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His Road to Fame
His blue eyes are famous,
girls love his
he has fans
He's the star of Romeo
Juliet and Titanic.
He's the star of Romeo and
Juliet and Titanic.
But Leonardo Di Caprio wasn't always famous.
In 1988, he was only a boy
with no money.
He was in school, but he wasn't a good student.
Why is he now a star? This is Leo's story.
handsome young actor start? Young actors in the United States
usually go to Hollywood in California. They go because people make
movies there. Leo didn't go to Hollywood, he always lived there and
Hollywood was his home. Leo's mother and father, Irmelin Idenbirken and
George Di Caprio, lived in New York. Then they moved to California. In
1974 they had a son, Leonardo. But they had problems, and George
away from the family home. Leo was only one year old, and he stayed with
his mother. But his father visited him every day and the family was
There are beautiful houses in Hollywood, but it isn't all beautiful.
There are bad streets in Hollywood too, and Leo and his mother lived on
one. There were a lot of problems and there were drugs on the streets.
Later, Leo and his mother moved to a new home.
Leo was a happy boy, but he wasn't always good. He liked playing and
having fun. School wasn't interesting for him.
His first time on TV was at five years old. He was on the children's
show, Romper Room. But he always wanted to play, and the show's
producers were angry with him.
Leo wasn't on television again for nine years. But television wasn't the
only interesting thing for the young boy. He liked reading books and
watching movies. He liked animals and he loved the ocean. His mother's
father and mother lived in Germany, and Leo often went there on
vacations. He knows a lot of German.
Leo's brother, Adam Starr, was an actor too. He made a lot of money from
TV commercial. Then, of course, Leo wanted to act too.
But a lot of people want to act. It's difficult for new actors because
there aren't jobs for every actor in Hollywood. Actors usually
for a part on a movie or television show. The director watches, and he
gives the part to the right actor.
Leo went to a lot of auditions. Often he didn't get the jobs and then he
was unhappy. But at fourteen he got a part in a TV commercial
for Matchbox cars. After that he was in a lot of commercials and he had
small parts in some famous television shows - Lassie, Roseanne
and The Outsiders.
Leo wanted to get big parts in television shows, but it was
difficult. One woman in Hollywood didn't like his name. He tried the new
name Lenny Williams, but he didn't like it. He quickly
went back to
Leonardo Di Caprio.
Then he got an important part in the television show, Santa Barbara.
The show was on TV five times every week, and Leo did a lot of work.
There was a new script for every show.
Leo in the Movies
Leo wanted to act in
Parenthood, a new television show. The story was from the
of the same name. Leo watched the movie again and again, and he liked
the story. He auditioned and he got the part. The show was on television
every week. But it wasn't a hit and it stopped after four months.
In 1991, Leo was in the television show Growing Pains. The show
started in 1985, but the producers wanted a handsome new actor. Leo
played Luke Brower, a boy with no home. He did the job for a year.
Leo was a television actor now. He stopped going to school, but a
teacher went to him at work. Leo liked that - it was fun. He was a good
Now he wanted to try movies. He got small parts in two movies,
Critters 3 and Poison Ivy. Then he auditioned for a new
movie, This Boy's Life, with Robert De Niro.
Four hundred young actors auditioned for the part. Some actors didn't
want to audition with De Niro because he was a famous star. But Leo
didn't have a problem with that. The director, Michael Caton Jones,
watched Leo with De Niro. He liked Leo's acting and Leo got the part.
The movie was from Tobias Wolff's book. Leonardo's character was very
important because he played the teenage Tobias Wolff. In the movie,
Tobias lives with his mother. His mother meets and then starts to love
Dwight Hansen (Robert De Niro). Dwight wants to be Toby's father, but
Toby doesn't like him.
Leo loved working with de Niro. A lot of actors go to acting schools,
but Leo never went. His only acting teachers were actors. De Niro was
very important to him.
The Right Man for the Job
Leo auditioned for a part
in the movie, What's Eating Gilbert Grape. The director, Lassie
Hallstrom, liked Leo, but he didn't want a handsome actor. Then Leo
auditioned again. He was the right man for the job!
Johnny Depp played Gilbert Grape in the movie. Juliette Lewis was
Gilbert's friend Becky, and Leo was Gilbert's brother, Arnie. Arnie was
a difficult character, but Leo did a very good job. He and Johnny Depp
had a lot of fun. With Depp, Leo tried new things to eat. Depp liked
watching Leo's face. Leo liked working with Juliette Lewis too and some
people talked about a romance.
