2. Early Life
• Born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles,
California, Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is the
only child of Irmelin and George DiCaprio.
His parents divorced when he was still a
toddler. DiCaprio was mostly raised by his
mother, a legal secretary born in Germany.
• Despite his parents' early divorce, Leonardo
DiCaprio remained close to his father, a
comic book artist and distributor. With his
parents urging Leonardo explored his
creative side. He developed an interest in
acting early on but he didn't have much
success in Hollywood until he reached his
• For years, DiCaprio had trouble landing an agent. One agent
recommended DiCaprio change his name to Lenny Williams
to improve his appeal. However, by the early 1990s, DiCaprio
began landing regular television work. His early credits
included guest appearances on such programs as The New
Lassie and Roseanne. He landed a role on the dramatic
comedy Parenthood, where he met fellow actor Tobey
Maguire while making the series, although the show proved to
be short lived.
• In 1991, DiCaprio took a leap forward when he was cast as a
semi-regular on the family comedy Growing Pains with Kirk
Cameron and Alan Thicke. He made his film debut in the low-budget
horror flick Critters 3 that same year. But DiCaprio
really first demonstrated his talents as a serious actor two
4. Early Films
• Proving to the critics that he was more than a just
good-looking teenager, DiCaprio starred opposite
Robert De Niro in This Boy's Life (1993). The film
delved into the difficult relationship between a young
boy and his abusive stepfather in this adaptation of
Tobias Wolff's memoir. DiCaprio impressed critics,
holding his own on screen up against acting
heavyweight De Niro.
• DiCaprio turned heads again with his performance
in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993) with Johnny
Depp. His portrayal of a child with mental disabilities
earned him an Academy Award nomination for best
supporting actor. The accolades he received from this
film solidified DiCaprio's reputation as a gifted actor.
• After receiving his first Academy Award nomination,
DiCaprio continued to pursue interesting and diverse
film projects. He starred in the 1995 coming-of-age
drama The Basketball Diaries and worked with
Russell Crowe, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman
on the western The Quick and the Dead that same
year. In Baz Luhrmann's modern retelling of
Shakespeare's most famous tragic love
story, Romeo + Juliet (1996), DiCaprio played
Romeo to Claire Danes' Juliet.
• The success of the romantic tragedy Titanic also showed that DiCaprio
could handle traditional Hollywood leading roles. He quickly became a
world-famous celebrity with a growing fandom. His charm and youthful
good looks helped him make People magazines’ list of "50 Most Beautiful
People“ - in 1997 and 1998.
• It was another tragic love story that helped propel
DiCaprio's career to a new level in 1997. He co-starred
with Kate Winslet in James
Cameron'sTitanic based on the sinking of the
legendary ocean liner Titanic in 1912. In the film, he
plays Jack, a poor artist who falls for the rich and
beautiful Rose (Winslet) on board. The couple faces
danger not only from Rose's fiancé (Billy Zane), but
the ship itself after it strikes an iceberg. The film's
production budget topped more than $200 million.
• Titanic became both a critical and commercial smash hit. It snapped up 14
Academy Award nominations and took home such distinctive honours as
best picture and best director. Audiences flocked to the theatres to see this
cinematic epic, driving the film to new box office records. Titanic earned
more than $600 million in its initial domestic release.
7. International Film Star
• After Titanic, DiCaprio had a bit of a career slump. Both The Man
in the Iron Mask (1998) and The Beach (2000) proved to be
disappointments both financially and artistically. However, he
demonstrated his range as an actor in two noteworthy films in
2002, Catch Me if You Can and Gangs of New York. In Catch Me
if You Can, DiCaprio plays a young con man who excels at
forgery and impersonation. The historical drama Gangs of New
York served as the first of many projects that DiCaprio would
work on with famed director Martin Scorsese.
• DiCaprio continued to impress critics and audiences alike with his
daring roles. In 2006 he starred in the well-received film Blood
Diamond . DiCaprio earned his third Academy Award nomination
for Blood Diamond, a dramatic thriller about the pursuit of a
precious gem in war-torn Sierra Leone.
8. Martin Scorsese Movies
• In The Aviator (2004), DiCaprio took on the
challenge of playing one of America's most
famous businessmen. He received another
Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the
eccentric and later reclusive Howard Hughes.
• For the compelling crime saga, The Departed
(2006), he co-starred with Matt Damon and Jack
• In 2010, DiCaprio starred in the thriller, Shutter
• DiCaprio again worked with Martin Scorsese on
the drama The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), based
on the memoir by Jordan Belfort. Belfort gained
notoriety for defrauding investors while lining his
own pockets in the 1990s. Jonah Hill and Matthew
McConaughey also appear in the film.
9. Other Films
• In 2008 DiCaprio reunited with Kate Winslet
in Revolutionary Road, a tense film about a 1950s
suburban couple that struggles to weather a myriad of
• He explored a fantastical future in Christopher Nolan's
Inception (2010), where technology allows people to
invade the dreams of others.
• DiCaprio took on another famous figure in the 2011
biographical drama J. Edgar. Directed by Clint
Eastwood, the film explores the life of J. Edgar Hoover
who ran the FBI for nearly five decades. To prepare for
the role, DiCaprio conducted extensive research. He
visited many of Hoover's haunts in Washington, D.C.
10. Recent Work
• These days DiCaprio continues to seek out
work with top-notch directors and to tackle
interesting story lines. In 2012, he appeared
as a slave owner in Quentin Tarantino's
western Django Unchained, also starring
Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and
• DiCaprio also reteamed with Baz Luhrmann
to play one of literature's most intriguing
characters, Jay Gatsby. He stars in the
adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald
classic The Great Gatsby (2013) along with
Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire.