Celebrity Dish

Celebrity Dish

Leonardo Dicaprio attends the "Killers Of The Flower Moon" photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2023 in Cannes, France.

Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles, California. Known for his work in biographical and period films, the actor and producer disliked public school and wanted to audition for acting jobs instead. He dropped out of high school, eventually earning a general equivalency diploma (GED). As a child, DiCaprio liked impersonating characters and imitating people, and enjoyed seeing their reactions to his acting. His interest in performing began at age two when he went onto the stage at a performance festival and danced spontaneously to a positive response from the crowd. Leo’s first television appearance was in the children’s series Romper Room at five years old, but he claimed he was fired off the show for being disruptive. In a 1994 interview, he said it was his favorite show, but “they couldn’t control me. I would run up and smack the camera, and I’d jump around and do my little flips and routines. I wish I could get that tape now.”

Commercials and Failures

At 14, he began appearing in several commercials for Matchbox Cars, which he calls his first role. He played “a little gangster with slicked-back hair.” Though he was “so incredibly nervous,” the lesson that he learned was to learn his lines. His advice for aspiring actors is to “just get that over with because once you learn your lines, then you can kind of settle in to all the other moments in a scene.” DiCaprio later appeared in commercials for Kraft Singles, Bubble Yum, and Apple Jacks. His first television role was in 1989, playing the role of Glen in two episodes of The New Lassie.

At the beginning of his career, an agent suggested he change his name to Lenny Williams to appeal to American audiences, which he declined to do. The aspiring actor didn’t find work for over a year despite having over 100 auditions. Finally, a talent agent who knew his mother’s friend recommended him to casting directors, and he secured about 20 commercials. By the early ’90s, DiCaprio began acting regularly on television, with a role in the pilot of The Outsiders and one episode of the soap opera Santa Barbara.

After starring in films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Romeo + Juliet, and Marvin’s Room, Leo snagged the role which earned him worldwide recognition and “Leo-mania“: Titanic. With 47 acting credits below his belt, take a look below at our favorite DiCaprio movies, ranked:

  • 10. Shutter Island

    Kicking off Leo’s top ten list is 2010’s Martin Scorsese-directed head-f— that is Shutter Island. We were just a teenager when this movie first came out, so the collecting of clues as the film went on was hard to follow. What we liked on the first viewing was the dark, dreary atmosphere as well as questioning the entire reality. Funnily enough, the movie’s title is an anagram of “truths and lies” and “truths/denials.”

  • 9. The Wolf of Wall Street

    This is another Scorsese-directed film, released three years later. The film has it all: drama, crime, humor. Matthew McConaughey’s chest beating and humming was improvised and actually a warm-up ritual that he performs before acting. When DiCaprio saw it while filming, the brief shot of him looking away uneasily from the camera was actually him looking at the director for approval. The majority of the film’s dialogue was improvised, which Scorsese often encourages. DiCaprio wanted to include it in their scene and later claimed it “set the tone” for the rest of the film.

  • 8. Blood Diamond

    In this 2006 Edward Zwick film, it centers a theme that is all too real in many parts of the world: what the cost of valuable resources is to the natives forced to work with little to no pay and dangerous, life-threatening conditions for the rich. This film shows a great balance of being entertaining while making the audience reflect. DiCaprio does a stupendous job as South African mercenary Danny Archer, while Djimon Hounsou’s soulful performance as fisherman Solomon Vandy makes for an emotionally gripping tale.

  • 7. Titanic

    After celebrating its 25-year anniversary in 2023, Titanic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark worldwide when it came out in 1997. It held the title of highest-grossing film of all time until James Cameron’s next film, Avatar, surpassed it in 2010. In 2017, the Library of Congress selected Titanic for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

  • 6. Gangs of New York

    Set in 1860’s New York, Scorsese helmed this 2002 drama crime that features another one of our favorite actors, Daniel Day-Lewis. A young DiCaprio stars as a poor Irish immigrant who returns to the Five Points, seeking revenge against his father’s killer, Bill the Butcher (Day-Lewis), during their gangs warring over the territory when he was a boy. We love a good infiltration story, as Leo’s Amsterdam tries to get in close with the Butcher in order to exact revenge.

  • 5. Catch Me if You Can

    In 2002, Leo starred in another legendary director’s film. This time, Steven Spielberg directed the thrilling drama crime, with Tom Hanks co-starring in this wild chase. Leo’s Abagnale is a master of deception and a brilliant forger. That skill gave him his first real claim to fame: the most successful bank robber in the history of the US FBI at just 17 years old. The suspense of Hanks’ Hanratty being just out of reach and their relationship throughout the film makes this film so great. That, and the impressive forgeries and successful deception tactics with a little costuming and a lot of confidence.

  • 4. Romeo + Juliet

    In the 1996 Baz Luhrmann adaptation of the Shakespearean romantic tragedy, this is our favorite performance set in modern-day Verona Beach. Leo was only 21, while Claire Danes was just 17. Despite their young ages while filming the movie, Leo’s version of Romeo’s speech at Juliet’s poisoned corpse was so good that it moved Danes to tears, nearly ruining the scene. The moment the director yelled “cut,” Danes smacked DiCaprio on the arm and said, “Don’t make me cry. I’m supposed to be comatose, here!” We’re a sucker for campy things and tragic love stories, so that’s why this one with young Leo ranks so high up.

  • 3. Django Unchained

    Now this 2012 Quentin Tarantino-directed film is one of the best movies of all time, in our opinion. And though we consider DiCaprio’s plantation owner Calvin Candie to be a supporting role, it is his introduction in the film that things reach its climax. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are the best duo together throughout the film, and once they realize Foxx’s Djangos long-lost wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) is still a slave in Candie’s estate, they heroically save her with a cunning plan.

  • 2. Inception

    This 2010 Christopher Nolan action/sci-fi film is an adventure from start to finish. DiCaprio’s Cobb steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology. Conceptually and visually striking, the majority of visual effects throughout the movie, such as the Penrose stairs, rotating hallway, mountain avalanche, and zero-gravity sequences, were impressively created through practical methods.

  • 1. The Departed

    If you hadn’t noticed by now, most of Leo’s best work is within the crime drama genre, especially when it comes to infiltrating. Scorsese’s The Departed is the best one. While DiCaprio’s undercover cop Billy is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate, Matt Damon’s Colin is a former criminal who has infiltrated the state police as an informer for the syndicate. The film hooks you as you watch the two become deeply consumed by their double lives, with the constant danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy in a race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save themselves. DiCaprio described his character as being in a “constant, 24-hour panic attack.”

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