The son of Salvatore Pacino (who was born
in Italy) and Rose Gerard (the daughter of an Italian-born father
and a New York born mother of Italian descent). His parents divorced
while Pacino was still a child. His grandparents originate from Corleone, Sicily, Italy.
In the late 1960s, Pacino studied under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, finding acting a therapeutic outlet in a youth which saw him depressed and so impoverished he could barely afford the bus fares required to get him to his next audition. His talent shone through and by the end of the decade he had won an Obie award for his stage work in The Indian Wants the Bronx and a Tony award for Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie? His big screen debut came in 1969's Me, Natalie but it was the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, in which he played a heroin addict, that would really show off his talents and bring him to the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola.
Al Pacino with Robert Duvall in The GodfatherHis meteoric rise to fame came after portraying Michael Corleone in the blockbuster 1972 Mafia film The Godfather. Although numerous established actors, including Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and a then unknown Robert De Niro, were vying for the part, Coppola selected the relatively unknown Pacino. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and, by the end of the 1970s he would have three more nominations, all for Best Actor. Despite further nominations, it wasn't until 1992 that Pacino would win an Oscar, for Best Actor, for his portrayal of the irascible, retired and blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Martin Brest's Scent of a Woman. That year, he was also up for the supporting award for his role in Glengarry Glen Ross, making Pacino the first male actor ever to receive two acting nominations for two different movies in the same year, and the first actor of either gender to achieve that feat and win for the lead acting nomination. (Jamie Foxx did the same in 2005.) Pacino has not received another nomination from the Academy since those two, but has won two Golden Globes since the turn of the century, the first being the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion picture, and the second for his role in the HBO miniseries Angels in America.
Al Pacino's career took something of a downturn in the early 1980s and his appearances in Cruising and Author! Author! saw him critically panned. 1983's Scarface proved to be both a career highlight and a defining role, earning Pacino a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as a Cuban drug lord who cries out the now infamous line "You wanna play rough? Okay! Say hello to my little friend!"
However, 1985's Revolution was critically panned and failed at the box office; Pacino returned to stage work for four years, re-surfacing in film in 1989's Sea of Love, which was to signal a welcome return to form. Pacino's more recent body of work remains impressive, boasting a number of fine performances that include the somewhat under-recognised 1990's crime thrillers Carlito's Way, Heat and Donnie Brasco. Pacino has turned down a number of key roles in his career, including that of Han Solo in Star Wars, Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now and Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman.
The quality of Pacino's performances, as well as his larger-than-life onscreen presence (Pacino stands about 5'6"), have established him as one of the greatest actors in motion picture history. Pacino still performs theatre work and has also dabbled in direction, his first film, The Local Stigmatic remains unreleased but his other two works, Looking for Richard and Chinese Coffee are both highly acclaimed. Pacino reportedly is planning to finally release The Local Stigmatic on DVD within the next several months.
Although Al Pacino has never been married, Pacino has three children. The first, Julie Marie, is his daughter with acting coach Jan Tarrant. He also has twins, Anton and Olivia, with ex - girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo. Pacino continues to be regarded as the best actor of his generation and in the top list of all time world class actors in movie history.
Film List for Al Picino
This Al Pacino Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub