The notoriously terse actor and director has a history of being tight-lipped and evasive (trust us, we would know). But, in anticipation of the June 9th premiere of his new HBO documentary, "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.," De Niro has started talking about his father -- and his father's surprising sexuality.
In an interview with OUT Magazine (via The Independent), "He probably was (conflicted about his sexuality)," the actor told OUT. "Being from that generation, especially from a small town upstate (in New York)." Not that De Niro really noticed that his dad was that different. "I was not aware, much, of it. I wish we had spoken about it much more. My mother didn't want to talk about things in general, and you're not interested when you're a certain age."
Still, De Niro feels like it's important to talk about, especially for his own kids. "Again, for my kids, I want them to stop and take a moment and realize that you sometimes have to do things now instead of later, because later may be 20 years from now -- and that's too late."
De Niro's father died more than 20 years ago, and the actor felt like this documentary was a way to keep that legacy alive -- both as a painter and a father. "It was the only way to keep his being, his existence alive. To me, he was always a great artist."
Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Gallery | Hollywood's Living Legends
- Luise Rainer, 104
This Austrian-German actress was the first actor to win multiple Oscars and the first to win them two years in a row. She is currently the oldest living Oscar winner. She all but retired from acting in the '40s, save the occasional appearance, like a dual role on “The Love Boat” in 1983.
Film career: 1935-1943Awards: Best Actress Oscars for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936) and “The Good Earth” (1937)
- Eli Wallach, 98
This versatile character actor began his career on Broadway, where he debuted in 1945 and has been acting steadily in Hollywood for the past six decades. He's long since outlived nearly all of his “Method” classmates, including Marlon Brando, and can be seen in such recent films as "The Holiday" (2006) and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010).
Film career: 1956-present
Best known for: “The Magnificent Seven” (1960), “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” (1966), “The Godfather, Part III” (1990)
Awards: Honorary Oscar (2010)
- Olivia De Havilland, 97
The beautiful De Havilland is best remembered as sweet Melanie in “Gone With the Wind,” and for her many films opposite Errol Flynn. She's also known for her bitter rivalry with younger sister Joan Fontaine, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Film career: 1935-2009
Best known for: “Gone With the Wind” (1939), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938), “The Snake Pit” (1948)
Awards: 2 Oscars for “To Each His Own” (1946) and “The Heiress” (1949), 5 nominations.
- Kirk Douglas, 97
One of the greatest male leads in American film history, this cleft-chinned actor (father of Michael) specialized in playing tough guys like slave rebellion leader Spartacus. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke in 1996, which has impaired his speech, but that didn't stop him from stealing (or rather, stopping) the show as a presenter at the 2011 Oscars.
Film career: 1946-2008
Best known for: “Lust for Life” (1956), “Spartacus” (1960), “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954), “Paths of Glory” (1957)
Awards: Honorary Oscar (1996), 3 Best Actor nominations
- Mickey Rooney, 93
This hardworking child star, once the biggest box-office draw in Hollywood, has had one of the longest careers in the business, appearing most recently in “The Muppets” (2011).
Film career: 1927-present
Best known for: Andy Hardy film series (1937-1958), “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1939), “National Velvet” (1944), “The Black Stallion” (1979)Oscars: Special Juvenile Oscar (1938), Honorary Oscar (1983), 4 nominations
- Maureen O'Hara, 93
This Irish-born beauty is probably best known as John Wayne's independent bride in “The Quiet Man.” Although never nominated for any major awards, she worked with all the top directors, like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock, and opposite Hollywood's most famous leading men, including James Stewart and Henry Fonda.
Film career: 1938 - 1991
Best known for: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939), “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), “The Quiet Man” (1952), “The Parent Trap” (1961)
- Christopher Lee, 91
This horror legend is still in demand, appearing in films from Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese and Peter Jackson, though these days filmmakers must travel to his home in England for his scenes and Lee limits himself to small parts. He has over 200 film credits, ranging in roles from Dracula to Sherlock Holmes to the formidable wizard Saruman.
Film career: 1947 - present
Best known for: His 9 Dracula films (1958-1976), “The Lord of the Rings” (2001-2003), “Star Wars” prequels
- Rhonda Fleming, 90
This dynamic redhead often played bad girls, like in Hitchcock's “Spellbound,” or the noir classic “Out of the Past” opposite Robert Mitchum. She was a frequent fixture in film noirs, as well as some technicolor fantasies like “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.”
