Since 2000, DiCaprio has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of film genres. DiCaprio's subsequent films include The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), the biographical crime drama Catch Me If You Can (2002), and the epic historical drama Gangs of New York (2002), which marked his first of many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese. He was acclaimed for his performances in the political war thriller Blood Diamond (2006), the neo-noir crime drama The Departed (2006), the espionage thriller Body of Lies (2008), the drama Revolutionary Road (2008), the psychological thriller Shutter Island (2010), the science fiction thriller Inception (2010), the biographical film J. Edgar (2011), the western Django Unchained (2012), and the period drama The Great Gatsby (2013).
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles. He is the only child of Irmelin (née Indenbirken), a legal secretary, and George DiCaprio, an underground comix artist and producer and distributor of comic books. DiCaprio's father is of Italian (from Naples) and German (from Bavaria) descent. DiCaprio's maternal grandfather, Wilhelm Indenbirken, was German. His maternal grandmother, Helene Indenbirken (born Yelena Smirnova; 1915–2008), was a Russian-born German citizen. In an interview in Russia, DiCaprio referred to himself as "half-Russian" and said that two of his grandparents were Russian. DiCaprio's parents met while attending college and subsequently moved to Los Angeles, California.
DiCaprio was named Leonardo because his pregnant mother was looking at a Leonardo da Vinci painting in a museum in Italy when he first kicked. His parents separated when he was a year old, and he lived mostly with his mother. The two lived in several Los Angeles neighborhoods, such as Echo Park and Los Feliz (his Los Feliz residence was later converted into a public library), while his mother worked several jobs. DiCaprio attended Seeds Elementary School (now UCLA Lab School) and John Marshall High School a few blocks away, after attending the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies for four years. However, he dropped out of high school following his third year, eventually earning his general equivalency diploma (GED). DiCaprio spent part of his childhood in Germany with his maternal grandparents, Wilhelm and Helene. He is conversant in German and Italian.
DiCaprio's career began with his appearance in several commercials and educational films. After being removed from the set of children's television series Romper Room for being disruptive at the age of five, he followed his older stepbrother Adam Farrar into television commercials, landing an ad for Matchbox cars at 14. In 1990, he got his break on television when he was cast in the short-lived series based on the movie Parenthood. After Parenthood, DiCaprio had bit parts on several shows, including The New Lassie and Roseanne, as well as a brief stint on the soap opera Santa Barbara, playing the young Mason Capwell. His involvement in Parenthood and the daily soap earned him a nomination for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor each.
DiCaprio's debut film role was in the comedic sci-fi horror film Critters 3, in which he played the stepson of an evil landlord, a role that DiCaprio described as "your average, no-depth, standard kid with blond hair." Released in 1991, the movie went direct-to-video. Soon after, he became a recurring cast member on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains, playing Luke Brower, a homeless boy who is taken in by the Seaver family. DiCaprio made his big screen breakthrough in 1992, when he was handpicked by Robert De Niro out of 400 young actors to play the lead role in This Boy's Life.
Later in 1993, DiCaprio co-starred as the mentally handicapped brother of Johnny Depp's character in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, a comic-tragic odyssey of a dysfunctional Iowa family. Director Lasse Hallström admitted he was initially looking for a less good-looking actor but finally settled on DiCaprio as he had emerged as "the most observant actor" among all auditionees. Budgeted at US$11 million, the film became a critical success, resulting in various accolades for DiCaprio, who was awarded the National Board of Review Award and nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal. New York Times critic Janet Maslin praised DiCaprio's performance, writing "the film's real show-stopping turn comes from Mr. DiCaprio, who makes Arnie's many tics so startling and vivid that at first he is difficult to watch. The performance has a sharp, desperate intensity from beginning to end."
DiCaprio's first effort of 1995 was Sam Raimi's The Quick and the Dead, a western film. Sony Pictures was dubious over DiCaprio's casting, and as a result, co-star Sharon Stone decided to pay the actor's salary herself. The film was released to a dismal box office performance, barely grossing US$18.5 million in the US, and received mixed reviews from critics. DiCaprio next starred in Total Eclipse, a fictionalized account of the homosexual relationship between Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine. He replaced River Phoenix, who died during pre-production on the project. A minor art-house success, the film grossed US$0.34 million throughout its domestic theatrical run.
