Robert DeNiro was being treated for prostate cancer. He has generally kept information relating to his treatment private, but did tell now-former CNN talk show host Larry King during a December 2006 interview that he received a prostatectomy, a surgical procedure that involves either the partial or complete removal of the prostate gland.
Rarely does interviews and is known as one of the most ultra-private celebrities. He was the subject of a late 90s interview (and cover photo) for Esquire magazine. Most of the article focused on how guarded he is with his personal life, what few details are known about him, what rumors are speculated while only a minority of the article dealt with the actual interview itself. The writer noted that while the interview was ultimately agreed upon, he was given a substantial list of off-limit subjects NOT to ask De Niro about. They included: politics, religion, his family, his reported interest in fine wines, and so on.
His performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976) is ranked #22 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Formerly held the World Record for Most Weight Gained for a Movie, in gaining over 60 pounds for his role in Raging Bull (1980). But seven years later, Vincent D'Onofrio eclipsed him in gaining 70 pounds for his role in Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Passed up the opportunity to play Frank Costello in The Departed (2006) to work on his second directorial feature The Good Shepherd (2006).
Is one of five performers to win an Oscar playing a character that spoke mostly in a foreign language. The other are Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard, Roberto Benigni and Benicio Del Toro.
Inducted into the Italian-American Hall of Fame in 2002.
Mentioned in "Wierd Al" Yankovic's song 'Frank's 2000" TV'.
De Niro and Robin Williams were the last stars to see John Belushi alive, albeit on separate visits to bungalow #3 of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont hotel that fateful day in March 1982.
Was offered the part of Dick Tracy in Dick Tracy (1990).
His performance as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980) is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Ranked #5 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list (October 1997).
Was good friends with comedian John Belushi, who died of a drug overdose in 1982 on separate visits to bungalow #3 of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont hotel that fateful day in March 1982. He visited Belushi's apartment at 3:00 am on the morning of his death but, according to eyewitnesses, left minutes later after seeing that Belushi was ill. Belushi had also been visited by Robin Williams less than an hour earlier, who also left straight away.
Ranked #78 in Premiere's 2002 annual Power 100 List.
Three movies (at least) that De Niro has appeared in have the song "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones noticeably featured in the soundtrack - - The Fan (1996), Casino (1995) and Goodfellas (1990).
Has a son, Raphal, with Diahnne Abbott.
Renewed his marriage vows to wife Grace Hightower at De Niro's Ulster County farm near New York's Catskill Mountains. De Niro married Hightower in 1997, but their marriage looked to be ending when De Niro filed for divorce two years later. Their fallout continued into 2001 as a potential custody battle over their son Elliott heated up. However, the divorce was never finalized and they managed to smooth over their troubles.
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #38 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Underwent surgery for prostate cancer at New York's Sloan-Kettering Hospital in December 2003. The cancer has now gone into remission.
Turned down the role of Tony D'Amato in Any Given Sunday (1999).
His wife Grace Hightower gave birth to their son Elliot on 18 March 1998.
Ranked #1 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Living Actor (Gods Among Us)" list (October 2004).
He was voted the 34th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
At the age of 17, after leaving the movies with a friend, he unexpectedly stated that he was going to be a film actor. No one believed him until he dropped out of his senior year of high school and joined Stella Adler's acting school.