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Alfredo James "Al" Pacino (born April 25,
1940) is an Academy Award-winning American stage and film actor,
regarded by many to be one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Birth name: Alfredo James Pacino
Date of birth: April 25, 1940
Birth location: South Bronx, New York City,
Height: 5 ft 6 in / 1.68 m
Notable role(s): Michael Corleone in The
Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon
Tony Montana in Scarface
Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of
Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way
Academy Awards: Best Actor, 1992
Scent of a Woman
Pacino was born in The Bronx, New York to
Italian-American parents Salvatore Pacino (who was born in the Sicilian
town of Corleone) and Rose Gerard (the daughter of an Italian-born
father and a New York-born mother of Italian descent). His parents
divorced while Pacino was still a child. His grandparents originated
from Corleone, Sicily. His father Salvatore moved to Covina, California,
working as an insurance salesman and owner of his own restaurant called
Pacino's Lounge. Tough times forced the closure of Pacino's in the early
1990s; it's now called Citrus Grill. Salvatore passed away on January 1,
2005 at the age of 82.
In 1966, Pacino studied under legendary
acting coach Lee Strasberg (alongside whom he would later feature in the
1974 film The Godfather Part II), 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. Yet 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 movie debut came in 1969's Me, Natalie, which went largely
unnoticed (except for a boffo performance from Patty Duke). But it was
the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, in which he played a heroin
addict, that would showcase his talents and bring him to the attention
of director Francis Ford Coppola.
Pacino (right) in The Godfather.Pacino's
rise to fame came after portraying Michael Corleone in Coppola's
blockbuster 1972 Mafia film The Godfather and Frank Serpico in the
eponymous 1973 movie. Although numerous established actors, including
Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and a then unknown Robert De Niro, were
vying to portray Michael Corleone, Coppola selected the relatively
unknown Pacino. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination
for Best Supporting Actor. In 1973 Pacino starred in the very successful
Serpico and the less popular Scarecrow alongside Gene Hackman. 1974 saw
The Godfather Part II. In 1975, Pacino reached the first height of his
popularity when Dog Day Afternoon was released. The film was based on
the true story of bank robber John Wojtowicz. Other minor works to close
out the decade include Bobby Deerfield and ...And Justice for All, which
some perceive to be his most underrated performances.
By the end of the 1970s he would have three
more nominations, all for Best Actor.
Pacino's career slumped in the early 1980s
and his appearances in the controversial Cruising and the comedy-drama
Author! Author! were critically panned. 1983's Scarface later proved to
be both a career highlight and a defining role. When the film was first
released, it too was hammered critically and became yet another flop at
the box office. However, it did earn Pacino a Golden Globe nomination
for his performance as a Cuban drug lord who (among other things) cries
out the now famous line, punctuated by a grenade launcher blast, "You
wanna play rough? Okay! Say hello to my little friend!". (The film was a
loose remake of Howard Hawks 1932 original, which starred Paul Muni in
the pivotal title role.) It wasn't until almost 20 years later, that
Scarface began to find its success when a new generation embraced the
film. That newly found recognition, however, had more to do with the
film's attitude than with any acknowledgment of any cinematic
excellence. Nevertheless, the role and film succeeded in elevating
Pacino to iconic status, a place of popularity which continues to
benefit from the mega marketing blitz of product, from T-Shirts, to
action figures, to hip-hop emulations, among plenty of other marketing
1985's Revolution continued Pacino's string
of commercial and critical failures, and he returned to stage work for
four years. He mounted workshop productions of Crystal Clear, National
Anthems and other plays; appeared in Julius Caesar in 1988 for producer
Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival; and worked on his most
personal project, The Local Stigmatic, a play he had starred in Off
Broadway in 1969, then remounted in 1985 with director David Wheeler and
the Theater Company of Boston in order to film a 50-minute movie version
unreleased as of 2005.
Pacino remarked on his hiatus from film: "I
remember back when everything was happening, '74, '75, doing The
Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui on stage and reading that the reason I'd
gone back to the stage was that my movie career was waning! That's been
the kind of ethos, the way in which theater's perceived, unfortunately."
