Known for his forceful dramatic presentation, Al Pacino is most closely associated with the roles of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972) trilogy, as well as Tony Montana of the legendary gangster film Scarface (1983). But it was his performance as Frank Slade, a blind, retired Lt. Colonel, in Scent of a Woman (1992) that won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1993. This came after seven previous Oscar nominations, including a supporting actor nomination in the same year for Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).
A native of New York's Bronx, Pacino was born on April 25, 1940. In 1966 he enrolled in the Actors Studio to study under Lee Strasberg. Following a period of award-winning successes on the stage, he made his feature film debut in Me, Natalie (1969). But the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972) - Pacino's third film - transformed his career. Director Francis Ford Coppola had his heart set on the unknown Pacino although the studio and producers reportedly didn't want him, and such renowned actors as Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O'Neal and Robert De Niro were said to be contenders for the role. Nevertheless, Pacino's portrayal earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He went on to star in such films as Serpico (1973) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and received three consecutive Academy Award nominations for best actor in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
The second role most associated with Pacino, the vicious Tony Montana, was followed by the forgettable Revolution (1985) and period of self-imposed screen exile that ended in Sea of Love (1989). In the '90s, Pacino's career was resurgent, with roles as varied as The Godfather: Part III (1990), Dick Tracy (1990), and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). Several films that hearkened to Pacino's most iconic roles followed, including Carlito's Way (1993), Heat (1995) and Donnie Brasco (1997), and noteworthy performances in The Insider (1999) and Any Given Sunday (1999).
In the 2000s, Pacino starred in a number of theatrical blockbusters, including _Ocean's Thirteen (2007)_, but his choice in television roles - the vicious Roy Cohn in HBO's miniseries "Angels in America" (2003) and his sensitive portrayal of Jack Kevorkian, in the television movie You Don't Know Jack (2010) (TV) - are reminiscent of the bolder choices of his early career. Each TV project garnered him an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.
Pacino has never abandoned his love for the theater, and Shakespeare in particular, having directed the Shakespeare adaptation Looking for Richard (1996) and played Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (2004). He will portray King Lear in King Lear (????), in addition to playing Phil Spector in a made-for-TV movie.
One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies. Born on April 25, 1940, in the 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 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, he 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 legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, creator of the Method Approach that would become the trademark of many '70s-era actors. After appearing in a string of plays in supporting roles, he finally hit it big with "The Indian Wants the Bronx", winning an Obie award for the 1966-67 season. That was followed by a Tony Award 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 The Panic in Needle Park (1971) after his film debut in Me, Natalie (1969). What came next would change his life forever. The role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972) was one of the most sought-after of the time: Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O'Neal, Robert De Niro and a host of others either wanted it or were mentioned for it, but director Francis Ford Coppola had his heart set on the unknown Italian Pacino for the role, although pretty much everyone else--from the studio to the producers to some of the cast members--didn't want him. Though Coppola won out through slick persuasion, Pacino was in constant fear of being fired during the hellish shoot. Much to his (and Coppola's) relief, the film was a monster hit that did wonders for everyone's career, including Pacino's, and earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Instead of taking on easier projects for the big money he could now command, however, Pacino threw his support behind what he considered tough but important films, such as the true-life crime drama Serpico (1973) and the tragic real-life bank robbery film Dog Day Afternoon (1975). He opened eyes around the film world for his brave choice of roles, and he was nominated three consecutive years for the "Best Actor" Academy Award. He faltered slightly with Bobby Deerfield (1977), but regained his stride with ...And Justice for All. (1979), for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. This would, unfortunately, signal the beginning of a decline in his career, which produced such critical and commercial flops as Cruising (1980) and Author! Author! (1982). He took on another vicious gangster role and cemented his legendary status in the ultra-violent cult hit Scarface (1983), but a monumental mistake was about to follow. Revolution (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 a project that seemed doomed from the start anyway. The Revolutionary War film is considered one of the worst films ever, not to mention one of the worst of his career, resulted in his first truly awful reviews and kept him off the screen 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, The Local Stigmatic (1990), but it remains unreleased. He lifted his self-imposed exile with the striking Sea of Love (1989) as a hard-drinking cop. It marked the second phase of Pacino's career, being the first to feature his now famous dark, owl eyes and hoarse, gravelly voice. Returning to the Corleones, he made The Godfather: Part III (1990) and earned raves for his first comedic role in the colorful Dick Tracy (1990). This earned him another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and two years later he was nominated for Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). He went into romantic mode for Frankie and Johnny (1991). In 1992 he finally won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his amazing performance in Scent of a Woman (1992). A mixture 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. Carlito's Way (1993) proved another gangster classic, as did the epic crime drama Heat (1995) directed by Michael Mann and co-starring Robert De Niro, although they only had a few scenes together. He returned to the director's chair for the highly acclaimed and quirky Shakespeare adaptation Looking for Richard (1996). City Hall (1996), Donnie Brasco (1997) and The Devil's Advocate (1997) all came out in this period. Reteaming with Mann and then Oliver Stone, he gave two commanding performances in The Insider (1999) and Any Given Sunday (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 longtime girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo. His romantic history includes a long-time romance with "Godfather" co-star Diane Keaton. 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 the movies' true legends.IMDb Mini Biography By: Brian Stewart
Volcanic tirade, smoke-burnished voice
Frequently plays men of power and/or authority
Surly but essentially moral characters with deep capacity for violence
Jet black hair
Diminutive frame, off-set by his formidable bearing
October 1997: Ranked #4 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
January 1961: Was arrested, charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
Son of Sal Pacino (insurance agent) and Rose Pacino (she died when Al was 22).
6-months before his 50th birthday, he became a first-time father when daughter Julie Marie (aka Julie Pacino) ((born October 16, 1989)) was born to acting teacher Jan Tarrant.
Dropped out of school at the age of 17.
Turned down the role of Ted Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
Turned down the role of Han Solo in Star Wars (1977).
Originally asked for $7 million for The Godfather: Part III (1990), a figure that so enraged director Francis Ford Coppola that he threatened to write a new script that opened with Michael Corleone's funeral. Pacino settled for $5 million.
At age 61, he became the father of twins Anton and Olivia (b. 25 January 2001), with ex-companion Beverly D'Angelo.
His maternal grandparents originate from Corleone, Sicily. His paternal grandparents originate from San Fratello, Sicily.
Was frequently refered to as "that midget Pacino" by producers of The Godfather (1972) who didn't want him for the part of Michael Corleone.
Francis Ford Coppola asked Pacino to play Captain Willard in his film Apocalypse Now (1979). Pacino politely turned down the offer, saying he'd "do anything" for Francis but he "woudn't go to war with him!"
1994: Stopped a two-pack-a-day smoking habit to protect his voice. In the mid-1980s he had been smoking four packs of cigarettes a day. He now only occasionally smokes herbal cigarettes.
Al was so much into character (playing a plain-clothes NYC cop) while filming Serpico (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.
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 eleven elite thespians to have been nominated for both a Supporting and Lead Acting Academy Award in the same year. The other ten are Barry Fitzgerald Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Emma Thompson, Holly Hunter, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx and Cate Blanchett. Pacino was the second male actor, after Fitzgerald, to have been nominated for both a Best Supporting Actor and a Best Actor Oscar in the same year; the third is Foxx, who was nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in 2005.
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.
Studied acting under his friend Charles Laughton.
He is an avid William Shakespeare fan.
Was voted the Number 1 greatest movie star of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll.
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.
In 2004 he became the 18th performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting. Oscar: Best Actor, Scent of a Woman (1992); Tony: 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, "Angels in America" (2003).
He was rejected repeatedly by studio heads while auditioning for the role of Michael in The Godfather (1972) but Francis Ford Coppola fought for him. This film was shot briskly because both the director and the leading actor were in constant fear of being fired. Ironically, it turned out to be a breakthrough for both.
He is the stepson of actress and make-up artist Katherin Kovin-Pacino.
He has four sisters: Josette, a teacher, twins Roberta Pacino 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 Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York City in 1976. Pacino appeared in a 1989 film of "Stigmatic" (The Local Stigmatic (1990)) directed by Wheeler that was presented at the Cinémathèque in Los Angeles.
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 Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
While Paramount brass dithered over whether to cast him as Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), 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 "The Godfather", it had to buy him out of his contract with MGM. Ironically, the role went to Robert De Niro, whom The Godfather: Part II (1974) would make a star.
His favorite actress is Julie Christie.