Leo was famous after What's Eating Gilbert Grape. But he was only
nineteen and he lived with his mother!
Suddenly, a lot of people in Hollywood wanted Leonardo Di Caprio in their
movies. Sharon Stone wanted him for her new movie, The Quick and the
Dead. Leo read the script and he liked it. He liked Sharon Stone,
and he wanted to work with the director, Sam Raimi.
Leo and Sharon kissed in the movie. People watched the movie and talked
about a romance. But Leo and Sharon didn't have a romance. They're only
friends. They kissed because their characters kissed in the script.
The Basketball Diaries is the story of four teenage boys. They
have problems with drugs. Leo loved the story and he wanted to be in the
movie. He played Jim. James Madio, Patrick McGaw and Mark Wahlberg
played Jim's friends. They made the movie in New York City. Leo loved
New York! Leo and Mark Wahlberg often went to bars and cafes at night.
They danced with girls and had fun. There were a lot of stories in the
newspapers. People talked about him and his character in the movie. Were
they the same? Did Leo take drugs too? The answer is no.
After The Basketball Diaries, Leo got a lot of movie scripts. His
father started to read them for him, and Leo only looked at the good
scripts. George is important to Leo. He was fifty in 1994, and Leo
wanted to give him a car. He got a new car and went to his father's
house. George smiled - the car was for him!
Total Eclipse is the story of the famous French writer, Arthur
Rimbaud. Leo played Rimbaud in the movie. David Thewlis played Rimbaud's
friend, Paul Verlaine. Total Eclipse was difficult for Leo.
Rimbaud and Verlaine were not only friends - they had a romance too. Leo
didn't like kissing a man!
Then Leo was in a new movie. And he was a big star.
The New Romeo
director Baz Luhrmann wanted to make a movie of William Shakespeare's
Romeo and Juliet. He asked Hollywood producers for the money, but
they said no. They wanted new stories, and Romeo and Juliet was
from 1595! Luhrmann wanted Leo for Romeo, but Leo didn't want the part. He didn't
want to be in a movie of an old story.
But Luhrmann's script was for
young people today. In his movie, Romeo and Juliet live in Verona Beach,
USA, they drive cars and listen to today's music.
Shakespeare's characters are difficult, and Leo was unhappy about that
too. Then he watched Keanu Reeves in the movie of Much Ado About
Nothing which was from a Shakespeare story, and Reeves didn't have a
Now Leo wanted to play Romeo. The producers were happy and Luhrmann got
the money, but he didn't
have a woman to play Juliet. Leo watched Claire Danes on her show, My So
Called Life, and he talked with Luhrmann about her. She auditioned and
she got the part.
They made the movie in Mexico. The work was difficult, and Leo got very
sick from the food. One night Leo and a friend went to a bar in Mexico
City. A man at the bar got angry, and he hit Leo's friend! But they
finished the movie. It was a hit, and Leo was a big star. One fan even
wanted his shirt!
People talked about his romances with Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell and
Sharon Stone. But these stories were wrong. The actor's professional
future is looking bright. "I can't say enough, that I am the product of
My main thing is that I just don't want
these opportunities that I have."
Source: English Digest
all over the world(en
todo el mundo)
a man who is very
moved away from:
left the family home(se
fue de) TV commercial:an advert on TV (aviso
take a‘test’ for a part in a
realizan una prueba de actuación)
went back to:
a) hit movie: asuccessful
éxito de taquilla)
my main thing:
the most important thing to me(lo
más importante para mí) to
to spend ot to throw away (desperdiciar)
ACTIVITY # 1
AFTER READING THE ARTICLE ABOVE, DECIDE WHETHER THE EIGHT
SENTENCES BELOW ARE TRUE OR FALSE. THEN CHECK
Leonardo moved to Hollywood in 1974.
Di Caprio first appeared on television when he was nine years old.
He often visited Germany because his grandparents lived there.
Leonardo Di Caprio's real name was Lenny Williams.
Parenthood was a very popular television show.
Leonardo played opposite Robert De Niro in a film called
Leo had a romance with Sharon Stone.
Leo's father George read all his scripts for him.
ACTIVITY # 2
AFTER READING THE ARTICLE ABOVE, TRY TO IDENTIFY THE TITLES OF THE
FOLLOWING MOVIES STARRING LEO DI CAPRIO. THEN CHECK
Leo played a famous French writer in this
Leo played a teenage boy who has problems with drugs.
Leo played a boy who didn't
like his stepfather.
In this movie Leo played a famous
In this other movie Leo played Johnny Depp's brother Arnie.