters who he had seen in the movies, one of his favorite activities. Bored and unmotivated in school, the young Al Pacino found a haven in school plays, and his interest soon blossomed into a full-time career. Starting on the stage, Pacino went through a lengthy period of depression and poverty, sometimes having to borrow bus fare to make it to auditions. He made it into the prestigious Actors Studio in 1966, studying under the legendary acting coach , creator of the Method Approach that would become the trademark of many 70s era actors. Making appearances in various plays, Pacino finally hit it big with "The Indian Wants the Bronx", winning an Obie for the 1966-67 season. Gaining notoriety on the theater scene, Pacino then won the Tony for "Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie?". His first feature films made little departure from the gritty realistic stage performances that earned him respect: he played a junkie in (1971) after his film in (1969). What came next would change his life forever. The part of Michael Corleone in (1972) was one of the most sought- after roles in film history. , , , , , and a host of others were bandied about for the role, but director had his heart set on the unknown Italian Pacino. From the studio, to the producers, to the cast on down, nobody else wanted Al Pacino. Though Coppola won out through slick persuasion, Pacino was in constant fear of being fired and replaced at any minute during the hellish shoot. But the role was a career- making hit, and earned him his first Academy nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Instead of taking on easier projects for money, Pacino threw his support behind tough important films, such as the true life crime drama (1973) and the tragic real life bank robbery film (1975). Pacino opened eyes around the film world for his brave choice of roles; and he was nominated three consecutive years for the "Best Actor" Academy . He faltered slightly with (1977), but regained his stride with the law film (1979), for which he received another Academy nomination for Best Actor. This would unfortunately signal one of the only bad points in his career, one that produced the flops (1980) and (1982). He took on another vicious gangster role and cemented his legendary status in the ultra-violent (1983), but a monumental mistake was about to follow. (1985) endured an endless and seemingly cursed shoot in which equipment was destroyed, weather was terrible, and Pacino became terribly ill with pneumonia. Constant changes in the script also further derailed an already terrible project. The Revolutionary War film is considered one of the worst films ever, gained Pacino his first truly awful reviews, and kept him out of movies for the next four years. Returning to the stage, Pacino has done much to give back and contribute to the theatre, which he considers his first love. He directed a film _Local Stigmatic, The (1989)_ but it remains unreleased to the public. His self-imposed exile lifted, he returned in striking form in (1989) as a hard-drinking cop. The film marks the second phase of Pacino's career, the first film to feature his now famous dark, owl eyes and hoarse, gravelly voice. Making a return to the Corleones, he made (1990), and earned raves for his first comedic role in the colorful (1990). This earned him another Academy nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and, two years later, he was nominated for (1992). He went into romantic mode for (1991). In 1992, he finally won the Academy for Best Actor for his amazing performance in (1992). A mix of technical perfection (he plays a blind man) and charisma, the role was tailor-made for him, and remains a classic. The next few years would see Pacino becoming more comfortable with acting and movies as a business, turning out great roles in great films with more frequency and less of the demanding personal involvement of his wilder days. (1993) proved another gangster classic, as did the epic crime drama (1995) directed by . He returned to the director's chair for the highly acclaimed and quirky Shakespeare adaptation (1996). (1996), (1997), and (1997) all came out in this period. Reteaming with Mann and then , he gave two commanding performances in (1999) and (1999). In his personal life, Pacino is one of Hollywood's most enduring and notorious bachelors, having never been married. He has a daughter, Julie Marie, with acting teacher Jan Tarrant, and a new set of twins with long-time girlfriend . His romantic history includes a long-time romance with Godfather co-star . With his intense and gritty performances, Pacino was an original in the acting profession. His Method approach would become the process of many actors throughout time, and his unbeatable number of classic roles has already made him a legend among film buffs and all aspiring actors and directors. His commitment to acting as a profession and his constant screen dominance has established him as one of movies' legends.

Trade mark

Volcanic tirade, smoke-burnished voice.

Frequently plays men of power and/or authority.


Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [16 October 1997]

Ranked #4 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Was arrested in January 1961, charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

Son of Salvatore Pacino (insurance agent) and Rose Pacino (she died when Al was 22).

He has a daughter, named Julie Marie, with acting teacher Jan Tarrant.

Dropped out of school at the age of 17.

Turned down (1979).

Turned down (1989).

Turned down (1979).

Turned down the role of Han Solo in (1977).

Turned down (1990).

Turned down (1995).

Originally asked for $7 million for (1990), a figure that so enraged director that he threatened to write a new script that opened with Michael Corleone's funeral. Pacino settled for $5 million.