Pacino returned to film in 1989's Sea of
Love, which signaled a return to form. Just a year later, he received an
Oscar nomination as Big Boy Caprice in the box office hit Dick Tracy. It
would take 4 more years, but in 1992 Pacino finally won an Oscar, for
Best Actor, for his portrayal of the depressed, irascible, retired and
blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Martin Brest's Scent of a Woman.
That same year, he was also up for the supporting award for his role in
Glengarry Glen Ross, making Pacino the first male actor ever to receive
two acting nominations for two different movies in the same year, and
the first actor of either gender to achieve that feat, and then proceed
to win the Best Actor Oscar. (Jamie Foxx did the same in 2005.) Pacino
has since turned in acclaimed performances in such crime thrillers as
Carlito's Way, Heat, and Insomnia, the crime docudrama Donnie Brasco,
the multi-Oscar nominated The Insider, the supernatural drama The
Devil's Advocate, and others.
In 1995, Pacino starred in Michael Mann's
Heat, in which he and fellow film icon Robert De Niro appeared on screen
together for the first time (though both Pacino and De Niro starred in
The Godfather Part II, they didn't share any scenes). The duo drew much
attention from fans; both actors have generally been compared throughout
their careers; both performances are considered indisputable
masterpieces. Their tensely engaging interplay, especially in the famous
diner scene when McCauley (DeNiro) explains "the discipline" to Lt.
Hanna (Pacino), amounts to nothing less than an acting tour de force
carried off with stylistically incomparable expertise.
Pacino has not received another nomination
from the Academy since Scent of a Woman, but has won two Golden Globes
since the turn of the 21st century, the first being the Cecil B. DeMille
Award for lifetime achievement in motion picture, and the second for his
role in the highly praised HBO miniseries Angels in America.
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, Richard Sherman in a remake of The Seven Year
Itch (which was never filmed) and Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman. In 1996,
Pacino was set to play General Manuel Noriega in a major biographical
motion picture when director Oliver Stone pulled the plug on production
to focus on the movie Nixon.
Additionally, Pacino had recently turned
down the offer to reprise the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather:
The Game, due to the fact that his voice had changed dramatically since
he played the young Michael. As a result, Electronic Arts could not use
Pacino's likeness or voice in the game (although Michael does appear in
it). It is rumoured that this decision was made by Pacino due to a
conflict with EA's rival game publisher, Vivendi Universal, which is
preparing to publish a competing movie-to-game adaptation of the 1983
remake of Scarface, titled Scarface: The World is Yours.
The qualitative consistency of Pacino's
performances, as well as his larger-than-life onscreen presence, has
established him as one of the world's major actors. Pacino still
performs theater work and has also dabbled in directing. While The Local
Stigmatic remains unreleased, his theatrical feature Looking for Richard
and his film festival-screened Chinese Coffee earned good notices.
Several characters essayed by Pacino are famous in popular culture. On
the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains, he is only the second
actor to have three appearances on both lists: on the heroes as Frank
Serpico and on the villains list as Tony Montana and Michael Corleone.
With takings comparatively quiet at the
box-office of late, Pacino looks like stepping up a gear in 2007 with
several new projects. He will star in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean's
Thirteen, alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Andy Garcia.
Also scheduled for release is Rififi, a
remake of the 1955 French original based on the novel by Auguste Le
Breton. Pacino plays a career thief just out of prison who finds his
wife has left him and so in his anger starts planning a heist. 
Pacino suffered from a throat disorder in
the mid-1980s which forced him to stop smoking cigarettes. In Sea of
Love, he sounded noticibly different, the beginning of his now-famous
dark, owly eyes and hoarse, deep voice. He hasn't stopped smoking, but
he has successfully transfered his habit to herbal cigarettes.
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
ex-girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo.
On the set of The Recruit, he met and
befriended Colin Farrell, who regards Pacino as an idol. Pacino later
called Farrell the most talented actor of his generation.
Pacino rarely grants interviews, so when he
decided in 2005 to reveal more of himself than he ever has before, the
world welcomed this new glimpse into his personal and professional
lives. see Al Pacino in his own words: conversations, 1979-2005, ed.
Lawrence Grobel (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2006).
