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Thread: New book about Robert De Niro lays bare his secrets

  1. #1
    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    Default New book about Robert De Niro lays bare his secrets

    Cocaine binges. Compulsive womanising. Vicious rages. A new book about the Hollywood giant lays him bare... De Niro's darkest secrets


    • In De Niro: A Life, film writer Shawn Levy offers rare insight into the actor
    • At height of fame life spiralled into cocaine abuse and womanising
    • Preferred relationships to have no strings so he could see other women
    • Had flings with Uma Thurman, Whitney Houston and Naomi Campbell

    By TOM LEONARD IN NEW YORK
    PUBLISHED: 01:34, 28 November 2014 | UPDATED: 08:35, 28 November 2014


    He is famous for inhabiting his screen roles so completely that they come alive in a way few actors can match. But Robert De Niro, who actually became a New York cabbie before playing one in Taxi Driver, remains an enigma himself.
    The star is so notoriously sphinx-like about his private life that even co-stars have admitted they haven’t a clue what he is really like.
    Now, an exhaustive biography has claimed that De Niro’s obsessive secretiveness may cover more than his natural shyness.



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    At the height of his fame his life spiralled into cocaine abuse (Pictured with Uma Thurman in Mad Dog And Glory in 1993)

    At the height of his fame — when he had conquered showbusiness with films such as Raging Bull and The Deer Hunter — his life spiralled into cocaine abuse and a friendship with comedian John Belushi that had tragic consequences.
    In De Niro: A Life, film writer Shawn Levy also reveals new details about the actor’s compulsive womanising and sometimes high-handed treatment of the black women he chose to seduce, including claims that he pressured one of them to have an abortion.
    He may not have appeared in a truly great film for more than 20 years, but De Niro is still spoken of with awe by movie buffs who recall his glory years in the Seventies and Eighties.

    This was an actor so perfectionist that he learnt a Sicilian dialect to play mobster Vito Corleone for The Godfather II, and put on 70lb and took up boxing for his Oscar-winning role as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull.
    Although biographer Levy is star-struck by De Niro’s brooding performances, he admits the actor could be thin-skinned, quick-tempered and focused on his career above all else.


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    Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980). He won Best Actor for the performance at the Oscars



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    The actor plays Travis Bickle in 1976 movie Taxi Driver - a film which also starred actress Cybill Shepherd

    Socially, he was something of a cold fish. When his first marriage, to actress Diahnne Abbott, effectively ended in separation in 1979, he publicly blamed the pressures of celebrity. But Levy says that afterwards he pursued the bachelor life with ‘single-minded purpose’.
    According to Levy, De Niro became more publicity-averse, partly because ‘increasingly he was living a lifestyle that he was keen never to have revealed’.
    Raised in a bohemian home in New York’s Greenwich Village, the driven De Niro had had no time for Sixties hippy drug culture. But the following decade, along with many in Hollywood, he indulged heavily in cocaine.
    A shared love of the white powder lay behind his unlikely friendship with comic actor John Belushi, says Levy. The intense, bottled-up actor and the madcap comedian would regularly carouse the night away in Los Angeles and New York.
    In February 1982, both were staying at the Chateau Marmont hotel in LA. Belushi’s drug abuse was so severe he was snorting heroin. At 3am one morning, after a night of excess with Robin Williams — who killed himself three months ago — De Niro turned up at Belushi’s bungalow in the hotel grounds


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    De Niro preferred his relationships to have no strings, so he could see other women. Pictured above with Toukie Smith

    There, Levy claims, he ‘let himself in, helped himself to a little bit of the cocaine displayed on a table, and left again’, saying barely a word to Belushi. When the hotel manager told him the next day that Belushi had died hours later from an accidental drug overdose, De Niro cried.
    The actor was even more ‘horrified’ because the tragedy had a terrible twist. Belushi had wanted to play a rock star in his next film and planned to imitate De Niro’s technique of immersing himself in a role, says Levy. This would involve him injecting himself with real heroin.
    After Belushi’s death, a mutual friend named Richard Bear allegedly reminded De Niro that he had heard the two actors discussing the idea only days earlier.
    Investigators later found the death to be due to a deadly cocktail of heroin and cocaine, called a speedball, administered by a female friend of Belushi.
    De Niro’s sex life was also messy in those heady years, Levy recounts. After he split from Diahnne, Hollywood gossip was that he was involved with the actress Bette Midler in the early Eighties, when she was unmarried. There were plenty more.
    One relationship that came back to haunt him was with Helena Springs, a stunning black singer. She recalls how De Niro followed her in his car through Los Angeles one day and asked her out for lunch.


