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Al Pacino PDF Print E-mail

Al Pacino - Author Thomas Schulz

Alfredo James "Al" Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is an American film and stage actor and director. He is most famed for playing mobsters including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy and Tony Montana in Scarface, though he has also appeared several times on the other side of the law—as a police officer, detective and a lawyer. His role as Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992 after receiving seven previous Oscar nominations.

He made his feature film debut in the 1969 film Me, Natalie in a minor supporting role, before playing the leading role in the 1971 drama The Panic in Needle Park. Pacino made his major breakthrough when he was given the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather in 1972, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Other Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor were for Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. Oscar nominations for Best Actor include The Godfather Part II, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, the court room drama ...And Justice for All and Scent of a Woman.

In addition to a career in film, he has also enjoyed a successful career on stage, picking up Tony Awards for Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. His love of Shakespeare caused him to direct his first film with Looking for Richard, a part documentary on the play Richard III. Pacino has received numerous lifetime achievement awards, including one from the American Film Institute. He is a method actor, taught mainly by Lee Strasberg and Charlie Laughton at the Actors Studio in New York.

Although he has never married, Pacino has had several relationships with actresses and has three children.

Pacino was born in East Harlem, New York City to Italian American parents Rose and Salvatore Pacino, who divorced when he was two years old. When he was two, his mother moved to the South Bronx near the Bronx Zoo, to live with her parents, Kate and James Gerardi, who originated from Corleone, Sicily. His father moved to Covina, California, and worked as an insurance salesman and restaurateur. Pacino attended the School of Performing Arts in New York. During his teenage years 'Sonny', as he was known to his friends, aimed to become a baseball player, though he was also nicknamed 'The Actor'. Pacino flunked nearly all of his classes except English and dropped out of school at 17. His mother disagreed with his decision; they had an argument and he left home. He worked at a string of low-paying jobs, including messenger boy, busboy, janitor, and postal clerk, in order to finance his acting studies.

He started smoking at age nine, drinking and casual marijuana use at age thirteen, but never took hard drugs. His two closest friends died young of drug abuse, at the ages of 19 and 30 (his friend who died at age 30 had not seen Pacino for some years before he died). Growing up in a deprived area, he got into occasional fights, and was something of a minor troublemaker at school.

He acted in basement plays in New York's theatrical underground, and then joined the Herbert Berghof Studio (HB Studio), where he met acting teacher Charlie Laughton, who became his mentor and best friend. During this period, he was frequently unemployed and homeless, and sometimes had to sleep on the street, in theaters, or at friends' houses. In 1962, his mother died at the age of 43. The following year, his grandfather, James Gerardi, one of the most influential people in his life, also died.

In 1966, after many previous unsuccessful attempts, Pacino successfully auditioned at the Actors Studio. The Actors Studio is a membership organization for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Over its long history many famous and successful actors, directors and playwrights have come out of the studio. Pacino studied "method acting" under acting coach Lee Strasberg (who later appeared with Pacino in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II). During later interviews he spoke about Strasberg and the Studio's effect on his career. "The Actors Studio meant so much to me in my life. Lee Strasberg hasn’t been given the credit he deserves ... Next to Charlie, it sort of launched me. It really did. That was a remarkable turning point in my life. It was directly responsible for getting me to quit all those jobs and just stay acting". During another interview he added, "It was exciting to work for him [Lee Strasberg] because he was so interesting when he talked about a scene or talked about people. One would just want to hear him talk, because things he would say, you’d never heard before ... He had such a great understanding ... he loved actors so much". Pacino is currently co-president, along with Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel, of the Actors Studio.

In 1967, Pacino spent a season at the Charles Playhouse in Boston, performing in Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! (his first major paycheck: $125 a week); and in Jean-Claude Van Itallie's America, Hurrah, where he met actress Jill Clayburgh while working on this play. They went on to have a five-year romance and moved together back to New York City.

In 1968, Pacino starred in Israel Horovitz's The Indian Wants the Bronx at the Astor Place Theater, playing Murph, a street punk. The play opened January 17, 1968, and ran for 177 performances; it was staged in a double bill with Horovitz's It's Called the Sugar Plum, starring Clayburgh. Pacino won an Obie Award for Best Actor for his role, with John Cazale winning for Best Supporting actor and Horowitz for Best New Play. Martin Bregman saw the play and offered to be Pacino's manager, a partnership that became fruitful in the years to come, as Bregman went on to produce many of Pacino's most acclaimed films, including "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," and "Scarface". Pacino and this production of The Indian Wants the Bronx traveled to Italy for a performance at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. It was Pacino's first journey to Italy; he later recalled that "performing for an Italian audience was a marvelous experience". Pacino and Clayburgh were cast in "Deadly Circle of Violence", an episode of the ABC television series N.Y.P.D., premiering November 12, 1968. Clayburgh at the time was also appearing on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, playing the role of Grace Bolton. Her father would send the couple money each month to help.