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Was voted the Number 1 greatest movie star
of all time in a Channel 4 (UK) poll.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of
Fame. (16 October 1997)
Ranked #4 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The
Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. (October 1997)
Was arrested in January 1961, charged with
carrying a concealed weapon.
Son of Salvatore Pacino (insurance agent)
and Rose Pacino (she died when Al was 22).
He has a daughter, named Julie Marie, with
acting teacher Jan Tarrant.
Dropped out of school at the age of 17.
Favoruite food is Tesco beef and onion
Turned down the role of Ted Kramer in
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
Turned down Born on the Fourth of July
Turned down Pretty Woman (1990).
Turned down Crimson Tide (1995).
Originally asked for $7 million for The
Godfather: Part III (1990), a figure that so enraged director Francis
Ford Coppola that he threatened to write a new script that opened with
Michael Corleone's funeral. Pacino settled for $5 million.
Father of twins Anton and Olivia (b. 25
January 2001), with Beverly D'Angelo.
His grandparents originate from Corleone,
Was frequently referred to as "that midget
Pacino" by producers of The Godfather (1972) who didn't want him for the
part of Michael Corleone.
Francis Ford Coppola asked Pacino to play
Captain Willard in his film Apocalypse Now (1979). Pacino politely
turned down the offer, saying he'd "do anything" for Francis but he
"woudn't go to war with him!"
Stopped a 2-pack-a-day smoking habit in
1994 to protect his voice. He now only occasionally smokes herbal
Al was so much into character (playing a
plain-clothes NYC cop) while filming Serpico (1973) he actually pulled
over and threatened to arrest a truck driver for exhaust pollution.
Is an avid fan of opera.
Once worked as an usher at Carnegie Hall.
Larry King considers Pacino's appearance on
his show Larry King Live (1985) in November 1996 as one of his personal
all-time favorite interviews.
As of 2002, his salary was around $10
million a picture.
One of the few Hollywood stars who has
Despite the fact that he starred in The
Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui for Off-Broadway scale pay (the minimum
salary allowed by Actor's Equity), the production had the highest ticket
price in Off-Broadway history at $100 per ticket.
He is one of the elite ten thespians to
have been nominated for both a Supporting and Lead Acting Academy Award
in the same year. The other nine are Barry Fitzgerald, Fay Bainter,
Teresa Wright, Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Emma Thompson, Holly
Hunter, Julianne Moore and Jamie Foxx. Pacino was the second male actor,
after Barry Fitzgerald, to have been nominated for both a Best
Supporting Actor and a Best Actor Oscar in the same year; the third is
actor Jamie Foxx in 2005. Pacino was nominated in 1993 for Scent of a
Woman (1992) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992); Foxx in 2005 for Ray (2004)
and Collateral (2004). Both won the Best Actor award and played blind
men in their roles: Pacino as Frank Slade and Foxx as Ray Charles.
Won two Tony Awards: in 1969 as Best
Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?
and in 1977 as Best. Actor (Play) for The Basic Training of Pavlo
Won his first Oscar twenty-one years after
his first nomination.
He and Chris Sarandon improvised their
scene on the phone in the film Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Studied acting under Charles Laughton.
He is an avid Shakespeare fan.
For a short while, he was the only actor to
be in the #1 Best and Worst Movie on IMDb: The Godfather (1972) and
In a Playboy magazine interview, he claimed
that he was fired from his job as a movie theater usher while walking
down the staircase and admiring himself in the mirrored wall.
Portrayed crime bosses in The Godfather
Trilogy, Scarface (1983) and Dick Tracy (1990).
In 2004 he became the eighteenth performer
to win the Triple Crown of Acting. Oscar: Best Actor, Scent of a Woman
(1992); Tonys: Best Supporting Actor-Play Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?
(1969) and Best Actor-Play The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1977);
and Emmy: Best Actor-Miniseries/Movie, Angels in America (2003).
Pacino was rejected repeatedly by studio
heads while auditioning for the role of Michael in The Godfather (1972)
but Francis Ford Coppola fought for him. This film was shot briskly
because both the director and the leading actor were in constant fear of
being fired. Ironically, the film turned out to be a breakthrough for
He is the stepson of actress and make-up
artist Katherin Kovin-Pacino.