He and Jamie Foxx are two out of the only three actors to be nominated for an Academy Award for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in the same year. (Barry Fitzgerald did it first in 1945) Pacino was nominated in 1993 for Scent of a Woman (1992) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) / Foxx in 2005 for Ray (2004/I) and Collateral (2004). Both men won the Best Actor award, and they both played blind men in their roles: Pacino as Frank Slade and Foxx as Ray Charles.
2005: Premiere Magazine ranked him as #37 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature.
Grew up in the South Bronx, New York City
Attended The High School of the Performing Arts until he dropped out.
Has a production company called Chal Productions. The "Ch" is in tribute his friend "Charlie Laughton" (not the actor Charles Laughton) while the "Al" is for himself.
Worked in the mail room of Commentary magazine.
Briefly 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.
He is one of only five actors to be nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate films. He was nominated as for The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974). The others are Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money (1986), Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley in Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), Peter O'Toole as Henry II in Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968) and Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007).
Turned down the role of Richard Sherman for a remake of The Seven Year Itch (1955) which was never filmed.
Turned down role as Michael Corleone in the Godfather videogame.
2006: His performance as Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) is ranked #4 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
2006: His performance as Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part II (1974) is ranked #20 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
His performance as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983) is ranked #74 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
His performance as "Michael Corleone" in The Godfather: Part II (1974) is ranked #11 on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes & Villains.
Was director Bryan Singer's first choice for the role of "Dave Kujan" in The Usual Suspects (1995). Pacino passed on the role and has since stated that that is the role he regrets passing on the most.
10/16/97: Imprinted his hands and signature in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
1970-75: Lived with Jill Clayburgh.
Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger envisioned a cast of Pacino, Julie Christie and Laurence Olivier for Marathon Man (1976). Pacino has said that the only actress he had ever wanted to work with was Christie, who he claimed was "the most poetic of actresses." Producer Robert Evans, who disparaged the vertically challenged Pacino as "The Midget" when Francis Ford Coppola wanted him for The Godfather (1972) and had thought of firing him during the early shooting of the now-classic film, vetoed Pacino for the lead. Instead, Evans insisted on the casting of the even shorter Dustin Hoffman! On her part, Christie -- who was notoriously finicky about accepting parts, even in prestigious, sure-fire material -- turned down the female lead, which was then taken by Marthe Keller (who, ironically, became Pacino's lover after co-starring with him in Bobby Deerfield (1977)). Of his dream cast, Schlesinger only got Olivier, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Pacino has yet to co-star with Christie.
Has suffered from chronic insomnia.
His Oscar nomination for The Godfather (1972) marked his first of 4 consecutive nominations, a feat he shares with Jennifer Jones (1943-1946), Thelma Ritter (1950-1953), Marlon Brando (1951-1954) and Elizabeth Taylor (1957-1960).
He has been a friend of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, for several years, and has stayed as his guest at Highgrove House.
Resides in Beverly Hills, California.
Former New York deputy mayor Ken Lipper was one of Pacino's classmates in school.
Starred on Broadway alongside Sheryl Lee in Oscar Wilde's "Salome", in the Circle in the Square Theatre, under the direction of Robert Allan Ackerman. The play costarred Suzanne Bertish, Arnold Vosloo and Esai Morales. [Summer 1992]
He is a huge fan of Dick Van Dyke.
Lifetime Member of the prestigious Actors Studio. He was accepted into the studio in 1966, studying under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg.
The voice of Moe the Bartender from The Simpsons was based on Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Lives in Palisades, New York.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Spoke three of the American Film Institute's 100 Movie Quotes: "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." from The Godfather: Part II (1974) at #58, "Say 'hello' to my little friend!" from Scarface (1983) at #61 and "Attica! Attica!" from Dog Day Afternoon (1975) at #86.
Before becoming a professional actor he held a number of jobs including a messenger, shoe salesman, supermarket checker, shoe shiner, furniture mover, office boy, fresh-fruit polisher, and a newsboy.
He was awarded the 2011 American National Medal of the Arts for his services to drama on February 13, 2012 at the White House in Washington D.C.
Starred as King Herod in Oscar Wilde's "Salomé" on Broadway in 1992 opposite Sheryl Lee (directed by Robert Allan Ackerman), and in 2003 opposite Marisa Tomei (directed by Estelle Parsons). He reprised the role opposite Jessica Chastain in 2006 in Los Angeles and in the documentary-drama film Wilde Salome (2011) that he also wrote and directed.
