Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born on November 11, 1974, in Los Angeles, California, the only child of Irmelin and George DiCaprio. His father is of Italian and German descent, and his mother, who is German-born, is of German and Russian ancestry. His parents signed him with a talent agent when he was a child, and DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational shows.
His parents divorced when he was still a toddler. Throughout his career, DiCaprio has demonstrated a high level of dramatic versatility, from his breakout film role as a mentally-challenged teenager in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), through his work with Martin Scorsese in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006).
In 1992, DiCaprio joined what became the final season of Growing Pains (1985), playing a homeless boy who was invited to move in with the Seavers.
The sitcom’s cancellation coincided with an upswing in his career, including the starring role in the film adaptation of Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries (1995) and his heightened portrayal of Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996).
Following his work on Titanic (1997), DiCaprio kept a low profile for a number of years, with roles in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and the low-budget The Beach (2000) being some of his few notable roles during this period.
He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama for The Aviator (2004) and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
In 2005, DiCaprio’s face was seriously injured when Aretha Wilson, a model, hit him over the head with a broken bottle at a Hollywood party. After pleading guilty in 2010, Wilson was sentenced to prison for two years.
In 2006, DiCaprio starred in both Blood Diamond and The Departed. In Edward Zwick’s war film Blood Diamond; he starred as a diamond smuggler from Rhodesia who is involved in the Sierra Leone Civil War.
The film itself received generally favourable reviews, and DiCaprio was praised for the authenticity of his South African Afrikaner accent, known as a difficult accent to imitate.
In 2008, DiCaprio starred in Body of Lies, a spy film based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, set in context of the Middle East and the War on Terror, telling the story of three men battling a terrorist organization, and each other.
At the 2007 Oscar ceremony, DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore appeared to announce that the Academy Awards had incorporated environmentally intelligent practices throughout the planning and production processes, thus affirming their commitment to the environment, and on July 7, 2007, DiCaprio presented at the American leg of Live Earth.
In 2013 he worked again with Baz Lurhrmann for a big-screen adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’. As with ‘J Hoover’, the film had mixed reviews while DiCaprio was given the thumbs up by critics. In January 2013 he announced he was going to take break from acting and ‘fly around the world doing good for the environment.’