Father of twins Anton and Olivia, with .

His grandparents originate from Corleone, Sicily.

Was frequently refered to as "that midget Pacino" by producers of (1972) who didn't want him for the part of Michael Corleone.

asked Pacino to play Captain Willard in his film (1979). Pacino politely turned down the offer, saying he'd "do anything" for Francis but he "woudn't go to war with him!"

Stopped a 2-pack-a-day smoking habit in 1994 to protect his voice. He now only occasionally smokes herbal cigarettes.

Al was so much into character (playing a plain-clothes NYC cop) while filming (1973) he actually pulled over and threatened to arrest a truck driver for exhaust pollution.

Is an avid fan of opera.

Once worked as an usher at Carnegie Hall.

considers Pacino's appearance on his show (1985) in November 1996 as one of his personal all-time favorite interviews.

As of 2002, his salary was around $10 million a picture.

One of the few Hollywood stars who has never married.

Despite the fact that he starred in "The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui" for Off- Broadway scale pay (the minimum salary allowed by Actor's Equity), the production had the highest ticket price in Off-Broadway history at $100 per ticket.

He is one of the elite nine thespians to have been nominated for both a Supporting and Lead Acting Academy Award in the same year. The other seven are , , , , , , and . Pacino was the first male actor to have ever been nominated for both a Best Supporting Actor and a Best Actor Oscar in the same year, the second is actor , who was nominated for Best Actor and Best supporting Actor in 2005. I wanted to add Barry Fitzgerald to the list of actors who were nominated for Best and Supporting Actor in the same year. He is the only actor ever nominated for both categories for the same movie, Going My Way in which he won for Supporting Actor. That was the last time it happened because the Academy changed the rules after that.

Won two Tony Awards: in 1969 as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?" and in 1977 as Best. Actor (Play) for "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel."

Won his first Oscar twenty-one years after his first nomination.

He and improvised their scene on the phone in the film (1975).

Studied acting under .

He is an avid Shakespeare fan.

Was voted the Number 1 greatest movie star of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll.

For a short while, he was the only actor to be in the #1 Best and Worst Movie on IMDb: (1972) and (2003).

In a "Playboy magazine interview, he claimed that he was fired from his job as a movie theater usher while walking down the staircase and admiring himself in the mirrored wall.

He was voted the 41st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Portrayed crime bosses in The Godfather Trilogy, (1983) and (1990).

In 2004 he became the eighteenth performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting. Oscar: Best Actor, (1992); Tonys: Best Supporting Actor-Play "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?: (1969) and Best Actor-Play "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel" (1977); and Emmy: Best Actor-Miniseries/Movie, (2003) (mini).

Read for 's part in (1995). Source: Director , "Pursuing The Usual Suspects" documentary from UK DVD.

Pacino was rejected repeatedly by studio heads while auditioning for the role of Michael in (1972) but fought for him. This film was shot briskly because both the director and the leading actor were in constant fear of being fired. Ironically, the film turned out to be a breakthrough for both.

He is the stepson of actress and make-up artist .

He has four sisters: Josette, a teacher, twins Roberta and Paula, and a younger sister named Desiree, whom Pacino's father adopted whilst married to his fourth wife.

Was a longtime member of David Wheeler's Theatre Company of Boston, for which he performed in "Richard III" in Boston from Dec 1972 to Jan 1973 and at the Cort Theater in New York City from June 10 to July 15, 1979. He also appeared in their productions of Bertolt Brecht's "Aurturo Ui" at the Charles Theater in Boston in 1975 and later in New York and London, and in David Rabe's "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel at the Longacre Theater in New York in 1977, for which Pacino won a Tony Award. Wheeler also directed Pacino in Heathcote Williams' "The Local Stigmatic" for Joe Papp's Public Theater in New York City in 1976. Pacino appeared in a 1989 film of "Stigmatic" directed by Wheeler that was presented at the Cinйmathиque in Los Angeles.

Was the recipient of the 2001 Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field".

Won the Best Actor Obie (awarded for the best Off-Broadway performances) for "The Indian Wants The Bronx" in 1968. Was also nominated for a Best Actor Obie for "Why Is A Crooked Letter" in 1966.

His performance in the Broadway play "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?" won him a Tony Award for Best Dramatic Supporting Actor, and a Drama Desk Award and Theatre World Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1969.

Turned down the lead role of Roy Neary in (1977)

While Paramount brass dithered over whether to cast him as Michael Corleone, the role that would make him a star, a frustrated Pacino signed up for the role of Mario Trantino in _The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971)_ . When Paramount finally decided to offer him the role in (1972), they had to buy him out of his contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ironically, the role went to , whom (1974) would make a star.

