THE MAN OF A THOUSAND ROLES
For many film buffs, Robert de Niro is the best actor of all time. The man of a thousand roles, capable of transforming himself into the character that his part demands. A multifaceted, self-made actor, who has managed to turn cinema into an artform, while never forgetting to contemplate life with a genuine entrepreneurial passion.
His real name is Robert Anthony de Niro Jr., although he is known as Robert de Niro. Actor, producer and entrepreneur by profession. It is impossible to hear his name without recalling a filmography that has led him to be considered one of the best actors of all time.
To get to know Robert de Niro’s background, we must go back in time to the chance encounter of his parents, Virginia Holton and Robert de Niro, in a painting lesson. Virginia, a painter and poet, of English, German, French and Dutch descent. Robert, an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor, of Italian and Irish ancestry. In a house overflowing with art, in the New York neighbourhood of Little Italy, Robert de Niro was born and grew up. Remembered by his classmates as a shy boy with very fair skin, Robert de Niro has maintained an unwavering friendship with some of those childhood pals over the years. To help him overcome his shyness, his parents decide to sign him up for drama classes. His debut on the stage is at the age of ten, playing the part of the lion in The Wizard of Oz. It was the awakening of a passion that led him to leave high school at the age of 16 to try to become an actor. In this endeavour, Robert de Niro enrolls in the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and later in the Actors Studio, directed by Lee Strasberg. The die had been cast.
CONSOLIDATION AS AN ACTOR
Robert de Niro’s film career begins in 1963, when he is 20 years old. His first appearance in the cinema is with the director, Brian de Palma, who gives him a role in the film The Wedding Party. It marks the beginning of a friendship that leads him to meet different film directors, including Martin Scorsese, with whom he instantly hits it off.
Some of the best-known films in Robert de Niro’s career would be with Scorsese. Taxi Driver (1976), set in New York in the 70s, acquires cult status with its mythical quote “You talkin’ to me?”, and is considered one of the best in the history of cinema. A year later, de Niro stars in Scorsese’s New York, New York, and later in Raging Bull, Cape Fear and Casino. One of Robert de Niro’s specialities is playing tough, problematic, emotionally unstable characters, sometimes actual sociopaths, although the actor has participated in films of all kinds of genres, including comedies. In order to always ensure an outstanding performance, De Niro spares no efforts or resources, carrying out rigorous studies of the physical and psychological traits of each role to later be able to get into character.
Some of his best-known
films would be with Scorsese.
In 1974, de Niro spends four months in Sicily learning to speak a Sicilian dialect, so as to give a credible performance as Don Vito Corleone, in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather II, thus landing one of the best-known roles of his career, which earns him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Three years later, he learns to play the saxophone for New York, New York. And in Raging Bull (1980), the actor gains 27 kilos and learns to box in order to become Jake LaMotta.
His extraordinary characterisation and portrayal of the character, considered one of the greatest of all time, earns him an Oscar for Best Actor. In the 90s, at the peak of his his film career, de Niro continues starring in successful films, such as Heat (1995), with Al Pacino. In 2004, he reaches another professional milestone, by voicing the character of “Don Lino”, the villain of the animated film Shark Tale. And in his role as a producer, the staging of the musical We Will Rock You, a collection of Queen’s greatest hits, is notable. In recent years, de Niro has starred in other films, such as Freelancers, The Big Wedding or The Bag Man. His latest film is The Irishman, by Martin Scorsese, in which they work together again twenty years after their previous collaboration.
In The Irishman, Scorsese tells the life story of a legendary hitman of the American mafia. Produced by Netflix, the film cost 150 million euros, it is the longest film-making process of Scorsese’s career, and with its 209 minutes, the longest film he has directed. After its world premiere in New York in late September, the film has arrived in Europe with its screening at the London Film Festival. Critics have unanimously highlighted the performance of Robert de Niro and the subject matter of the film, which has already been described as a “masterpiece” by such renowned critics as Slash Film’s Chris Evangelista.
A PRIVATE LIFE FAR FROM THE LIMELIGHT
In contrast to his work as an actor, very little is known about Robert de Niro’s private life. Perhaps due to his natural shyness, he has preferred to steer clear of the limelight unless it focused on his professional life. In 1976, he married Diahnne Abbott, with whom he had two children.
After their divorce, he became the father of twins with the model, Toukie Smith, and he had two more children during his marriage to the actress, Grace Hightower. After overcoming cancer, in 2016 Robert de Niro reveals to the press that his son Elliot, born in 1998, has autism. Despite requesting respect for his personal life, the actor decides to make it public to promote research into the disorder and to help other people with the same condition.
NOBU HOTEL MARBELLA
The inauguration of Nobu Hotel Marbella in Puente Romano was attended by Robert de Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and it exceeded all expectations. When the evening fell there was a big celebration, with music and cocktails, later giving way to the Sake Ceremony, a Japanese tradition performed by the owners of the chain at the inaugurations of the establishments.
After the inaugural tape was cut, an exquisite dinner was served. The actor praised the local products, such as the seafood and fish, as well as the Mediterranean culture which is so present in Marbella. “It’s a pleasure to have a Nobu Hotel in Marbella because I love coming to Spain,” the actor commented to the guests throughout the night.
The latest hotel to be opened in Spain is Nobu Barcelona, arriving after those in Marbella and Ibiza. In all of them you can enjoy minimalist Japanese luxury which, together with the local nuances, define a unique sensory experience, and transform the Nobu hotels into a temple of glamour and good taste. As a world-famous artist, de Niro continues to provide creative leadership to the Nobu brand, which has become one of the main objectives in his entrepreneurial activity.
“It’s a pleasure to have a Nobu hotel in
Marbella, because I love coming to Spain”.
ROBERT DE NIRO AND MARBELLA
A versatile man like no other, de Niro has not only focused his career on the world of cinema. In the late 80s, the actor starts investing in the New York neighbourhood of Tribeca, co-founding the film studio, TriBeCa Productions, and organising the TriBeCa Film Festival.
In the late 1980s, the actor makes his first visit to Nobu Matsuhisa’s sushi restaurant in Los Angeles, and falls in love with his revolutionary, innovative proposal of Japanese cuisine. It would take four years to convince Matsuhisa to take the brand to Tribeca, but he finally succeeds. With a space designed by David Rockwell, the brand is gaining popularity, exporting the concept to hotels and restaurants around the world, with three partners: Nobu Matsuhisa, Meir Teper and Robert de Niro.
In 2009, the shareholders approached Trevor Horwell and Struan McKenzie, who were entrusted with leading the strategic focus in growing Nobu Hotels, whose mission is to deliver memorable experiences by redefining luxury based on hospitality and unbeatable service. With an internationally consolidated model, each Nobu hotel reflects the idiosyncrasies of the place it is in, always with the highest standards of excellence and warmth. Values always endorsed by Robert de Niro, the best ambassador of a truly innovative brand in this new concept of luxury, which came to Marbella in 2018.