Leonardo DiCaprio

BATD ON Feb 26, 2010 AT 9:52 pm

Leonardo DiCaprio

We are all looking forward to the long anticipated release of Shutter Island, but in all the hype, we might forget one of the biggest stars of the film, Leonardo DiCaprio, and where he came from. Let’s take this opportunity to take a look back at Leo’s life and career.

Young DiCaprio was raised in an unsavoury neighbourhood in Los Angeles amidst drug addicts and prostitutes. Despite this, he credits his parents for keeping him out of trouble and on the right track. Because of this, he boasts that he has never done drugs at all, despite their ready availability in his childhood. Instead, he acted. He was on several shows and commercials as a youngster, but received a lot of reports of being rambunctious and uncontrollable.

This changed when be got the part of Luke on Growing Pains. Playing a homeless teen that the Seavers take a liking to, he began to be taken more seriously as an actor. So seriously in fact that his next several roles all gained critical acclaim. His parts in This Boy’s Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Rome + Juliet were all highly praised, especially because of their emotional complexity. Though he shined in all of these roles, he didn’t reach star status until his role as Jack Dawson in 1997’s iconic Titanic.

Vera with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

Despite immediate fan craze, Leo did not handle the spotlight well. He was extremely uncomfortable in his new Hollywood role as heartthrob, and took a noticeably long hiatus from acting. After some time, he realized that Titanic opened many doors for him, and it allowed him to be in control of his own career, because it gave him credibility as an adult actor.

This credibility gained him starring parts in huge films such as The Departed, Gangs of New York and The Aviator. Though he has been in perhaps some of the most well known movies of all times, he has had quite a lack of recognition. While he has been nominated for dozens of awards, including Academy Awards, he has won relatively few. He got his first nomination for his first Oscar for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape when he was only nineteen, but his only wins remain several MTV awards and a Golden Globe for the Aviator.

Off screen, DiCaprio stays busy. He is a known environmentalist, and even owns an island off the coast of Belize that he has dedicated to building an eco-friendly resort. This nature activist also spends a lot of time on renewable resource development in an attempt to halt global warming. He also donates a lot of money to an array of causes, ranging from the Obama campaign to Haiti relief.

Of course, Leo also makes time for the ladies. Formerly linked to Kristen Zang and Gisele Bundchen, he has been dating model Bar Rafaeli since 2005. Despite the seemingly long-term relationship, he doesn’t foresee himself getting married any time soon. He is also extremely close with fellow child actor Tobey McGuire and old friend and co-star Kate Winslet.

With all of this information in mind, you can appreciate DiCaprio’s latest project so much more!

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