Film career: 1945-1990
Best known for: “The Spiral Staircase” (1945), “While the City Sleeps” (1956), “Gunfight at the OK Corral” (1957),
- Doris Day, 89
Long before Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock were “America's Sweetheart,” there was sunny Doris Day, an accomplished singer whose '50s romantic comedies with Rock Hudson are still fan favorites. She hasn't acted since the '70s but remains a vocal animal advocate.
Film career: 1948-1968
Best known for: “Calamity Jane” (1953), “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956), “Pillow Talk” (1959)
Awards: Nominated for Best Actress Oscar for “Pillow Talk”
- Eva Marie Saint, 89
This elegant leading lady won an Oscar for her debut role in “On the Waterfront” and steamed up the screen opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's “North by Northwest.” She's continued to act, appearing in this year's “Winter's Tale.”
Film career: 1954 - present
Best known for: “On the Waterfront” (1954), “North by Northwest” (1959), “Exodus” (1960)
Awards: Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “On the Waterfront”
- Lauren Bacall, 89
At age 19 in her first film, "To Have and Have Not," Bacall impressed both audiences and leading man Humphrey Bogart: The legendary pair was soon married and making more movies together, including "The Big Sleep" and "Key Largo." She's continued to act, most recently appearing on "Family Guy" and voicing a character in the Oscar-nominated film "Ernest & Celestine."
Best known for: “How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953), "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974), "Dogville" (2003)
Film career: 1944-present
Awards: Honorary Oscar (2010), Best Supporting Actress nomination "The Mirror Has Two Faces" (1996)
- Angela Lansbury, 88
Some of you might know her best as Jessica Fletcher of TV's “Murder, She Wrote,” or the voice of Mrs. Potts. She's just as good at being bad, however, as in her Oscar-nominated roles in “Gaslight” (her film debut) and the calculating politician's wife in “The Manchurian Candidate.”
Film career: 1944 - present
Best known for: “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962), “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971), “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)Awards: Honorary Oscar (2013), 3 Oscar nominations
- Dick Van Dyke, 88
One of TV's favorite comedians was also one of our favorite song-and-dance men in the movies. In 2013, he received The Life Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and thankfully, Julie Andrews (now 78) and Van Dyke, were both on hand to celebrate the release of “Saving Mr. Banks,” the 2013 movie about the making of “Mary Poppins.”
Born: December 13, 1925
Film career: 1963 - presentBest known for: “Bye Bye Birdie” (1963), “Mary Poppins” (1964), “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968)
- Sidney Poitier, 87
Poitier was the first black actor to win a Best Actor Academy Award. This beloved and respected icon starred in some of the most talked-about movies of the '60s and later became a director and an ambassador for the Bahamas, where he has joint citizenship.
Film career: 1950 - 1997
Best known for: “The Defiant Ones” (1958), “In the Heat of the Night” (1967), “To Sir With Love” (1967)Awards: Honorary Oscar (2002), Best Actor Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” (1963)
- Christopher Plummer, 84
After a long and illustrious career, Plummer won his first Oscar (after only his second nomination) at age 82, making him the oldest actor to ever win the award. He shows no signs of slowing down now and starred in a critically-acclaimed one-man show in Los Angeles at the start of 2014. He also recently finished filming “Imagine” with Al Pacino, which should hit theaters soon.
Film career: 1958 - present
Best known for: “The Sound of Music” (1965), “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975), “Murder by Decree” (1979), “The Insider” (1999)
Awards: Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Beginners” (2011)
- Gene Hackman, 84
One of Hollywood's most interesting actors has now retired, but he had a helluva run, including his Oscar-winning role in “The French Connection,” heroics in “The Poseidon Adventure” and a long string of love-to-hate-him bad guys like Lex Luthor in the 1978 “Superman.” He currently resides in Sante Fe, New Mexico with his wife, where he pens detective novels.
Film career: 1961 - 2004
Best known for: “The French Connection” (1971), “Unforgiven” (1992), “Crimson Tide” (1995)
Awards: Best Actor Oscar for “The French Connection,” Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Unforgiven,” 5 Oscar nominations
- Joanne Woodward, 84
Besides her own successful acting career, this Oscar-winning actress was also known for her 50-year marriage to Paul Newman, which ended with his death in 2008. Adept at both comedy and drama, she appeared with Newman in 11 films including “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” (1990).
