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Al Pacino

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Alfredo James "Al" Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is an American film and stage actor and director. He is most famed for playing mobsters including Tony Montana in Scarface and Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, though he has also appeared several times on the other side of the law—as a police officer, detective, and a lawyer. His role as Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman, won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992 after receiving seven previous Oscar nominations.

He made his feature film debut in the 1969 film Me, Natalie in a minor supporting role, before playing the leading role in the 1971 drama The Panic in Needle Park. Pacino made his major breakthrough when he was given the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather in 1972, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Other Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor were for Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. Oscar nominations for Best Actor include The Godfather Part II, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, the court room drama ...And Justice for All and Scent of a Woman.

As well as a career in film, he has also enjoyed a successful career on stage, picking up Tony Awards for Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. His love of Shakespeare caused him to direct his first film with Looking for Richard, a part documentary on the play Richard III. Pacino has received numerous lifetime achievement awards, including one from the American Film Institute. He is a method actor, taught mainly by Lee Strasberg and Charlie Laughton at the Actors' Studio in New York.

Although he has never married, Pacino has had several relationships with fellow actresses, and has had three children.

Contents [hide]
1 Early life and education
2 Film career
2.1 Early film career
2.2 1970s
2.3 1980s
2.4 1990s
2.5 2000s
3 Stage career
4 Acting background
5 Personal life
6 Filmography
7 Awards and nominations
8 References
9 External links


[edit] Early life and education
Pacino was born in East Harlem, New York City,[1] the son of Italian American parents Rose (née Gerardi) and Salvatore Alfred Pacino, who divorced when he was two years old.[2] When he was two, his mother moved to the South Bronx near the Bronx Zoo, to live with her parents, Kate and James Gerardi, who originated from Corleone, Sicily.[3] His father moved to Covina, California, and worked as an insurance salesman and restaurateur.[1] Pacino attended a school officially named High School of Performing Arts, a division of the Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and the Arts in New York City, the main school of which was attended by Godfather II costar Robert De Niro.[3] During his teenage years 'Sonny', as he was known to his friends, aimed to become a baseball player, though he was also nicknamed 'The Actor'.[4] Pacino flunked nearly all of his classes except English and dropped out of school at 17. His mother disagreed with his decision; they had an argument and he left home. He worked at a string of low-paying jobs, including messenger boy, busboy, janitor, and postal clerk, in order to finance his acting studies.[1]

He started smoking at age nine and drinking and casual marijuana use at age thirteen, but never took hard drugs. His two closest friends died young of drug abuse, at the ages of 19 and 30 (his friend who died at age thirty had not seen Pacino for some years before he died).[4] Growing up in a deprived area, he got into occasional fights, and was something of a minor troublemaker at school.[4]

He acted in basement plays in New York's theatrical underground, and then joined the Herbert Berghof Studio (HB Studio), where he met acting teacher Charlie Laughton, who became his mentor and best friend.[4] During this period, he was frequently unemployed and homeless, and sometimes had to sleep on the street, in theaters or at friends' houses.[5] In 1962, his mother died aged 43. The following year, his grandfather, James Gerardi, one of the most influential people in his life, also died.[1]

[edit] Film career
[edit] Early film career
Pacino found acting to be enjoyable and realized he had a gift for it while studying at the Actors' Studio (see below). However, it did put him in financial straits until the end of the decade.[3] After having a successful time on the stage (see below), Pacino made his movie debut with a brief screen appearance in Me, Natalie, an independent film starring Patty Duke, released July 1969. In 1970, Pacino signed with the talent agency Creative Management Associates (CMA).[5]

[edit] 1970s

With Robert Duvall in The Godfather.It was the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, in which he played a heroin addict, that brought Pacino to the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola, who cast him as Michael Corleone in the blockbuster 1972 Mafia film The Godfather. Although several established actors – including Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and a little-known Robert De Niro – also wanted to portray Michael Corleone, Coppola selected the relatively unknown Pacino, much to the dismay of studio executives.[3] He was even teased on the set because he was short in height. Pacino's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination, and offered a prime example of his early acting style, described by Halliwell's Film Guide as "intense" and "tightly clenched". However Pacino boycotted the 45th Academy Awards as he was insulted at being nominated for the Supporting Acting award, noting that he had more screen time than Brando – who was himself boycotting the awards.[4]

