September 14, 2012
Leonardo DiCaprio is the apotheosis of the American dream. He was born of an immigrant mother and a father who was only a fourth generation American, but raised without his dad. He decided in his youth that he wanted to pursue acting and followed his dream to its fruition. DiCaprio’s background is German, Russian, and Italian, and he had a hard time breaking into the business at first. Though most people may assume that Leonardo DiCaprio is the name that he took once he began acting, they are wrong. Leonardo Wilheim DiCaprio is his real name. In fact, his first manager wanted him to change his name to Lenny Williams, but he refused. Without taking the advice of his manager, Leonardo started working television commercials and eventually landed small recurring roles in television shows like Growing Pains. DiCaprio spun that opportunity into small roles in films with the likes of DeNiro and Streep, and eventually worked his way to the top of his craft with incredible roles in the movies What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and The Basketball Diaries. By the time he finished Titanic with director James Cameron, he was a bonafide star. DiCaprio rose from humble beginnings and became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. His gift is too make complex, believable characters seem human and engaging. In What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, he played a mentally challenged kid and you could see the dull, light in his eyes. A cross of wonder and confusion was ever-present in him on-screen. In The Departed and in Blood Diamond, he changed between difficult accents so fluidly that you would have thought him to have grown up in the areas that the characters he played lived. He immerses himself in every role so well, that you forget that you are watching a movie and begin to empathize or despise his character. DiCaprio is one of the few true movie stars of this generation. He is not only one of the most handsome actors on the silver screen, but he is also one of the most talented.
However, what makes Leonardo DiCaprio so special is that he is not satisfied with simply being one of the most gifted thespians and possibly the highest paid working celebrity in cinema. He is also one of the most conscious people in the world and a dedicated environmentalist. He left proceeds of the movie Blood Diamond for the victims of diamond trafficking, to change the way that diamonds are found and processed, and he raised awareness about the situation in South Africa. He owns Eco-friendly cars and refuses to charter private jets despite being one of the most recognizable stars around. DiCaprio works with orphaned children in Africa, and regularly donates to worthy causes. In fact, Leonardo DiCaprio has donated millions of dollars of his money to various causes around the world. He uses his celebrity to better the planet which is rare and admirable.
And though he seems too good to be true already, the legend of Leo gets even better when you see his track record with the ladies. He has a long list of beautiful and famous women that he has dated through the years, including but not limited to these ladies.
Kendal Lee Schuler