Is one of 9 actors to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Thomas Mitchell, Melvyn Douglas, Paul Scofield, Jack Albertson, Jason Robards, Jeremy Irons, Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Plummer.
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 Norman Mailer 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.
[on whether acting and his roles reflected who he is] In the end you're just playing a role.
I'll tell you something. And this is a fact. When I was doing Scarface (1983), 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 [Francis Ford Coppola] were making films, and I got opportunities.
[quoted by Robert Osborne in "Academy Awards 1974 Oscar Annual"] 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.
[Presenting the Lifetime of Achievement Award to director Sidney Lumet at the 2005 Academy Awards] As an old village poet put it to me in the 1960s. [If you dig it, it's yours]. I dug Sidney Lumet 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.
[on his friend and Heat (1995) co-star Robert De Niro] 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 Heat (1995) co-star Robert De Niro] 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 doing Scarecrow (1973) with Gene Hackman] 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 whether or not acting is still challenging for him] 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 why his film Chinese Coffee (2000) has yet to be released] '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.
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 The Local Stigmatic (1990) 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.
The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful -- my personal life suffers.
My first language was shy. It's only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness.
I don't understand the hatred and fear of gays and bisexuals and lesbians...it's a concept I honestly cannot grasp. To me, it's not who you love...a man, a woman, what have you...it's the fact THAT you love. That is all that truly matters.
[When asked what romantic character he would want to be] [Pablo Picasso]. I love the idea that he used to just sit and stare at an empty canvas for as long as 12 hours straight. If you keep staring at the canvas, the hope is that something or someone will come to mind. That's a romantic notion in itself.
[When asked what a movie of his life would be called and who would play him] It would be called 'The Dustin Hoffman Story'. When we were starting out, [Robert De Niro], me and Hoffman were always sort of mixed up. People mistook us for each other.
In America most everybody who's Italian is half Italian. Except me. I'm all Italian. I'm mostly Sicilian, and I have a little bit of Neapolitan in me. You get your full dose with me.
[on The Godfather: Part III (1990)] You know what the problem with that film is? The real problem? Nobody wants to see Michael have retribution and feel guilty. That's not who he is. In the other scripts, in Michael's mind he is avenging his family and saving them. Michael never thinks of himself as a gangster - not as a child, not while he is one and not afterward. That is not the image he has of himself. He's not a part of the Goodfellas (1990) thing. Michael has this code; he lives by something that makes audiences respond. But once he goes away from that and starts crying over coffins, making confessions and feeling remorse, it isn't right. I applaud [Francis Ford Coppola] for trying to get to that, but Michael is so frozen in that image. There is in him a deep feeling of having betrayed his mother by killing his brother. That was a mistake. And we are ruled by these mistakes in life as time goes on. He was wrong. Like in Scarface (1983) when Tony kills Manny - that is wrong, and he pays for it. And in his way, Michael pays for it.
My dad was in the army. World War II. He got his college education from the army. After World War II he became an insurance salesman. Really, I didn't know my dad very well.
[on Julie Christie] The most poetic of actresses.
The only problem is, I don't have the appetite to make my own pictures. I don't want to direct. So I'm always in a kind of passive position, waiting for someone to come to me with a project... That I sort of don't like.
[on Heat (1995)] I remember chasing Bobby De Niro around at 3 a.m. I didn't warm up and boom, there went my hamstring. I was like, "Great, I feel like old Al." Then I realized, "I AM old Al." I guess I have to keep in shape as I get older. But I don't like to work out. Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes.
[on Jack Lemmon] Jack was the most selfless actor I've ever worked with. He was the most considerate and the most generous. He cared a great deal about what he was doing. He was a complete actor who gave 150 percent. But the remarkable thing about Jack was that he kept growing. So his best work was his latest work.
[on making The Godfather (1972)] Every time I'd run into Marlon Brando on set, my face would turn red and I'd start laughing...have you any idea what it was like to do a scene with Brando? I sat in movie houses when I was a kid watching Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Viva Zapata! (1952). Now I'm playing a scene with him. He's God, man!
It surprised me, the feeling I got when I won the Oscar for Scent of a Woman (1992). It was a new feeling. I'd never felt it. I don't see my Oscar much now. But when I first got it, there was a feeling for weeks afterward that I guess is akin to winning a gold medal in the Olympics. It's like you've won a race and everybody knows you won. It's a wonderful feeling, a complete feeling.
