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From a doomed suitor, Jack Dawson in Titanic to Woodrow of the White House in The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio has portrayed a myriad of diverse roles in his showbiz career. His good looks, edgy and unconventional roles made him a generation's definition of a heartthrob. While most actors dream to become a Hollywood Icon, DiCaprio is one among those who distance themselves from their Megastar image to keep it real.
Born on November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, Leonardo DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational shows, but didn't receive any success in Hollywood until he reached his teens. By early 1990's, he caught attention of producers, who cast him in bit part roles in a number of television series, such as Roseanne (1988) and The New Lassie (1989), but it wasn't until 1991 that he made his film debut in Critters 3 (1991), a low-budget horror film. His major breakthrough came along with the lead role in This Boy's Life (1992) co-starring Ellen Barkin and Robert De Niro. The following year, DiCaprio co-starred with Johnny Depp as the mentally handicapped brother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), which fetched him National Board of Review Award and nomination for both an Academy award and a Golden Globe award. He played a drug addict, Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries (1995) which was regarded as one of his most challenging roles played by him to date. The portrayal of various diverse roles in his career helped him establish his reputation as an actor, but Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), a romantic abridged modernization of Shakespeare's play made Leonardo a household name. With Titanic (1997) that DiCaprio's reputation as a A-list star and a teen heartthrob was cemented. The movie went on to beat all box office records to become the highest grossing movie of all time. He was nominated for most of the high profile awards, including the a second Golden Globe nomination. After Titanic, DiCaprio experienced a certain slump in his career and mostly kept a low profile. In 2002, he came back to the big screen with Catch Me If You Can (2002) and Gangs of New York (2002), his first of many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, a historical film set in mid 19th century in the Five point district of New York City.
In 2004, DiCaprio and Scorsese collaborated again to do The Aviator (2004), a biopic of the eccentric and obsessive American film director and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, for which he received rave reviews for his performance and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, also receiving another Academy Award nomination. Edward Zwick's war film Blood Diamond (2006), where he played a diamond smuggler from Rhodesia who is involved in the Sierra Leone Civil War, Leonardo was praised for the authenticity of his South African Afrikaner accent, which is known as a difficult accent to imitate. In Scorsese's The Departed (2006) he played the role of Billy Costigan, a state trooper working undercover in an Irish Mob in Boston. He became one of the highest-rated films of 2006 and earned him a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor. The same year, both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild nominated DiCaprio twice in the Best Actor category for both of his features. DiCaprio reunited with Kate Winslet to film the drama Revolutionary Road (2008), directed by Sam Mendes where they portrayed a couple in a failing marriage in the 1950s. DiCaprio garnered his seventh Golden Globes nomination for this movie.
In 2010 again, DiCaprio starred in director Christopher Nolan's science-fiction film Inception which was inspired by the experience of lucid dreaming and dream incubation. In 2011, DiCaprio starred in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, a biopic about J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial first director of the FBI while the following year he starred as villainous Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained (2012) and earned DiCaprio his eighth nomination from the Golden Globes.
DiCaprio's next film was Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (2013), a big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, also starring Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. DiCaprio's recent is yet another Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street, a true story based on the life of stockbroker Jordan Belfort. The release date of the movie is set for 25 December 2013.
Looking at the career graph of DiCaprio and his some astonishingly stunning performances one can clearly see the trend the actor has followed all these years. He has been extremely selective in choosing his roles post Titanic and has tried to define himself as one of the most versatile actors in the industry. However, DiCaprio's professional career is not just limited to acting in movies, he is also a committed environmentalist, actively involved in many environmental and humanitarian causes. For someone who has ventured into bits and pieces of showbiz starting with television commercials to being one of the most respected actors in the world, DiCaprio has had one of the most diverse and unusual career graph in Hollywood. From portraying a doomed lover to epic characters, DiCaprio has literally showcased different shades of emotions through his movies and continues to startle the audience by refusing to conform to any cliché about actors.
Today, Leonardo DiCaprio is not merely a teen heartthrob turned leading man but one among the respected, daring and challenging actors working today who defy the regular prejudices to impress, motivate and inspire.