DiCaprio appeared in the mostly improvised short film called Don's Plum, as a favor to aspiring director R. D. Robb. When Robb decided to expand the black-and-white film to feature length, however, DiCaprio and costar Tobey Maguire had its release blocked by court order, arguing that they never intended to make it a theatrical release, as it would have commercial value thanks to their stardom. The film eventually premiered at the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival, where it was well received by critics. DiCaprio's last film of the year 1995 was The Basketball Diaries, a biographical film about Jim Carroll.
In 1996, DiCaprio appeared opposite Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann's film Romeo + Juliet, an abridged modernization of William Shakespeare's romantic tragedy of the same name, which retained the original Shakespearean dialogue. The project achieved a worldwide box office take of $147 million.
Later that year, he starred in Jerry Zaks' family drama Marvin's Room, reuniting with Robert De Niro. Based on Scott McPherson's screenplay adaptation of his own 1991 stage play of the same name, the film revolves around two sisters, played by Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton, who are reunited through tragedy after 17 years of estrangement. DiCaprio portrayed Hank, Streep's character's troubled son, who has been committed to a mental asylum for setting fire to his mother's house.
In 1997, DiCaprio starred in James Cameron's Titanic (1997) as twenty-year-old Jack Dawson, a penniless Wisconsin man who wins two tickets for the third-class on the ill-fated RMS Titanic. DiCaprio initially refused to portray the character but was eventually encouraged to pursue the role by Cameron, who strongly believed in his acting ability. Against expectations, the film went on to become the highest-grossing film to date (it was surpassed in 2010 by Cameron's film Avatar), grossing more than $1.843 billion in box-office receipts worldwide, and transformed DiCaprio into a commercial movie superstar, resulting in fan worship among teenage girls and young women in general that became known as "Leo-Mania". In May 1998, for example, his face appeared on the covers of at least four teen magazines, and three books about DiCaprio were among the top six paperbacks on The New York Times Best Seller List. More than 200 fans contacted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to protest his not being nominated for the 70th Academy Awards. He was nominated for other high-profile awards, including a second Golden Globe nomination. Upon the success of Titanic, DiCaprio stated in 2000: "I have no connection with me during that whole Titanic phenomenon and what my face became around the world [...] I'll never reach that state of popularity again, and I don't expect to. It's not something I'm going to try to achieve either."
The following year, DiCaprio made a self-mocking cameo appearance in Woody Allen's caustic satire of the fame industry, Celebrity (1998). That year, he also starred in the dual roles of the villainous King Louis XIV and his secret, sympathetic twin brother Philippe in Randall Wallace's The Man in the Iron Mask, based on the same-titled 1939 film. Despite receiving a rather mixed to negative response, the film became a box office success, grossing US$180 million internationally. Though DiCaprio's performance was generally well-received, with Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman writing that "the shockingly androgynous DiCaprio looks barely old enough to be playing anyone with hormones, but he's a fluid and instinctive actor, with the face of a mischievous angel," he was awarded a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple for both incarnations the following year.
DiCaprio's next project was the drama film The Beach (2000), an adaption of Alex Garland's 1996 novel of the same name. He played an American backpacking tourist looking for the perfect way of life in a secret island commune in the Gulf of Thailand. Budgeted at $US50 million, the film became a financial success, grossing $US144 million worldwide, but as with DiCaprio's previous project, the film was largely panned by critics. Todd McCarthy of Variety noted that "Richard [DiCaprio's role] is too much the American Everyman and not enough of a well-defined individual to entirely capture one's interest and imagination, and DiCaprio, while perfectly watchable, does not endow him with the quirks or distinguishing marks to make this man from nowhere a dimensional character." The next year, he was nominated for another Razzie Award for his work on the film.
DiCaprio's first film of 2002 was the biographical crime drama film Catch Me If You Can, based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, used his charm, confidence, and several different personas, to make millions in the 1960s writing bad checks. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film was shot in 147 different locations in only 52 days, making it "the most adventurous, super-charged movie-making" DiCaprio had experienced yet. Catch Me If You Can received favorable reviews and proved to be an international success, becoming DiCaprio's highest-grossing film since Titanic with a total of US$351.1 million worldwide. Roger Ebert praised his performance, and noted that while "DiCaprio, who in recent films [...] has played dark and troubled characters, is breezy and charming here, playing a boy who discovers what he is good at, and does it." The following year, DiCaprio received his third Golden Globe nomination for his work in the film.