An actor with too much money will usually find a way to get rid of it.
He who persists at his folly will one day be wise.
After every movie, Humphrey Bogart -- even at the end -- was very worried he'd never get another part. If you don't get the job, there's no work, there's no outlet, there's no expression, there's no painting. You just live and hope that another day will come with a role that will serve as a canvas for you.
Gary Cooper was kind of a phenomenon - his ability to take something and elevate it, give it such dignity. One of the great presences. Charles Laughton was my favorite. Jack Nicholson has that kind of persona; he's also a fine actor. Robert Mitchum's great. Lee Marvin, too. These guys are terrific actors.
I recommend watching The Dresser (1983). It's a great movie if you want to know about actors.
I am a dancer, but I don't think I would be on "Dancing with the Stars" (2005/I) mainly because I would be too shy.
The most popular movie I've ever made is Scarface (1983), all over the world. It's amazing to me. It's wonderful. We sometimes forget that it was Oliver Stone who wrote it. He is a political creature, and I think that is an undercurrent in the movie. And the combination of him and Brian De Palma made for this kind of fusion or explosion. It worked.
(1979, on Marlon Brando) There's no doubt every time I see Brando that I'm looking at a great actor. Whether he's doing great acting or not, you're seeing somebody who is in the tradition of a great actor. What he does with it, that's something else, but he's got it all. The talent, the instrument is there, that's why he has endured. I remember when I first saw On the Waterfront. I had to see it again, right there. I couldn't move, I couldn't leave the theater. I had never seen the likes of it. I couldn't believe it.
(1979, Playboy Magazine) Bang the Drum Slowly is my all-time-favorite film. I saw that three or four times. I'd like to go see it again. The baseball motif, the quality of the relationship between Moriarty and De Niro, is beautiful. Maybe I relate to it because I wanted to be a baseball player. For some reason, people don't talk about that movie.
(1979 quote on his first time at the Oscars) I was at the Oscars once, for Serpico. That was the second time I was nominated. I was sitting in the third or fourth row with Diane Keaton. Jeff Bridges was there with his girl. No one expected me to come. I was a little high. Somebody had done something to my hair, blew it or something, and I looked like I had a bird's nest on my head, a real mess. I sat there and tried to look indifferent because I was so nervous. Any time I'm nervous, I try to put on an indifferent or a cold look. At one point, I turned to Jeff Bridges and said, "Hey, looks like there won't be time to get to the Best Actor awards." He gave me a strange look. He said, "Oh, really?" I said, "It's over, the hour is up." He said, "It's three hours long." I thought it was an hour TV show, can you imagine that? And I had to pee-bad. So I popped a Valium. Actually, I was eating Valium like they were candy. Chewed on them. Finally came the Best Actor. Can you imagine the shape I was in? I couldn't have made it to the stage. I was praying, "Please don't let it be me. Please." And I hear . . . "Jack Lemmon." I was just so happy I didn't have to get up, because I never would have made it.
(1979, Playboy Magazine) I wanted to be a baseball player, naturally, but I wasn't good enough. I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I just had a kind of energy, I was a fairly happy kid, although I had problems in school. In the eighth grade, the drama teacher wrote my mother a letter saying she should encourage me. I used to recite The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. And I would read the Bible in the auditorium. That was the first time I heard of Marlon Brando. I was in a play and they said, "Hey, Marlon Brando-this guy acts like Marlon Brando." Isn't that weird? I was about 12. I guess it was because I was supposed to get sick onstage and I really did get sick every time we did this play. Actually, the person I related to was James Dean. I grew up with the Dean thing. Rebel Without a Cause had a very powerful effect on me.
(1979, on his beginning as an actor at the High School of Performing Arts) I was never very happy with performing; it didn't turn me on much. If I made a catch at third base, I'd do a double somersault and sprawl out on the ground. I was acting-overacting. They taught Stanislavsky at Performing Arts. That whole thing about the Method and serious acting, having to feel it, I thought it was crazy. What was going on? Where was the fun? So I was kind of bored with it.
(1979, on his pre-fame job as a building superintendent) I was about 26. My friend told me about this job with a rent-free apartment and $14 a week. So I went down and got a boiler's permit and came back and I was a super. It was my first real place that was not a rooming house or sharing with a girl-I had lived with a girl before that. Now I had my own little home. I had no money, hardly anything to eat, but I had a roof over my head. I was a super for 11 months. I drank, actually, but I hung in there and came out of it. It was a very fruitful time and, at the same time, it was the lowest time in my life. I used to hang an 8 x 10 glossy of me on the door.
