Al Pacino

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Al Pacino, pictured at the age of 21.

Al Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is an American film actor.

He was born Alfred James Pacino in The Bronx, New York, the son of Salvatore and Rose Pacino. His parents divorced while Pacino was still a child. He is of Sicilian heritage; Pacino's maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Corleone, Sicily.

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 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.

His 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, the first actor to ever receive both nominations in the same year; Jamie Foxx was nominated for both in 2005. (The actress Julianne Moore repeated the feat in 2003, however she did not win either award). 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.

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 arguably a poor film, and he 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, Donnie Brasco and The Recruit. 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.

Although he 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 longtime girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo.


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