Also in 2002, DiCaprio appeared in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, a historical film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City. Director Scorsese initially struggled selling his idea of realizing the film until DiCaprio became interested in playing protagonist Amsterdam Vallon, a young leader of the Irish faction, and thus, Miramax Films got involved with financing the project. Nonetheless production on the film was plagued by blown-out budgets and producer-director squabbles, resulting in a marathon eight-month shoot and, at US$103 million, the most expensive film Scorsese had ever made. Upon its release, Gangs of New York became a financial and critical success. DiCaprio's acting was well-received but was overshadowed by Daniel Day-Lewis' performance among most critics.
Forging a collaboration with Scorsese, the two paired again for a biopic of the eccentric and obsessive American film director and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004). Centering on Hughes' life from the late 1920s to 1947, DiCaprio initially developed the project with Michael Mann, who decided against directing it after back-to-back film biographies in Ali and The Insider. The actor eventually pitched John Logan's script to Scorsese, who quickly signed on to direct. The Aviator became a critical and financial success. DiCaprio received rave reviews for his performance and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, also receiving another Academy Award nomination.
In 2005, DiCaprio was made a commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture for his contributions to the arts. The following year, the actor starred in both Blood Diamond and The Departed. In Edward Zwick's war film Blood Diamond, he starred as a diamond smuggler from Rhodesia who is involved in the Sierra Leone Civil War. The film itself received generally favorable reviews, and DiCaprio was praised for the authenticity of his South African Afrikaner accent, known as a difficult accent to imitate. In Scorsese's The Departed he played the role of Billy Costigan, a state trooper working undercover in an Irish Mob in Boston. Highly anticipated, the film was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews and became one of the highest-rated wide release films of 2006. Budgeted at US$90 million, it also emerged as DiCaprio and Scorsese's highest-grossing collaboration to date, easily beating The Aviator´s previous record of US$213.7 million. DiCaprio's performance in The Departed was applauded by critics and earned him a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor. The same year, both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild nominated DiCaprio twice in the Best Actor category for both of his 2006 features, and in addition, DiCaprio earned his third Academy Award nomination for Blood Diamond.
In 2008, DiCaprio starred in Body of Lies, a spy film based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, set in context of the Middle East and the War on Terror, telling the story of three men battling a terrorist organization, and each other. Directed by Ridley Scott, DiCaprio dyed his hair brown and wore brown contacts for the role, which he chose to pursue because he considered it a throwback to political films of the 1970s such as The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975). The film received mixed reviews from critics, and at a budget of US$67.5 million, became a moderate box office success, grossing US$115 million worldwide.
The same year, DiCaprio reunited with Kate Winslet to film the drama Revolutionary Road (2008), directed by Winslet's then-husband Sam Mendes. As both actors had been reluctant to make romantic films similar to Titanic, it was Winslet who suggested that both should work with her on a film adaptation of the 1961 novel of the same name by Richard Yates after reading the script by Justin Haythe, knowing that plot had little in common with the 1997 blockbuster. Once DiCaprio agreed to do the film, it went almost immediately into production. He noted that he saw his character as "unheroic" and "slightly cowardly" and that he was "willing to be just a product of his environment." Portraying a couple in a failing marriage in the 1950s, DiCaprio and Winslet watched period videos promoting life in the suburbs to prepare themselves for Revolutionary Road, which eventually earned them favorable reviews. For his portrayal DiCaprio garnered his seventh Golden Globes nomination.
DiCaprio continued his collaborative streak with Scorsese in the 2010 psychological thriller film Shutter Island (2010), based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. He played U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels, who is investigating a psychiatric facility located on an island and comes to question his own sanity. The film grossed $294 million.
Also in 2010, DiCaprio starred in director Christopher Nolan's science-fiction film Inception, also starring Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine. Inspired by the experience of lucid dreaming and dream incubation, DiCaprio portrays the character of Dom Cobb, an "extractor" who enters the dreams of others to obtain information that is otherwise inaccessible. Cobb is promised a chance to regain his old life in exchange for planting an idea in a corporate target's mind. DiCaprio was "intrigued by this concept — this dream-heist notion and how this character's gonna unlock his dreamworld and ultimately affect his real life." Released to critical acclaim, the film grossed over $825 million worldwide. To star in this film, DiCaprio agreed to a pay cut from his $20 million fee, in favor of splitting first-dollar gross points, which means he receives money coming directly off the top of ticket sales. This risk paid off, with DiCaprio earning $50 million from the film to become his highest payday yet. The movie went on to become Di Caprio's second highest-grossing movie with $293 million at the box office, after Titanic with $659 million and ahead of The Revenant with $184 million.
In July 2010, it was announced that DiCaprio had pulled out of a Viking movie to be directed by Mel Gibson amid controversy over Gibson's rage-fueled rant tapes and domestic violence probe.
In 2011, DiCaprio starred alongside Armie Hammer and Naomi Watts in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, a biopic about J. Edgar Hoover. Written by Dustin Lance Black, the film focuses on the career of the FBI director from the Palmer Raids onwards, including an examination of his private life as an alleged closeted homosexual. Reviews towards the film were mostly mixed, with many critics commending DiCaprio's performance but feeling that, overall, the film lacked coherence. Roger Ebert praised DiCaprio's performance as a "fully-realized, subtle and persuasive performance, hinting at more than Hoover ever revealed, perhaps even to himself."
In 2012, DiCaprio starred as villainous Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western, Django Unchained. While filming Django Unchained, DiCaprio accidentally cut his hand on glass, but continued filming despite the injury, and Tarantino elected to use the take in the final movie. The film received positive reviews from critics and earned DiCaprio his ninth nomination from the Golden Globes. Django Unchained grossed $424 million worldwide.
DiCaprio's next film was The Great Gatsby, again with Baz Luhrmann (who directed him in Romeo + Juliet in 1996), an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, also starring Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire; the film was released on May 10, 2013. It received mixed reviews from critics, however DiCaprio's portrayal as Jay Gatsby was praised. Critic Rafer Guzman of Newsday praised DiCaprio by stating, "As for Leonardo DiCaprio, he is now the Gatsby to beat. Despite a borderline comedic entrance – haloed by fireworks and accompanied by Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"—DiCaprio nails this maddeningly enigmatic character. He's as tough as Alan Ladd in '49, as suave as Redford in '74, but also vulnerable, touching, funny, a faker, a human. You hear it all in Gatsby's favorite phrase, "old sport," a verbal tic that stumped other actors. It's a tremendous, hard-won performance." Matt Zoller Seitz of Roger Ebert.com described his performance as Gatsby as "The movie's greatest and simplest special effect," and states "This is an iconic performance — maybe his career best." The film grossed $348 million worldwide and became Luhrmann's highest-grossing film.
DiCaprio reunited with Scorsese for the fifth time in The Wolf of Wall Street, a film based on the life of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who was arrested in the late 1990s for securities fraud and money laundering. Filming began on August 8, 2012, in New York, and the film was released on December 25, 2013. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and his fourth Academy Award nomination for acting. In January 2013, DiCaprio said he was going to take a long break from acting and would "fly around the world doing good for the environment."
In 2015, DiCaprio played fur trapper Hugh Glass in the survival drama The Revenant, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The film was well received by critics and DiCaprio's performance garnered universal acclaim that earned him numerous awards, including his first win at the Academy Awards in the Best Actor category, his eleventh nomination and third win at Golden Globes in the Best Actor Drama category, and his first BAFTA award for Best Actor.
On August 10, 2015, it was announced that Martin Scorsese will direct an adaptation of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, which will star DiCaprio with a screenplay to be written by Billy Ray. In October 2015, Appian Way acquired the movie rights for a book about the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
On October 21, 2016, it was announced that DiCaprio will portray Sam Phillips, founder of Memphis-based Sun Studio, in the forthcoming film based on Peter Guralnick's book Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll.
In 2017, Paramount announced that it has acquired the movie rights for an English language adaptation of The Black Hand. The new film, due for release in 2018, will star DiCaprio as Joe Petrosino, and will be partly based on Stephan Talty's novelization of Petrosino's assassination.
In August 2017, Paramount won a bidding war against Universal Pictures for the rights to adapt Walter Isaacson's biography of Leonardo da Vinci. The studio bought the rights under its deal with DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions, which said that it planned to produce the film with DiCaprio as the star.
DiCaprio's romantic relationships have been widely covered in the media. In 1997 DiCaprio dated the British singer Emma Bunton. He also dated the actress Bijou Phillips and the models Kristen Zang and Emma Miller. In 2000, he met Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, whom he dated until 2005. He was romantically involved with Israeli model Bar Refaeli from 2005 to 2011, during which time he met with Israeli president Shimon Peres and visited Refaeli's hometown of Hod HaSharon.
DiCaprio owns a home in Los Angeles and an apartment in Battery Park City, New York. In 2009, he bought an island off mainland Belize, on which he is planning to create an eco-friendly resort. In 2014, he purchased the original Dinah Shore residence designed by mid-century modern architect Donald Wexler in Palm Springs, California.
In 2005, DiCaprio's face was severely injured when model Aretha Wilson hit him over the head with a broken bottle at a Hollywood party. After pleading guilty in 2010, Wilson was sentenced to prison for two years.