Film career: 1955 - present
Best known for: “The Long Hot Summer” (1958), “A Big Hand for the Little Lady” (1968), “Rachel, Rachel” (1968), “Philadelphia” (1993)
Awards: Best Actress Oscar for “The Three Faces of Eve” (1957), 4 nominations
- Clint Eastwood, 83
The Man With No Name, who thrilled audiences in spaghetti westerns, went on to become an in-demand leading man and director. He's now known more for his sentimental movies than for his legendary tough-guy roles.
Film career: 1955 - present
Best known for: “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” (1966), “Dirty Harry” (1971), “Escape From Alcatraz” (1979)
Awards: Directing and Best Picture Oscars for “Unforgiven” (1992) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), nominations for “Mystic River” (2003) and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006)
- Sean Connery, 83
The first – and still best -- James Bond has since retired but not before finally winning an Oscar and playing Indiana Jones's dad. This Scottish actor was People's “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 at age 58 and knighted in 2000.
Film career: 1957 - 2003
Best known for: “Dr. No” (1962), “The Wind and the Lion” (1975), “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), “The Rock” (1996)Awards: Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “The Untouchables” (1987)
- James Earl Jones, 83
Jones is as well-known for his impressively booming voice – which he lent to Darth Vader, Mufasa and CNN – as for his acting. After Poitier, he was the second African-American actor to be nominated for Best Actor. He also has an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), if you count his Honorary Oscar.
Film career: 1964 - present
Best known for: “Conan the Barbarian” (1982), “Field of Dreams” (1989), “Cry the Beloved Country” (1995)
Awards: Best Actor Oscar nomination, “The Great White Hope” (1970)
- Robert Duvall, 83
After making his film debut in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Duvall became a mainstay of '70s cinema, gracing Coppola's “Godfather” films and making an indelible impression as the napalm-loving Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now.” He's moved between TV (like the acclaimed “Lonesome Dove”) and films, and often stepped behind the camera, too.
Film career: 1962 - present
Best known for: “THX-1138” (1971), “The Godfather” (1972), “Apocalypse Now” (1979), “The Apostle” (1997)
Awards: Best Actor Oscar for “Tender Mercies” (1983), 5 nominations
- Leslie Caron, 82
Gene Kelly handpicked the young ballerina, who had never acted, to be his leading lady in “An American in Paris.” She quickly became a film favorite, appearing in musicals including “Gigi” and “Daddy Long Legs.” Still performing, she starred in a 2010 Parisian stage production of “A Little Night Music.”
Film career: 1951-2003
Best known for: “An American in Paris” (1951), “Gigi” (1958), “Lili” (1953), “The L-Shaped Room” (1962)
Awards: 2 Oscar nominations
- Rita Moreno, 82
One of the most accomplished all-around entertainers, Moreno is one of the rare living performers with an EGOT - Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Still as vivacious as ever, she accepted her SAG Life Achievement Award in January dressed in leather! And she's just been cast in Amy Poehler's new pilot.
Film career: 1950 - present
Best Known for: “The King and I” (1956), “West Side Story” (1961)
Awards: Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “West Side Story”
- Debbie Reynolds, 81
This winsome actress rose to fame in “Singin' in the Rain.” Her wholesome screen reputation in films like “Tammy and the Bachelor” made the scandal much worse when husband Eddie Fisher left her for Elizabeth Taylor. (That's right, Reynolds is Carrie Fisher's, aka Princess Leia's, Mom.)
Film career: 1950 - present
Best known for: “Singin' in the Rain,” (1952), “The Tender Trap” (1955), “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964)Awards: Best Actress Oscar nomination for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”
- Omar Sharif, 81
This suave, Egyptian-born leading man made his English-language film debut in the epic “Lawrence of Arabia.” Besides starring in some of the biggest films of the '60s, he also used to write a bridge column for the Chicago Tribune.
Film career: 1954 - present
Best known for: “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), “Doctor Zhivago” (1965), “Funny Girl” (1968), “Hidalgo” (2004)
Awards: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor for “Lawrence of Arabia”
- Kim Novak, 81
One of Hitchcock's glamorous, cool blondes, Novak bewitched Jimmy Stewart in “Vertigo” and again in “Bell Book and Candle.” She recently made headlines when she compared the use of a “Vertigo” musical motif in “The Artist” to rape.
Film career: 1955 - 1991Best known for: “Picnic” (1955), “Pal Joey” (1957), & “Vertigo” (1958)