He has four sisters: Josette, a teacher,
twins Roberta and Paula, and a younger sister named Desiree, whom
Pacino's father adopted whilst married to his fourth wife.
Was a longtime member of David Wheeler's
Theatre Company of Boston, for which he performed in Richard III in
Boston from Dec 1972 to Jan 1973 and at the Cort Theater in New York
City from June 10 to July 15, 1979. He also appeared in their
productions of Bertolt Brecht's Aurturo Ui at the Charles Theater in
Boston in 1975 and later in New York and London, and in David Rabe's The
Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel at the Longacre Theater in New York in
1977, for which Pacino won a Tony Award. Wheeler also directed Pacino in
Heathcote Williams' The Local Stigmatic for Joseph Papp's Public Theater
in New York City in 1976. Pacino appeared in a 1989 film of Stigmatic,
directed by Wheeler that was presented at the Cinémathèque in Los
Was the recipient of the 2001 Cecil B.
DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his
"outstanding contribution to the entertainment field".
Won the Best Actor Obie (awarded for the
best Off-Broadway performances) for The Indian Wants The Bronx in 1968.
Was also nominated for a Best Actor Obie for Why Is a Crooked Letter in
His performance in the Broadway play Does a
Tiger Wear a Necktie? won him a Tony Award for Best Dramatic Supporting
Actor, and a Drama Desk Award and Theatre World Award for Best
Supporting Actor in 1969.
Turned down the lead role of Roy Neary in
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
While Paramount brass dithered over whether
to cast him as Michael Corleone, the role that would make him a star, a
frustrated Pacino signed up for the role of Mario Trantino in The Gang
That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971). When Paramount finally decided to
offer him the role in The Godfather (1972), they had to buy him out of
his contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ironically, the role went to
Robert De Niro, whom The Godfather: Part II (1974) would make a star.
His favorite actress is Julie Christie.
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #37 on a
list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our
Constellation feature (2005).
Grew up in the South Bronx, New York City.
Attended The High School of the Performing
Arts until he dropped out.
Was John Schlesinger's original pick for
Marathon Man (1976) but producer Robert Evans insisted that Schlesinger
cast Dustin Hoffman instead.
Has a production company called Chal
Productions. The "Ch" is in tribute Charles Laughton while the "Al" is
Worked in the mail room of Commentary
Shares a birthday with Talia Shire, his
co-star in The Godfather films, and Hank Azaria, co-star in Heat.
Speaks fluent Spanish.
His favorite color is black.
Briefly worked as a stand-up comic early in
Early in his acting career, he considered
changing his name to "Sonny Scott" to avoid being typecast by his
Italian name. "Sonny" was his childhood nickname.
Alec Baldwin, who co-starred with Pacino in
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and Looking for Richard (1996), wrote a 65
page final thesis on Al Pacino and method acting for his degree at New
York University (NYU).
Was friends with John Cazale since they
were teenagers. They starred together in Dog Day Afternoon (1975), The
Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Godfather (1972)
He is only one of four actors to be
nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate
films. He was nominated as for The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather:
Part II (1974). The others are Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in The
Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money (1986), Bing Crosby as Father
O'Malley in Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), and
Peter O'Toole as Henry II in Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter
He and Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor
Awards back-to-back. Both of them won for playing characters that had
previously been played by other actors (Vittorio Gassman and Brian Cox,
respectively). They also both played their roles opposite Philip Seymour
Hoffman, who appears in both Scent of a Woman (1992) and Red Dragon
(2002). He and Hopkins have also both appeared in remake of a Michael
Mann film. Hopkins appeared in the Manhunter (1986) remake Red Dragon
(2002), and Pacino appeared in the L.A. Takedown (1989, TV) remake, Heat
Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger
envisioned a cast of Pacino, Julie Christie and Laurence Olivier for
Marathon Man (1976). Pacino has said that the only actress he had ever
wanted to work with was Christie, who he claimed was "the most poetic of
actresses." Producer Robert Evans, who disparaged the vertically
challenged Pacino as "The Midget" when Francis Ford Coppola wanted him
for The Godfather (1972) and had thought of firing him during the early
shooting of the now-classic film, vetoed Pacino for the lead. Instead,
Evans insisted on the casting of the even-shorter Dustin Hoffman. On her
part, Christie -- who was notoriously finicky about accepting parts,
even in prestigious, sure-fire material -- turned down the female lead,
which was then taken by Marthe Keller (who, ironically, became Pacino's
lover after co-starring with him in Bobby Deerfield (1977)). Of his
dream cast, Schlesinger only got Olivier, who was nominated for a Best
Supporting Actor Oscar. Pacino has yet to co-star with Christie.