During the 2004 presidential election, DiCaprio campaigned and donated to John Kerry's presidential bid. The FEC showed that DiCaprio gave $2,300 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign in the 2008 election, the maximum contribution an individual could give in that election cycle, and $5,000 to Obama's 2012 campaign.
DiCaprio is agnostic.
Following the success of Titanic in 1997 along with earlier films, 24-year-old DiCaprio established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting environmental awareness. Although concerned with all areas of the environment, it focuses on global warming, preserving Earth's biodiversity and supporting renewable energy. It has worked on projects in over 40 countries and has produced two short web documentaries, Water Planet and Global Warning.
Because of his active involvement in those causes, he has received praise from environmental groups. Among the accolades received were the Martin Litton Environment Award, in 2001, from Environment Now, and the Environmental Leadership Award in 2003 from Global Green USA.
DiCaprio chaired the national Earth Day celebration in 2000, where he interviewed President Bill Clinton and they discussed plans to deal with global warming and the environment. In 2007 he had a major role in The 11th Hour, a documentary about people's relationship to nature and global warming. He co-produced, co-wrote and narrated the film. From a benefit "11th Hour" fine art auction he organized in 2013, he raised nearly $40 million to toward his foundation. He told attendees, "Bid as if the fate of the planet depended on us." It became the world's highest-grossing environmental charity event ever held. DiCaprio states that global warming is the world's "number-one environmental challenge".
In July 2016 his foundation awarded $15.6 million to help protect wildlife and the rights of Native Americans, along with combating climate change. And in July 2017, a charity auction and celebrity concert put on by the foundation had raised over $30 million in its opening days and was set to continue the following month.
He has been an active supporter of numerous environmental organizations and has sat on the board of the World Wildlife Fund, Global Green USA, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Natural Resources Defense Council. He traveled to Indonesia in early 2016 where he criticized the government's palm oil industry's slash-and-burn forest clearing methods.
At the 2007 Oscar ceremony, DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore appeared to announce that the Academy Awards had incorporated environmentally intelligent practices in its production. He presented at the 2007 American leg of Live Earth, and in 2010 his environmental work earned DiCaprio a nomination for the VH1 Do Something Award, honoring people who do good. In 2014 he was appointed as a United Nations representative on climate change, and later that year he made an opening statement to members of the UN Climate Summit. He again spoke at the UN in April 2016 prior to the signing of Paris Climate Change Agreement.
In 2015, DiCaprio executive produced a new Netflix-exclusive cut of Cowspiracy. The film explored the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and the positions of several environmental organizations on the issue. He also executive-produced and appeared in Before the Flood, a 2016 documentary film examining various aspects of global warming.
In accepting his Best Actor award at the 2016 Oscars ceremony, DiCaprio stated:
Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.
DiCaprio has owned environment-friendly electric-hybrid vehicles and his home is powered by solar panels, although his use of private jets and large yachts has attracted criticism due to their large carbon footprints.
In November 2010, DiCaprio donated $1 million to the Wildlife Conservation Society at Russia's tiger summit. DiCaprio's persistence in reaching the event after encountering two plane delays caused then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to describe him as a "muzhik" or "real man". In 2011, DiCaprio joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund's campaign to free Tony, a tiger who has spent the last decade at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tête, Louisiana.
In early 2016, at a meeting with Pope Francis, he gave a charity donation and spoke about environmental issues. A few days later, possibly influenced by his meeting with DiCaprio, the Pope said he would act in a planned faith-based charity film, Beyond the Sun. It would be his first acting experience, and would also be the first time in history that a Pope appeared in a feature film. Profits from the film would be given to charities in Argentina.
In October 2016, DiCaprio joined forces with Mark Ruffalo in North Dakota in support of the Standing Rock tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In April 2017, he promoted and protested President Trump's inaction on climate change by attending the 2017 People's Climate March.
In 1998, DiCaprio and his mother donated $35,000 for a "Leonardo DiCaprio Computer Center" at the Los Feliz branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, the site of his childhood home. It was rebuilt after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and opened in early 1999. During the filming of Blood Diamond, DiCaprio worked with 24 orphaned children from the SOS Children's Village in Maputo, Mozambique, and was said to be extremely touched by his interactions with the children. In 2010, he donated $1 million to relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake.
In April 2013, DiCaprio donated $61,000 to GLAAD, an organization which promotes the image of LGBT people in the media.Leonardo DiCaprio filmographyList of awards and nominations received by Leonardo DiCaprio