On February 25, 1969, Pacino made his Broadway theatre debut in Don Petersen's Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? at the Belasco Theater. It closed after 39 performances on March 29, 1969, but Pacino received rave reviews and won the Tony Award on April 20, 1969. Pacino continued performing onstage in 1970s, winning a second Tony Award for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and performing the title role in Richard III for a record run on Broadway. In 1980s Pacino again achieved critical success on the stage while appearing in David Mamet's American Buffalo, for which Pacino was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Since 1990 Pacino's stage work has included revivals of Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, Oscar Wilde's Salome and in 2005 Lyle Kessler's Orphans.

Pacino made his return to the stage in 2010 as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. The production continued in October 2010 at the Broadhurst Theatre New York, earning US$1 million at the box office in its first week.

Filmography

1969 Me, Natalie

1971 Panic in Needle Park, TheThe Panic in Needle Park

1972 Godfather Part I, TheThe Godfather

1973 Scarecrow

1973 Serpico

1974 Godfather Part II, TheThe Godfather Part II

1975 Dog Day Afternoon

1977 Bobby Deerfield

1979 And Justice for All ...And Justice for All

1980 Cruising

1982 Author! Author!

1983 Scarface

1985 Revolution

1989 Sea of Love

1990 Local Stigmatic, TheThe Local Stigmatic

1990 Dick Tracy

1990 Godfather Part III, TheThe Godfather Part III

1991 Frankie and Johnny

1992 Glengarry Glen Ross

1992 Scent of a Woman

1993 Carlito's Way

1995 Two Bits

1995 Heat

1996 Looking for Richard

1996 City Hall

1997 Donnie Brasco

1997 Devil's Advocate, TheThe Devil's Advocate

1999 Insider, TheThe Insider

1999 Any Given Sunday

2000 Chinese Coffee

2002 Insomnia

2002 S1m0ne

2002 People I Know

2003 Recruit, TheThe Recruit

2003 Gigli

2003 Angels in America

2004 Merchant of Venice, TheThe Merchant of Venice

2005 Two for the Money

2007 Ocean's Thirteen

2007 88 Minutes

2008 Righteous Kill

2010 You Don't Know Jack

2010 Wilde Salome

2011 Son of No One

2011 Jack & Jill

In 1967, Pacino spent a season at the Charles Playhouse in Boston, performing in Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! (his first major paycheck: $125 a week); and in Jean-Claude Van Itallie's America, Hurrah, where he met actress Jill Clayburgh while working on this play. They went on to have a five-year romance and moved together back to New York City.[4]

In 1968, Pacino starred in Israel Horovitz's The Indian Wants the Bronx at the Astor Place Theater, playing Murph, a street punk. The play opened January 17, 1968, and ran for 177 performances; it was staged in a double bill with Horovitz's It's Called the Sugar Plum, starring Clayburgh. Pacino won an Obie Award for Best Actor for his role, with John Cazale winning for Best Supporting actor and Horowitz for Best New Play. Martin Bregman saw the play and offered to be Pacino's manager, a partnership that became fruitful in the years to come, as Bregman went on to produce many of Pacino's most acclaimed films, including "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," and "Scarface".[4] Pacino and this production of The Indian Wants the Bronx traveled to Italy for a performance at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. It was Pacino's first journey to Italy; he later recalled that "performing for an Italian audience was a marvelous experience".[4] Pacino and Clayburgh were cast in "Deadly Circle of Violence", an episode of the ABC television series N.Y.P.D., premiering November 12, 1968. Clayburgh at the time was also appearing on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, playing the role of Grace Bolton. Her father would send the couple money each month to help.[8]

On February 25, 1969, Pacino made his Broadway theatre debut in Don Petersen's Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? at the Belasco Theater. It closed after 39 performances on March 29, 1969, but Pacino received rave reviews and won the Tony Award on April 20, 1969.[4] Pacino continued performing onstage in 1970s, winning a second Tony Award for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and performing the title role in Richard III for a record run on Broadway. In 1980s Pacino again achieved critical success on the stage while appearing in David Mamet's American Buffalo, for which Pacino was nominated for a Drama Desk Award.[1] Since 1990 Pacino's stage work has included revivals of Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, Oscar Wilde's Salome and in 2005 Lyle Kessler's Orphans.[9]

Pacino made his return to the stage in 2010 as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.[10] The production continued in October 2010 at the Broadhurst Theatre New York, earning US$1 million at the box office in its first week.
 

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