[on people considering him a legend] I'm very flattered to hear that, that compliment. I don't think of myself as anything but an actor struggling to find the next role and when I do get the role to try and see if I can find any way into it.
With young actors I learn from them, just as hopefully I always will. If I were to advise them in some way, I would say this is a craft that you just have to keep doing. Do it whenever you can and you shouldn't spend too much time dealing with the fact that there's a world out there with a lot of competition. You have to educate yourself. You have to read. You have to see things that are inspiring to you.
[on the casting of Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'] Francis [Ford Coppola] knew I could do the part, and so did I. But he kept asking me to test again and again. I didn't want to go. I don't go where I'm not wanted. Once I got the role, I was waking up at four or five in the morning and going into the kitchen to brood over [it].
[on preparing to play the character of Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)] I worked with an expert in knife combat, with a physical education guy who helped me get the kind of body I wanted for the part. I used the boxer Roberto Durán a little bit. There was an aspect of Durán , a certain lion in him that I responded to in this character. And I was very inspired by Meryl Streep's work in Sophie's Choice (1982). I thought that her way of involving herself in playing someone who is from another country and another world was particularly fine and committed and... courageous.
I'm the same now as I've always been - sort of a recluse. People resent me for remaining myself when they think I should be acting like a superstar. I never wanted to be an actor and I don't particularly enjoy it. I have to act. There just isn't anything else for me.
[on being in Dublin, Ireland] I always feel so at home here, it's great. In fact, I just want to do a movie here so then I could really stay for a while, get around and see it, and be a part of it.
[on the tough neighborhood he grew up in] They used to call it Fort Apache - the 41st Precinct. But that was the start of the heroin thing. Around 1948 that's when the drugs came into New York. That's when the trouble started. Of all my dearest, closest friends from that time, none of them survived.
[on his acting teacher Lee Strasberg] Someone said to him: 'Oh, I know you.' He replied: 'You know my name. You don't know me'.
[on being offered the part of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972)] Naturally my first thought was: 'I can't play that. It's a really hard part. Can't I play Sonny? That's a good part.' Then all this screen testing began. It was the Scarlett O'Hara of its day. Francis put that cast together and they okayed everybody except for me and Marlon Brando. Finally, they okayed Marlon. 'But this kid? No way!'
[on working with Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)] I loved him. He was such a sensitive person. He saw the difficulties I was having and I think he saw a little of himself when he was young. I was in awe. I remember once he came up behind me and gave me a little massage. 'You okay?' he'd say.
Something happened in the 1980s that is hard to define. It had something to do with the movies that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas - both very close friends of Francis Ford Coppola - started to make. I met them when they were kids. I saw them as real film people. I got no feeling of theatre from them. They are geniuses. But they set the standard for a new kind of movie. You also can't discount the impact of television. It's a complex story. Those socially concerned movies like Serpico (1973) or Dog Day Afternoon (1975) or Taxi Driver (1976) were no longer as doable. Those films became independent film. They were no longer launched as brassy marquee features. That's exactly right. You look at The Panic in Needle Park (1971): a film about two drug addicts in the city. That was made by Fox. They could never get that made today.
[on Scarface (1983)] We couldn't show our faces after it opened. I was at a party after a screening at Sardi's. I walked in and the faces looked like those in a wax museum. People were sitting so still. Liza Minnelli was there. She hadn't seen the movie. She came up to me and said: 'What did you do to these people?' And yet it survived.
|The Godfather (1972)||$35,000|
|The Godfather: Part II (1974)||$500,000 and 10% of the gross after break-even|
|The Godfather: Part III (1990)||$5,000,000|
|Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)||$1,500,000|
|Carlito's Way (1993)||$6,000,000|
(April 2003) Starring in "Salome: The Reading" with Marisa Tomei on Broadway.
(2006) Release of his book, "Al Pacino in Conversation with Lawrence Grobel".
(July 2007) Beverly Hills
(June 1992) Performing on Broadway in "Salome" alongside Sheryl Lee, in the Circle in the Square Theatre, New York, USA.
(February 2012) Palisades, New York: Acting
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