Few actors in the world have had a career as diverse as that of Leonardo DiCaprio. Born as Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio on November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, the actor has gone from relatively humble beginnings as a supporting cast member in 1985 sitcom ‘Growing Pains’ to one of the most respected actors in the world. Over the years, the actor has gained critical appreciation for his portrayals of unconventional and complex characters right from a young age.
Be it playing a mentally-disabled teenager in ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ (1993) and or becoming a leading actor in a string of Hollywood blockbusters made by internationally renowned directors such as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, DiCaprio has done it all.
Apart from being an actor and producer, DiCaprio is also a committed environmentalist, who is actively involved in several environmental causes through his foundation.
The Oscar winner’s commitment to this raging issue led to his involvement in ‘The 11th Hour’ (2014), a documentary about the state of the natural environment which also highlighted practical solutions for restoring the planet’s ecosystem. Two years later the actor also worked on another riveting documentary ‘Before the Flood’ that shows how climate change affects our environment, ecosystems, endangered species and native communities across the world.
As the actor celebrates his special day, we take a look at some of his most memorable roles:
Essaying the role of Romeo Montague in Baz Luhrmann directorial Romeo + Juliet (1996) made him a household name. The following year DiCaprio starred in another blockbuster about doomed lovers –Titanic, which brought him global fame. While his chemistry with co-star Kate Winslet remains memorable to fans, the movie directed by James Cameron went on to beat all box office records before then and went on to win 10 Academy Awards.
DiCaprio portrayed the role of legendary billionaire aviation tycoon and Hollywood director Howard Hughes. The blockbuster biopic directed by Martin Scorsese not only cemented his arrival as a bona fide, mature movie star, but also gave him his first Oscar nomination after What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Another Scorsese-DiCaprio collaboration, based on the Hong Kong crime thriller Internal Affairs was the story of an undercover cop and a mole in the police. DiCaprio played the role of Billy Costigan, the undercover cop who insinuates himself into the criminal underworld of South Boston. The mob-thriller had a stellar star cast including Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg among others in crucial roles. The film gave Scorsese his first Oscar for the Best Picture at the 79th Academy Awards.
Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending science fiction film remains one of the most intriguing and critical works by both the actor and director. The movie traces the story of a thief, played by DiCaprio, who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing tech. The movie takes an unexpected turn when he is tasked with planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.
While we are used to seeing the actor in a leading role, when Dicaprio decided to be a villain he didn’t dish out half measures. The actor plays Calvin Candie, a wickedly sadistic white slave owner in the film set in pre-Civil War America. The Quentin Tarantino directorial was a typical Wild West movie which involves bounty hunters, slaves and white plantation owners.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
The duo of Scorsese-DiCaprio teamed up once again in this 2013 film based on the true story of disgraced Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort. The actor played the titular role of the obsessive stockbroker (Belfort) who hoodwinks people and builds an empire. While his performance in the movie was outstanding, the actor once again missed the Best Actor bus at the Academy Awards.
After years of dejection, DiCaprio finally won the Oscar for his work in Alejandro González Inarritu’s 2015 film. Set in the 1820s, the film shows the journey of an aggrieved fur trapper who fights for survival after his companions kill his son and leave him for dead following an attack by a bear. The film also bagged the two Academy Awards in Direction and Cinematography.