His favorite actress is .

He and are the only two actors to be nominated for an Academy Award for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in the same year. Pacino in 1993 for (1992) and (1992) / Foxx in 2005 for (2004/I) and (2004). Both men won the Best Actor award, and they both played blind men in their roles: Pacino as Frank Slade and Foxx as .

He was voted the 37th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.

Grew up in the South Bronx, New York City

Attended The High School of the Performing Arts until he dropped out.

Was 's original pick for (1976) but producer insisted that Schlesinger cast instead.

Has a production company called Chal Productions. The "Ch" is in tribute while the "Al" is for himself.

Worked in the mail room of Commentary magazine.

Shares a birthday with , his co-star in The Godfather films.

His favorite color is black

Breifly worked as a stand-up comic early in his career

Early in his acting career, he considered changing his name to "Sonny Scott" to avoid being typecast by his Italian name. "Sonny" was his childhood nickname.

Alec Baldwin, who costarred with Pacino in "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "Looking for Richard", wrote a 65 page final thesis on Al Pacino and method acting for his degree at NYU.

Was friends with since they were teenagers. They starred together in (1975), (1974) and (1972)

He is only one of four actors to be nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate films. He was nominated as for (1972) and (1974). The others are as Fast Eddie Felson in (1961) and (1986), as Father O'Malley in (1944) and (1945), and as Henry II in (1964) and (1968).

Is one of two actors (along with ) to be nominated for Academy Awards for portraying the same person in two different movies. He portrayed Michale Corleone in (1972) and (1974).

During the making of "The Recruit" he met and became close friends with Colin Farrell. He went on to call Farrell the most talented actor of his generation.

Suffers from chronic insomnia.

Personal quotes

"The problem with me is, I guess, the way I express myself, you have to be with me 50 years before you can get a sense of what I'm talking about."

"I can't say I've been sober though. I don't like that word. What does it mean? 'Sober! He's very sober'."

"There are times when I have a temperament. Yes, my temperament is there ... but I hope I'm gentle. Yes, I think I am."

"When I try to explain anything I always end up trying to be right usually, but not truthful necessarily. Trying to give the right answer or what I think is the right answer. It's a human instinct. You try to be as clever as you can be. You're trying to come off like you really know what the hell's going on, when you don't!"

"I'm single and I don't particularly like it. I'm certainly the kind of person who prefers ... it ... it ... It's good to have someone in your life that you're going through this thing with. It's good. That's a thing in life that I aspire to."

"I like what said about alcohol: 'Drink has killed a lot of my brain cells and I think I would have been a better writer without it, but it would be one less way to relax.'"

"Did you know I started out as a stand-up comic? People don't believe me when I tell them."

"In the end you're just playing a role." [on whether acting and his roles reflected who he is]

"I'll tell you something. And this is a fact. When I was doing 'Scarface', I remember being in love at that time. One of the few times in my life. And I was so glad it was at that time. I would come home and she would tell me about her life that day and all her problems and I remember saying to her, look, you really got me through this picture because I would shed everything when I came home."

"That's right! That's right! We know the best feeling in the world is the one between the second and third martini. That was my deal. I just enjoyed who I became when I was drinking, so that was something hard to break. I became much quieter, and funny. I must say, that kind of thing came out."

"I hope the perception is that I'm an actor, I never intended to be a movie star."

"I'm constantly striving to break through to something new. You try to maintain a neutral approach to your work, and not be too hard on yourself."

"I guess you find yourself repeating certain motifs. But at the heart of it all, I'm an actor, always looking for a role. And then you try to make things fresh."

"People always said that time, the '70s, was about pretty boys, and then I came along!"

"One hopes to find out about the [movie] you're in while you're doing it, not several years later, which is usually when I find out. I'm like, 'Wow, that was a dud! I didn't know, nobody would tell me!' I've done things for certain reasons, but it [comes from] thinking on your feet... Sometimes actors do things not because we have a great desire [for it], but because it's work, and I'm starting to wonder about that."

"But I was just lucky. People like Coppola were making films, and I got opportunities."

"I couldn't exist just doing films. But on the other hand, there is the fame that comes with it, and the money. My problem is I still want to play Hamlet in some little theater somewhere, and time is running out." -- quoted by Robert Osbourne in "Academy s 1974 Oscar Annual"

"As an old village poet put it to me in the 1960s. [If you dig it, it's yours]. I dug back then. I dig him now because what he had to give, I took and made it mine. I'm forever grateful along with all the other actors and writers who have benefited from Sidney's genius". Presenting the Lifetime of Achievement to director at the 2005 Academy s.

