Al Pacino

(b. 1940) American film actor

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1940– )

US film actor, who has made many outstanding films.

Of Sicilian descent, Pacino was brought up in New York City, where he attended the High School for the Performing Arts and the Actors' Studio. He was already an experienced stage actor when he received an Obie Award in 1968 for his role in The Indian Wants the Bronx. His first appearance on Broadway came the following year, in Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie?, which earned him a Tony Award. Pacino shot to stardom with his portrayal of the gangster Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972) and its sequel The Godfather Part II (1974), in which he frighteningly depicts the decline of an idealistic young man into a cold-blooded murderer and betrayer.

His other films in this period were Serpico (1974), in which he appeared as an undercover policeman, Dog Day Afternoon (1975), as a homosexual bank robber, and Scarface (1983), in which he took another gangster role. From 1982 to 1984 Pacino was joint artistic director of the Actors' Studio, which he left to make Revolution (1985), an epic of the American War of Independence. The poor reviews and box-office returns for this film led Pacino to take a three-year break from filming. Sea of Love (1989) restored his confidence, which was consolidated by his role in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). His rendering of the blind martinet on a pre-suicide spree in Scent of a Woman (1992) was widely acclaimed. After seven Oscar nominations, this role finally won him the Oscar for best actor as well as a Golden Globe. Later films include Carlito's Way (1993) and Devil's Advocate (1998).

Subjects: Theatre.

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