Turned down the role of Richard Sherman for
a remake of The Seven Year Itch (1955) which was never filmed.
Turned down role as Michael Corleone in the
His performance as Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day
Afternoon (1975) is ranked #4 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest
Performances of All Time (2006).
His performance as Michael Corleone in The
Godfather: Part II (1974) is ranked #20 on Premiere Magazine's 100
Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
His performance as Tony Montana in Scarface
(1983) is ranked #74 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie
Characters of All Time.
His performance as Michael Corleone in The
Godfather: Part II (1974) is ranked #11 on the American Film Institute's
100 Heroes & Villains.
His performance as Frank Serpico in Serpico
(1973) is ranked #40 on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes &
Was director Bryan Singer's first choice
for the role of Dave Kujan in The Usual Suspects (1995). Pacino passed
on the role and has since stated that that is the role he regrets
passing on the most.
According to the book "Al Pacino: In
Conversation with Lawrence Grobel," his favorite film of all-time is the
Robert De Niro film "Bang the Drum Slowly."
Date Film Role
July 13, 1969 Me, Natalie Tony
May 9, 1971 The Panic in Needle Park Bobby
March 15, 1972 The Godfather Michael
August 31, 1973 Scarecrow Francis Lionel
December 5, 1973 Serpico Officer Frank
December 12, 1974 The Godfather Part II
September 21, 1975 Dog Day Afternoon Sonny
September 17, 1977 Bobby Deerfield Bobby
June 29, 1979 ...And Justice for All Arthur
February 8, 1980 Cruising Steve Burns
June 18, 1982 Author! Author! Ivan
December 9, 1983 Scarface Tony Montana
June 30, 1985 Revolution Tom Dobb
1989 The Local Stigmatic Graham
September 15, 1989 Sea of Love Detective
June 15, 1990 Dick Tracy Big Boy Caprice
December 25, 1990 The Godfather Part III
1991 Truth or Dare
October 11, 1991 Frankie and Johnny Johnny
September 30, 1992 Glengarry Glen Ross
Richard "Ricky" Roma
December 23, 1992 Scent of a Woman
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade
November 10, 1993 Carlito's Way Carlito
1994 Jonas in the Desert
November 22, 1995 Two Bits Gitano Sabatoni
December 15, 1995 Heat Lieutenant Vincent
February 16, 1996 City Hall Mayor John
July 5, 1996 Looking for Richard
February 28, 1997 Donnie Brasco Benjamin
October 17, 1997 Devil's Advocate John
November 5, 1999 The Insider Lowell Bergman
December 16, 1999 Any Given Sunday Tony
2000 Chinese Coffee Harry Levine
May 3, 2002 Insomnia Detective Will Dormer
August 23, 2002 S1m0ne Viktor Taransky
October 11, 2002 People I Know Eli Wurman
January 25, 2003 The Recruit Walter Burke
August 8, 2003 Gigli Starkman
December 7, 2003 Angels in America Roy Cohn
September 3, 2004 The Merchant of Venice
October 7, 2005 Two for the Money Walter
2006 88 Minutes Jack Gramm
2007 Ocean's Thirteen Willie Banks
for The Silence of the Lambs Best Actor
for Scent of a Woman Succeeded by:
for Philadelphia (film)
S1m0ne (2002) $11,000,000
The Godfather: Part III (1990) $5,000,000
And Justice for All (1979) $1,000,000
The Godfather: Part II (1974) $500,000 and
10% of the gross after break-even
The Godfather (1973) $35,000
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