Few can deny that Al Pacino is one of the most legendary actors around. Alongside contemporaries such as Joe Pesci, Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, Pacino has starred in many mafia-type films. The two that are arguably the most well-known are The Godfather and Scarface.
Even as a kid, the Bronx native wanted to become an actor. As of today, Al Pacino has a special place in film history. Besides his very successful acting carer, he has three children and has experienced several tough relationships, though he has never been married.
So how did Al Pacino make it to Hollywood? And who are his children? Here’s all you need to know about the legendary actor!
On April 25, 1940, Al Pacino was born in New York City. His parents were Italian immigrants from Sicily; Al was their only child.
Al Pacino – early life
When he was still just a toddler, Pacino’s parents separated. His father moved to California, while Al stayed on the east coast to be raised by his mother and grandparents.
“My grandfather, James Gerardi, taught me about work,” Pacino told The Guardian.
“He was a plasterer, and work – any kind of work – was the joy of his life. So I grew up wanting to – it’s what I’ve always chased. The joy of work is what keeps me going.
“The conclusion of my teachers was that I needed a dad. I wasn’t an out-of-control teenager, but I was close. My parents divorced when I was two, and my father wasn’t in my life from then. I wanted to be different with my children.”
Pacino learned the value and importance of hard work, and in his early teenage years, a new interest would present itself when he became very interested in acting,
His grandmother often took him to the movies as a young kid, and Pacino loved it. His mother also encouraged his interest in film, theater, and acting. When he was 13, he starred in a school production of Home Sweet Homicide. At that point, people had already noticed that he was a great raw talent; someone even told his mother that he was the next Marlon Brando.
However, when Pacino was 16, his mother had to stop working because she got sick.
Negativity about his acting
That meant Al had to step up to help the family bring in money – this sparked the beginning of a bad relationship with his mother.
“My mother had to stop working because of her health, and I had to support her. It was then that she took a realistic look at my prospects and became very negative about my acting,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1973.
What followed was Al going through one job after the other without getting paid accordingly.
“I couldn’t hold a job for long, I kept telling my mother I’d soon be doing something big, that I’d met a person who was going to make me a real draftsman. I said that because I thought ‘draftsman’ sounded very important to me. But she never believed me,” he added.
Pacino was accepted into the High School of Performing Arts. However, he wasn’t the most excellent of students and, due to poor grades and failing classes, he decided to drop out at the age of 17.
After working a series of smaller jobs, Pacino went to school once again to study theater at Herbert Berghof Studio. He got some roles in off-Broadway productions, while in 1966, he was accepted into the Actors Studio.
Studying at the prestigious school led to many opportunities for Pacino. At 28 years of age, he starred in the 1969 Broadway show Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, for which he won a Tony Award for best supporting actor in a play.
Al Pacino – Michael in ‘The Godfather’
As the 1970s approached, Pacino switched from the stage to the screen. He starred as the lead character in The Panic in Needle Park in 1971, but that wouldn’t be remembered as his big breakthrough. No, that would come a year later, after Pacino was cast as Michael Corleone in the now-legendary film, The Godfather.
At the time, he was still a little-known New York actor. However, The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola loved him.
“It just seemed so outrageous. Here I am, talking to somebody who I think is flipped out. I said, what train am I on? OK. Humor the guy. And he wanted me to do Michael. I thought, OK, I’ll go along with this. I said, yes, Francis, good. You know how they talk to you when you’re slipping? They say, ‘Yes! Of course! Yes!’ But he wasn’t. It was the truth. And then I was given the part,” Pacino said in an interview with The New York Times.
The Godfather became a legendary flick, and is still to this day considered one of the – if not the – role Al Pacino is most known for.
It’s one of the most iconic films to ever come out of Hollywood – and Al Pacino became hugely famous because of it. However, the man himself admitted that his entry into the Hollywood celebrity life wasn’t what he expected or wanted.
“It’s hard to explain in today’s world — to explain who I was at that time and the bolt of lightning that it was,” Pacino explained.
“I felt like, all of a sudden, some veil was lifted, and all eyes were on me. Of course, they were on others in the film. But The Godfather gave me a new identity that was hard for me to cope with.”