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Robert De Niro (photo by John Filo.)

Robert De Niro

(Actor, director, and producer; born August 17, 1943, in New York, New York)His commitment to his craft is legendary. Is there anything he won't do, any chances he won't take to be true to his characters--no matter how difficult or complex they may be? With his body, voice and soul, Robert De Niro has taken the art of transformation further than just about any living actor of our era. Again and again he has surprised us by testing his own limits. "I don't consider Bob so much an actor as an incarnation of the character he is playing," said his Once Upon a Time in America director, Sergio Leone. He ground his teeth for Cape Fear, mastered not merely Italian but multiple Sicilian dialects for The Godfather, Part II, drove a cab for three months and shaved his head for Taxi Driver, learned to play the saxophone for New York, New York, and most famously, packed on 60 pounds to play Jake LaMotta (and trained in the ring enduring bone-crunching physical demands until LaMotta himself declared him a professional fighter) for Raging Bull.

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