"We know each other's minds. We have shared some things that are personal to us, such as our roles. I know Bobby through his roles. But, then, I don't think we actually talked about the actual work of actors." - on his friend and (1995) co-star

"I remember seeing things that Bob had done in the past, and very recent times, and have been taken with the work so much that I even wrote [him] about it. Some of his great work -- which is plenty -- I was staggered by the subtlety of his portrayal and the warmth, which is what we often talk about with Bob among us actors who admire him so. It is the warmth and the way he approaches things." - on his friend and (1995) co-star

"Gene and I are two people not very similar. We had to play a very close relationship, but I just didn't think we were as connected as we should have been. We seemed apart. We didn't have altercations, we didn't hate each other. But we didn't communicate, didn't think in the same terms. Gene and I were thrown together, but under ordinary circumstances we'd never cavort or be friends. It was two worlds - but I have to say that I was as much responsible as he was." - on doing (1973) with

"The challenge? It's always a challenge of a sort. It's a challenge to get up and go and leave your family and go out there in all different parts of the world and do a picture and try to make it come alive...You're still challenged for that. I mean, it's the same story. It's just not changed. It seems to be the same thing it always was. It's this effort. If you get excited about a thing then things are generally a little easier. If you get enthusiastic and you want to do something and you feel you are into something then things start to come. But usually to find the enthusiasm and the appetite, that's the challenge." - On whether or not acting is still challenging for him

"'Coffee' is done, I got a couple of little important things to do about it, like little tiny things, and THEN I will unveil it. It's not a movie that you put in a...It needs a certain environment to flourish in. It's just the way it is. It doesn't make it better or worse than the picture. It's just the way it is, the nature of it." - On why his film (2000) has yet to be released

"I've always believed, I always hoped...I don't think I know what I'm saying when I say this, but I was hoping that we could have a museum where we had films. That there was a museum where films were, like, hung. Like paintings. And you went to the museum. I got the movie _Local Stigmatic, The (1989)_ that I made. It's 52 minutes and everybody has seen it now because I've personally got them in to see it, to show it to them and I paid them for it, too. But it's over at the Museum of Modern Art and I love saying...This is really pretentious of me, this is what I really like. I love to say: 'Oh, it's at the Museum of Modern Art. Isn't that great?' 'Have you released it?' 'No, I never did.' I love saying that, you know? 'How come?' 'Because I didn't feel like it.' It's fun to do that."


(2002) | $11,000,000

(2002) | ca. $11,000,000

(1990) | $5,000,000

(1974) | $500,000 and 10% of the gross after break-even

(1972) | $35,000

Where are they now

(April 2003) Starring in "Salome: The Reading" with Marisa Tomei on Broadway

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:

He first galvanized movie audiences as quiet Mafia scion Michael Corleone in Francis Coppola's 1972 (for which he was Oscar-nominated). He returned to the character twice more, playing it in , (1974, nominated again) as a steely, paranoid, implacably heartless don, and then in The Godfather, (1990) as an aging, infirm, and tragic figure. For these three films, if for nothing else, Pacino will always be remembered. Debuting on film in 1969's , (the same year he won a Tony Award for Broadway's "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?"), Pacino brought unique integrity to many roles, from a sexually confused would-be bank robber in (1975) to an incorruptible maverick cop in (1973). He had a way of commanding the screen, whether as a junkie in (1971) or a quiet drifter in (1973). He virtually defined screen intensity, and brought it with him even to projects that were unworthy, like (1977) and a controversial look at the gay netherworld, (1980). He fared better as an idealistic lawyer in (1979, earning another Oscar nomination) and was quite likable in the critically savaged comedy (1982). His explosive performance as Cuban drug kingpin Tony Montana in 's (1983, a latterday cult favorite) was followed by a deadly costume drama, (1985), in which his Colonial Noo Yawk accent prompted widespread derision.

Pacino took a layoff from Hollywood, going back to his first love, the stage, and working for a long time (as both actor and producer) on an independent film adaptation of British playwright Heathcote Williams' His excellent work as a hard-drinking, emotionally disconnected detective in 1989's heralded a triumphant return to the screen, and his hammy, often improvised antics under heavy makeup in Warren Beatty's 1990 revealed a heretofore unseen comedic talent (and netted him a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination). In 1991 he reteamed with costar Michelle Pfeiffer in in his warmest and most appealing screen role in years. The following year he had an unbeatable parlay, as shark-like real estate salesman Ricky Roma in which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, and in a bravura turn as the blind, blustery former lieutenant colonel in which won him a Best

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