Leonardo DiCaprio's parents are his 'secret weapon'
"Thank you for listening to an overly ambitious, slightly annoying 13-year-old kid who wanted to go on auditions every day after school," says DiCaprio
Despite the many changing roles, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has portrayed in almost two decades that he’s been in the industry, and the many loves that have come and gone in his life, one thing remains the same: he has wonderful parents rooting for him every step of the way.
The 41-year-old actor credits his parents, George and Irmelin, for his success.
“To my parents, thank you for listening to an overly ambitious, slightly annoying 13-year-old kid who wanted to go on auditions every day after school,” he said in his acceptance speech at the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
And when he snagged that much-coveted Academy award for The Revenant, he didn’t forget to show his parents some love. “I have to thank everyone from the very onset of my career,” said Leo. “To my parents; none of this would be possible without you.”
Leonardo was born in Los Angeles to Irmelin, a legal secretary and George, an underground comic book distributor.
By all accounts, he had a happy but unconventional childhood.
In an interview on 20/20 with Barbara Walters back in 2002, he described his parents as “Bohemian in every sense of the word.”
He recounted how he and his father would take him around the country to visit various comic book stores. And his parents also encouraged him to follow his dreams of becoming an actor by allowing him to drop out of high school.
But their encouragement didn’t stop there. They made sure that, even at an early age, he was exposed to great actors such as Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, which his father let him watch when he was 14-years-old.
“Son, watch closely because this is what great acting looks like,” Leonardo recalled at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.
Three years after seeing the film, he worked with De Niro on This Boy’s Life.
They inspired him to dream and to take risks
According to the New York Times, when his parents both worked for a production company, they would read pick out remarkable scripts for their son to consider.
This persistence inspired Leonardo throughout his career to only take on great, daring roles he truly believes in.
“My dad always told me, that go out there, son, and whatever you do, I don’t care if you’re successful or not, just have an interesting life,” Leonardo recently told Parade.
The fact that he still brings George or Irmelin as his ‘date to award shows speaks volumes about how tight knit they are.
At the 2016 Golden Globes, George was by his Leonardo’s side, beaming as his son was named Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama).
When he was given the Actors Inspiration Award at the SAG Foundation 30th anniversary celebration, he yet again showed just how much he appreciates their love and support, fondly addressing them by their first names.
“Irmelin, George – I would not be receiving this award and I would not be the actor that I am or be able to do any of the philanthropy that this job has given me the opportunity to have, and I wouldn’t the person I am without the both of you, so thank you,” he said.
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