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    He may not have appeared in a truly great film for more than 20 years, but De Niro is still spoken of with awe by movie buffs who recall his glory years in the Seventies and Eighties



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    The new biography contains several accusations of De Niro (pictured left in 1990 movie Goodfellas) bullying women

    De Niro prefered his relationships to have no strings, so he could see other women, and this is how his affair with Springs continued for several years.
    Springs has claimed she aborted her first pregnancy without telling him but, when it happened again in 1981, she said she decided she would have the child. De Niro was not happy. There followed ‘what she described as a series of ugly and intimidating conversations and encounters aimed at getting her to terminate the pregnancy’, says Levy.
    After she gave birth to a daughter, Nina, De Niro gave her $50,000 but refused to provide his medical history or a blood sample, fearing she would use these to extract more money.
    Ten years later Springs sued him for child support and De Niro did submit to a blood test, which showed he wasn’t the father.
    The new biography contains other accusations of De Niro bullying women. Actress Cybill Shepherd starred with him in the 1976 drama Taxi Driver and said there was ‘enormous chemistry’ between them. But when he asked her out, she turned him down.
    According to film director Peter Bogdanovich, Shepherd’s boyfriend at the time, De Niro then made her life hell on set.
    If De Niro was famously inarticulate in interviews, he had no trouble chatting up women. His ‘type’ was black, bosomy, slender-waisted and very pretty. He would often chase women in his car, accost them at public events and even see them on TV or in print, then contact them through third parties.
    His girlfriends in the Eighties included a Page Three girl from South London named Gillian de Terville. In the Nineties he started seeing supermodel Naomi Campbell (then barely 20 years old) after she split up with boxer Mike Tyson. They broke up several times but kept reuniting.
    In the 1990s he also had ‘dalliances’ with singer Whitney Houston and model Veronica Webb, and occasional dates with his co-star Uma Thurman, writes Levy.
    A woman who outlasted many in the actor’s attentions was a vivacious New York model named Toukie Smith.
    She and De Niro had twin sons together — born by surrogate — in 1995, but never married. The actor’s affections instead switched to Grace Hightower, a model and former flight attendant, and they wed in 1997.


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    De Niro learnt a Sicilian dialect to play mobster Vito Corleone (pictured) for The Godfather II



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    De Niro poses with his current wife Grace Hightower who he married in 1997


    Robert De Niro with his wife and daughter at NYC gala





    De Niro’s name continued to attract salacious headlines, though. In 1998, he was questioned by police in Paris over possible involvement in a high-class prostitution ring. One of the girls, an English porn star, told police she’d had a relationship with De Niro. He didn’t deny it, but insisted he had never paid for her company — which prosecutors accepted.
    Though De Niro is still married to Grace Hightower, it has been a tempestuous partnership.
    Some have blamed De Niro’s failure to establish stable relationships with the opposite sex on him seeing his mother do the same.
    She left De Niro’s father — a renowned expressionist painter, who was bisexual — after just two years’ marriage, and her son watched with dismay as she went through a string of short-lived boyfriends.
    He was an only child, and Levy believes it was the loneliness of those years — raised among adults with, often, no playmates — that helps to explain the secretive and guarded man he became. It may also explain why he became such a driven and brilliant actor.


    Read more: A new book about the Hollywood giant lays him bare... De Niro's darkest secretsÂ* | Daily Mail Online


  2. #2
    Elite Member Mrs P's Avatar
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    I think I'm going to watch Casino today now.
    A*O likes this.

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    Elite Member Bombshell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs P View Post
    I think I'm going to watch Casino today now.

    Ok. See you in three days when it's over.
    BoogsBun, Belt Up, Sylkyn and 3 others like this.
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    Elite Member Sylkyn's Avatar
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    ^ ^ No shit. I have only watched it once for that very reason. That movie was barely edited at all...way too long.
    None of this would surprise me about him. I think he's a great actor but I've always figured he was a raging prick in "real life".

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I remember a rumor about the Whitney Houston hookup that was pretty bizarre.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bombshell View Post
    Ok. See you in three days when it's over.
    Love that movie. My favorite part is when Joe Pesce (sp?) is narrating then gets thrown in a hole in the ground with his brother.
    BITTER and Bombshell like this.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crayzeehappee View Post
    Love that movie. My favorite part is when Joe Pesce (sp?) is narrating then gets thrown in a hole in the ground with his brother.
    That was the first scene I saw from that movie. I had fallen asleep on the couch with the tv on, and woke up because there was a lot of shouting. I look at the screen and Pesce is getting slugged by an aluminum bat.

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    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    DeNiro, a difficult, reserved, temperamental womanizer? Nooooo. I may faint. Tell me something I couldn't have guessed!

    He was so hot around the time of Taxi Driver though. This may sound like a serial killer thing to say but he had the most delicious looking skin. I wanted to lick him.

    Mostly, I really wish I could've secretly watched him and Robin Williams getting coked out of their gourds. How bizarre (and potentially hilarious) was that evening? We can only imagine...sigh.
    sputnik, BITTER and idunno like this.
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    I used to see him all the time when we lived in NYC. Most of the time, I'd be walking to the grocery store with my tikes in their double stroller. After about the fourth or fifth time, we started nodding or smiling as we passed, and eventually, even short pleasantries, i.e., "How are you?, "Happy Holidays," "Cold, huh?" All in passing, I never slowed my pace or attempted a more in-depth chat, and obviously neither did he! Still, he seemed like a decent guy from those meager encounters.

    I had the same kind of thing with Pacino, though he actually got a bit chatty a couple of times - with my little boys, not me, lol.

  10. #10
    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I remember a rumor about the Whitney Houston hookup that was pretty bizarre.
    According to that unauthorized bio on Whitney written in the 90s, Cissy and John did not approve AT ALL, primarily because of Whitney's age.

    That is an awful picture of Toukie Smith. Her legs look like baseball bats.


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