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Al Pacino

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About Al Pacino

Actor and director Al Pacino is a unique and enduring figure in the world of American stage and film. Born to a family of Italian immigrants in East Harlem, he grew up in New York City's South Bronx, and while he initially wanted to become a professional baseball player, he fell under the spell of the theater in his early teens after seeing a production of Chekov's The Seagull. He attended New York City's famed School of Performing Arts until the age of seventeen and moved on to study acting first at the Herbert Berghof Studio (HB Studio) with teacher and coach Charles Laughton, and later, at the legendary Actors Studio with mentor Lee Strasberg.Between 1963 and 1967 he honed his craft working in numerous theatrical productions including William Saroyan's Hello Out There for his off-Broadway debut in 1963; Why is a Crooked Letter in 1966, for which he won an off-Broadway Obie Award; The Indian Wants the Bronx, that earned him another Obie Award as best actor of the 1967-68 season; and Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? for his Broadway debut and first Tony Award in 1969.  Pacino continued appearing onstage in the 1970s, receiving a second Tony Award for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and performing the title role in Richard III.  In the1980s he again achieved critical success on the stage while appearing in David Mamet's American Buffalo.  Since 1990 Pacino's stage work has included revivals of Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, Oscar Wilde's Salome and Lyle Kessler's Orphans. In 2011, he portrayed Shylock in New York in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park acclaimed production of The Merchant of Venice which transferred to Broadway that fall. The performance garnered him a third Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Play.He made his feature film debut in a minor supporting part in the 1969 film Me, Natalie before landing a leading role in the 1971 drama Panic in Needle Park. Pacino's breakthrough came in 1972 when director Francis Ford Coppola chose the relatively unknown actor to portray Michael Corleone in The Godfather. His portrayal of the utterly ruthless heir to Marlon Brando's Godfather earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He followed his performance in The Godfather with three more iconic film roles and three more Academy Award nominations for Best Actor: Detective Frank Serpico in Serpico, Michael Corleone in Godfather Part II and bank robber Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon.  Additional films during that time include Scarecrow in 1973 with Gene Hackman, for which he won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Sydney Pollack's Bobby Deerfield in 1977, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of the title character and in 1979, And Justice For All, for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.  In 1983 came a career highlight and one of Pacino's defining roles as Cuban drug lord Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's Scarface.
After taking a break from Hollywood Pacino returned to the screen with 1989's Sea of Love. Two
Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor followed for Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy in 1990 and Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross in 1992.
His role as Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992.  He continued through the 1990's with Carlito's Way, Heat, The Devil's Advocate, Donnie Brasco and in 1999 Pacino starred as real life 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman in the multi-Oscar nominated The Insider followed by Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday in 1999.  In 2002 Pacino stared in Insomnia, The Recruit followed in 2003, and in 2004 Michael Radford directed Pacino playing Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. The role of lawyer Roy Cohn in the 2003 HBO miniseries Angels in America won Pacino his first Emmy Award and third Golden Globe Award.  Other work for HBO television includes another Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning performance as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the biopic You Don't Know Jack in 2010 and Pacino has just recently completed shooting David Mamet's film about the trial of Phil Spector.In addition to his many performances as an actor Pacino has directed three films.  His love of the role Richard the III and his passion for Shakespeare became the source for his award winning film Looking For Richard in 1996. In 2000 he produced and directed Chinese Coffee with Jerry Orbach in a film about a two down and out artists living on the edge in the West Village in New York City.In 2003 Pacino appeared on Broadway as King Herod in Oscar Wilde' Salome, and on September 4, 2011, his film Wilde Salome—which he directs and stars in as Herod with Jessica Chastain in the title role and Kevin Anderson as John the Baptist—receives its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. He will also receive the festival's Jaeger-Le Coultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2011 Award.