In a world of cinematic universes and ensemble casts, the box-office-busting superstar actor seems like a thing of the past.
Today, there are still celebrities whose top billing could help drum up some interest, but they mostly hail from the cinematic golden age of the 80s and 90s, when names like Tom Cruise exploded and could sell a movie—any movie—just by being attached to it.
One of the greatest actors from that generation of actors is Leonardo DiCaprio, whose career is unmatched by any other in terms of acting diversity and meteoric rise. Even today his name can still make tickets fly out of the booth.
Leonardo DiCaprio Fast Facts
Date of birth: November 11, 1974
Net Worth: $245 million
Tattoos: None, though Tom Hardy happens to have a tattoo on his right arm after losing a bet to Leo. Leo got to design the tattoo, which say: "Leo Knows All".
Born on November 11, 1974, to legal secretary Irmelin and comic book producer George DiCaprio, Leo is of German and Italian descent, and takes his name from legendary Renaissance Man Leonardo da Vinci. His complete name, Leonardo DiCaprio, was seemingly destined for greatness, with a certain musicality and grandeur to it that already makes it a perfect screen name without modification.
Where Is Leonardo DiCaprio From?
Leo was born in Los Angeles, with an early childhood that wasn’t exactly the ideal environment for a budding young actor.
At the tender age of one, his parents separated, and he went on to live with his mother in various places around LA. He attended Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, moving on to Seeds Elementary School and John Marshall High School, before dropping out in his third year of high school.
He also spent a year in Germany with his maternal grandparents, before returning to LA.
Leonardo’s first ever appearance onscreen is said to have been on the set of children’s television show Romper Room, from which he was fired at the age of five due to disruptiveness.
His career truly began with his work in television ads, with appearances in Matchbox toy car commercials, Bubble Yum ads, and spots for Kraft Foods.
In 1990, at age 16, he appeared in the pilot episode of The Outsiders, and in the series Santa Barbara.
His big break was when he was cast in Parenthood, which was based on a 1989 Ron Howard comedy. Both his roles in Parenthood and Santa Barbara gave him Young Artist nods for Best Young Actor in a Daytime Series and Best Young Actor Starring in a New Television Series.
Leonardo’s first ever film role was the direct-to-video Critters 3 in 1991.
He also had a supporting role in the 1992 award-winning erotic thriller Poison Ivy, and then had his true breakout role later that year in This Boy’s Life, in which he was personally chosen by co-star Robert De Niro from a pool of more than 400 actors.
Leonardo DiCaprio, young as he was, would go on to star in progressively larger pictures, including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993 where he co-starred alongside Johnny Depp.
In 1996, he starred in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, a modern adaptation of the Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet which made a huge $147.5 million, landing him the biggest win of his career so far. But nothing could prepare him for the success that was to come.
A Titanic Victory
In 1997, Leonardo was cast in the leading role in James Cameron’s historical epic Titanic, alongside Kate Winslet.
The movie would go on to make $1.84 billion and hold the record for highest-grossing film of all time for over two decades, until Cameron surpassed himself with Avatar in 2009.
Riding on the success of the film, Leonardo became an overnight superstar, with the so-called “Leo-Mania” taking hold of the entertainment landscape. He appeared on magazine covers, and entire bestselling books were written about his career. He even became an icon of worship for many young women, and his signature curtain haircut became a leading hairstyle trend of the 90s.
The Titanic movie cemented his destiny as one of Hollywood’s go-to actors. And how old was Leo in Titanic? Just a smidgen under 23 years old.
The Leonardo We Know
Today, Leo DiCaprio is an Academy Award-winning actor, with such screen credits to his name as Inception, The Departed, The Revenant, Revolutionary Road, The Aviator, and The Great Gatsby.
Any single one of these roles could be a career-maker for an actor, and Leo starred in them all. In his entire career, he’s nabbed 54 awards from various prestigious awarding bodies.
Among his upcoming movies is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a crime thriller to be released later this year, that marks his second collaboration with Quentin Tarantino. And how old is Leonardo DiCaprio in the greatest time of his career? A youthful 44 years, and he already has one of the best acting resumes in Hollywood.
Fascinatingly for a Hollywood superstar, he hasn’t ever had a wife. He’s certainly had many high profile girlfriends—Bar Refaeli, Gisele Bundchen, and Emma Bunton have all spent time as his partners. He’s also got no children.
We admire Leo’s passion, charisma, and sheer acting talent, and we can’t wait to see where his career takes him next.