In 1973, he co-starred in Scarecrow, with Gene Hackman, and won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. That same year, Pacino starred in Serpico, based on the true story of New York City policeman Frank Serpico, who went undercover to expose the corruption of fellow officers. In 1974, Pacino reprised his role as Michael Corleone in the sequel The Godfather Part II, acclaimed as being comparable to the original. The film became the first sequel to win the Best Picture Oscar, and Pacino was nominated for his third Oscar. Newsweek magazine declared that his performance in the film "is arguably cinema's greatest portrayal of the hardening of a heart".[4] In 1975, he enjoyed further success with the release of Dog Day Afternoon, based on the true story of bank robber John Wojtowicz.[3] It was directed by Sidney Lumet, who also directed him in Serpico a few years earlier, and for both films Pacino was nominated for Best Actor.

In 1977, Pacino starred as a race-car driver in Bobby Deerfield, directed by Sydney Pollack, and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama for his portrayal of the title role, losing out to Richard Burton, who won for Equus. His next film was the dark drama ...And Justice for All, which again saw Pacino lauded by critics for his wide range of acting abilities, and nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for a fourth time. However he lost out that year to Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer— a role that Pacino had declined.[4]

During the 1970s, Pacino had four Oscar nominations for Best Actor, for his performances in Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and ...And Justice for All.[3]

[edit] 1980s
Pacino's career slumped in the early 1980s;, his appearances in the controversial Cruising, a film which provoked protests from New York's gay community,[6] and the comedy-drama Author! Author! were critically panned.[1] However, 1983's Scarface, directed by Brian DePalma, proved to be a career highlight and a defining role.[3] Upon its initial release, the film was critically panned, but did well at the box office, grossing over US$45 million domestically.[7] Pacino earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Cuban drug lord Tony Montana.

In 1985, Pacino worked on his personal project, The Local Stigmatic, a 1969 Off Broadway play by the English writer Heathcote Williams. He starred in the play, remounting it with director David Wheeler and the Theater Company of Boston in a 50-minute film version. The film was never released theatrically but was later released as part of the Pacino: An Actor's Vision box set in 2007.[3]

His 1985 film Revolution about a fur trapper during the American Revolutionary War, was a commercial and critical failure, which Pacino blamed on a rushed production,[4] resulting in a four-year hiatus from films. During this time Pacino returned to the stage. He mounted workshop productions of Crystal Clear, National Anthems and other plays; he appeared in Julius Caesar in 1988 in producer Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. Pacino remarked on his hiatus from film: "I remember back when everything was happening, '74, '75, doing The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui on stage and reading that the reason I'd gone back to the stage was that my movie career was waning! That's been the kind of ethos, the way in which theater's perceived, unfortunately."[8] Pacino returned to film in 1989's Sea of Love,[3] about a detective played by Pacino who is trying to catch a serial killer who finds victims through the singles column in a newspaper. The film earned solid reviews.[4]

[edit] 1990s
Pacino received an Academy Award nomination for playing Big Boy Caprice in the box office hit Dick Tracy in 1990, in which critic Roger Ebert wrote that Pacino is ‘the scene-stealer’.[9] Later in the year he followed this up by a return to one of his most famous characters, Michael Corleone, in The Godfather Part III (1990).[3] The film had a good reception, but the third instalment had problems during pre production due to script rewrites and the withdrawal of actors shortly before production. In 1991, Pacino starred in Frankie and Johnny with Michelle Pfeiffer, who co-starred with Pacino in Scarface. The film is about a recently released prisoner (Pacino) who begins a relationship with a waitress (Pfeiffer) in the diner he works in. It was adapted by Terrence McNally from his own Off-Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1987), which featured Kenneth Welsh and Kathy Bates. The film received mainly positive reviews with Janet Maslin in The New York Times writing, "Mr. Pacino has not been this uncomplicatedly appealing since his "Dog Day Afternoon" days, and he makes Johnny's endless enterprise in wooing Frankie a delight. His scenes alone with Ms. Pfeiffer have a precision and honesty that keep the film's maudlin aspects at bay."[10]

In 1992 Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his portrayal of retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel ...
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