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De Niro: A Life by Shawn Levy
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De Niro: A Life (2014)

by Shawn Levy

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If you are reading this book looking to find some new insight into Robert DeNiro, or some tasty gossip about his personal life you will be sadly disappointed. If you want a complete and thorough bibliography of his filmography and professional life you will be thrilled. I was looking for something closer to the gossipy personal look at DeNiro, and therefore was somewhat bored by this documentation of his professional life. There are stories sprinkled throughout the encyclopedic documentation, however DeNiro was never personally interviewed by the author, therefore everything in the book is either a second-hand tale or something that had previously been documented and is now referenced in this book. The author also offers personal opinions every so often of DeNiro and his films and choices, which isn't really relevant in this non-fiction account. The author has certainly done his research and assembled a very long and storied account I won this book via First Reads, and while it is an extremely thorough account of DeNiro's professional offerings I would have enjoyed it more had the subject been involved in the making of a more personally told account of his life. ( )
  mandersj73 | Apr 27, 2015 |
I sent this book to my brother who is a lover of autobiographies. He will give me his review and I will post it up for everyone. ( )
  kat32969 | Apr 20, 2015 |
A biography of Robert De Niro that is heavy on this prolific movie output and not so much on his personal life. Probably just as Bob would have it being of a more secretive nature. We do get a glimpse of the man behind the scenes though and like most actors and us also see the flaws as well as the positives. One aspect that comes out in the book is the incredible work ethic and his relentless drive to research and understand what he wants his characters to project. I was surprised and the number of films he made and also what is top earners turned out to be. A worthwhile read but nothing shocking or revealing comes out of it. ( )
  knightlight777 | Dec 11, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307716783, Hardcover)

REMARKABLE BIOGRAPHY OF AN ICON

There’s little debate that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest screen actors of his generation, perhaps of all time--if not, in fact, the greatest. His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. Mean Streets, the Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, the Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull all dazzled moviegoers and critics alike, displaying a talent the likes of which had rarely--if ever--been seen. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, assuming that role completely into his own life, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances. 

Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro--he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by inarticulateness and palpable awkwardness. It can be almost painful to watch at times, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. In this elegant and compelling biography, bestselling writer Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros--the characters and the man--seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists (his father, the abstract painter Robert De Niro Sr., was widely celebrated) who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restauranteur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about  a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry. His many friendships with the likes of Martin Scorsese,  Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel, Shelley Winters, Francis Ford Coppola, among many others, are woven into this extraordinary portrait of DeNiro the man and the artist, also adding a depth of understanding not before seen. 

Levy has had unprecedented access to De Niro's personal research and production materials, creating a new impression of the effort that went into the actor's legendary performances. The insights gained from DeNiro’s intense working habits shed new perspective on DeNiro’s thinking and portrayals and are wonderful to read.  Levy also spoke to De Niro's collaborators and friends to depict De Niro's transition from an ambitious young man to a transfixing and enigmatic artist and cultural figure.

Shawn Levy has written a truly engaging, insightful, and entertaining portrait of one of the most wonderful film artists of our time, a book that is worthy of such a great talent.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:26 -0400)

There's little debate that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest screen actors of his generation, perhaps of all time. His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances. Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro--he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by palpable awkwardness, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. In this compelling biography, Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros--the characters and the man--seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restaurateur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry.--From publisher description.… (more)

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