Robert De Niro : A new book about the Hollywood giant lays him bare… De Niro’s darkest secrets , by Shawn Levy

Updated: November 29, 2014
Robert De Niro : A new book about the Hollywood giant lays him bare... De Niro's darkest secrets , by Shawn Levy

A new book by well-known Hollywood biographer Shawn Levy reveals shocking secrets from the life and career of famous actor Robert De Niro. As secretive as De Niro is, many doubt that he will be happy to have his darkest secrets, such as drugs abuse and affairs with celebrities, exposed..

At the height of his fame — when he had conquered showbusiness with films such as Raging Bull and The Deer Hunter — his life spiralled into cocaine abuse and a friendship with comedian John Belushi that had tragic consequences.

In De Niro: A Life, film writer Shawn Levy also reveals new details about the actor’s compulsive womanising and sometimes high-handed treatment of the black women he chose to seduce, including claims that he pressured one of them to have an abortion.

He may not have appeared in a truly great film for more than 20 years, but De Niro is still spoken of with awe by movie buffs who recall his glory years in the Seventies and Eighties.

This was an actor so perfectionist that he learnt a Sicilian dialect to play mobster Vito Corleone for The Godfather II, and put on 70lb and took up boxing for his Oscar-winning role as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull.

Although biographer Levy is star-struck by De Niro’s brooding performances, he admits the actor could be thin-skinned, quick-tempered and focused on his career above all else.