He broke through with a bang in 1997 when he charmed an entire world as Jack Dawson in the film that can not have escaped anyone at this point, Titanic. Since then, it has gone “into the fucking stratosphere” for Leonardo DiCaprio, who has impressed and fascinated us again and again with his brilliant contributions in major films such as Catch Me If You Can, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island, Inception and The Great Gatsby.
In this article we are going to reveal some interesting and surprising facts about one of the hottest actors, producers and activists of our time.
“Honored delegates, leaders of the world, I pretend for a living.” – Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio was born November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, California. He got into show business early on, appearing in his first televised show at the tender age of five. He then appeared in a few national commercials as a teenager and began picking up recurring roles in television series like the soap opera Santa Barbara, and the sitcom Growing Pains. His first film role was in the 1991 movie Critters 3.
But it was with his roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries and Romeo and Juliet that he really started getting attention. Although international fame would first come with his role of Jack in 1997’s Titanic. Which was the highest-grossing film of all time until it was overtaken by Avatar in 2009.
Since then Leo has been unstoppable. With a number of box-office hits including Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Inception, Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Revenant. He is one of the highest-paid actors of all time, with him regularly making twenty million dollars or more per film. On top of that, he is also one of the most prominent environmental and climate change activists in the world. His net worth is currently estimated to be around 245 million dollars.
DiCaprio’s passion, talent, success and lifestyle are a source of inspiration so let’s take a closer look at this A-list actor with the 15 things you didn’t know about Leonardo DiCaprio.
- 1 The suggested name change
- 2 Not so fantastic fives
- 3 Big shoes to fill
- 4 The girl from Mozambique
- 5 High school dropout
- 6 O Oscar, Where Art Thou?
- 7 No American Psycho
- 8 The Plum so sensitive it’s illegal
- 9 Friendly neighbor
- 10 An eye for art
- 11 In good OCD company
- 12 Note to self: Don’t break up with Aretha Wilson, ever.
- 13 The Jay Leno of green cars (minus about two hundred)
- 14 The last survivor
- 15 Check, please!
1 The suggested name change
Near the beginning of his acting career Leo’s agent thought he would get more parts if he had a more Americanized name. He suggested that DiCaprio change his name to Lenny Williams. Obviously DiCaprio did not take that terrible advice and he turned out just fine, phew!
2 Not so fantastic fives
Leonardo was actually fired from his first acting job, for being unruly. Worth mentioning is that he was only five years old at the time. But it’s still interesting to note that Leo was kicked off the first show he was cast in, and this due to his unruly behavior. The show was a children’s television series called Romper Room which ran in the United States for over 40 years. Tough start, glad it worked out in the end.
3 Big shoes to fill
Named after Leonardo da Vinci. DiCaprio’s mother Irmelin happened to be standing in front of a Leonardo da Vinci portrait at a gallery in Florence, Italy when she felt baby Leo kick for the first time. His father took that as a sign and the parents decided to name their son after the famed Renaissance artist. Destined for greatness!
4 The girl from Mozambique
Leo is known to be a generous person who contributes to many charitable causes, but there is one little girl in particular who has been impacted by his generosity. Leo decided to unofficially adopt a young girl who lives in the SOS Children’s Village in Maputo, Mozambique. He sends her money each month for living expenses on food and calls her regularly to check in. Leo first met her and 23 other orphans in the village when he was filming the 2006 film Blood Diamond. Legend.
5 High school dropout
Leo’s parents separated when he was just one year old, but they raised him together in a few different neighborhoods in LA. He attended the Los Angeles Center for enriched studies for four years before going to LA’s John Marshall High School. But, he dropped out after his third year to accommodate his acting schedule. Later he would earn his GED with the help of a tutor. Interestingly enough, the same high school has some other notable alumni including singer and producer will.i.am.
6 O Oscar, Where Art Thou?
He can claim the most tweeted Oscar moment of all time in 2016, when DiCaprio finally got his first Oscar win for Best Actor in The Revenant. He got a record-shattering 440,000 tweet mentions per minute making it the most tweeted Oscar moment of all time. The previous highest tweeted moment came in 2014 when Ellen took one of the greatest selfies of all time along with A-list actors Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. That moment got an impressive 255,500 tweets per minute but that’s nowhere near the new record Leo set.
7 No American Psycho
Lionsgate Picture sent Leo the script for the 2000 film American Psycho to see if he was interested in playing the lead part. Christian Bale was originally cast in the role but was booted when Leonardo said he was interested. When Leo changed his mind and decided to work on a film called The Beach instead Bale was called upon again to take the role and it became one of the defining roles of his young career. So Leo turned down the lead role in American Psycho after Titanic opened, which was the break Christian needed, lucky break Mr Bale.
8 The Plum so sensitive it’s illegal
In 2001 Leo agreed to start a low-budget indie film called Don’s Plum alongside his friends Tobey Maguire and Kevin Connolly, this as a favor to their friend R.D. Robb who directed the film. The movie was intended to be a short film that would only air outside the US, but after Titanic was released and Leo became a much bigger star, Leo alleged that Rob changed the film into a full-length feature in order to capitalize on the actor’s new fame. Leo and Toby both used their influence in Hollywood to keep the film from being released and the producer of the film sued both actors for interfering. The lawsuit ended in the film being banned from release in the US and Canada. Things banned in Canada: Dueling and Don’s Plum. Luckily you can still duel in many American states.
9 Friendly neighbor
In 2017 Leo paid 23 million dollars for a beachfront property in Malibu, California on the Pacific Coast Highway. The purchase makes him neighbors to friend star Courtney Cox and hit television producer Mark Burnett. He bought the property from Vincent Viola who was president Trump’s pick for Secretary of the army, before he abruptly dropped out. Currently the 1.8 acre lot just holds a modest one-bedroom home, but Leo has gotten permission to demolish the house and build a new two-story residence, complete with a swimming pool, cliffside deck, on-site water treatment and a private beach. He owns another 1.6 million dollar home in Malibu since 1998 that he in 2017 put on the rental market for a cool $50,000 a month, or $25,000 a month if you sign a year-long lease. I’ll take the year-long lease please.
10 An eye for art
In 2011 DiCaprio and his deep pockets were in attendance at a high-end art auction at the famous Christie’s auction house in New York City. And he wasn’t shy about bidding, he threw out some bids on a couple of Picasso paintings but his heart was set on owning Chevalier on parade by surrealist painter Salvador Dali. He ended up winning the auction of the painting with a 1.2 million dollar bid, but he wasn’t the only one with deep pockets that night. In total the art auction brought in 156 million dollars. All for charity ey, no?
11 In good OCD company
Leonardo has been struggling with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) all of his life. As a child he stepped on cracks on the sidewalk on the way to school and had to repeatedly go back a block so he could step on the same cracks again. He admits that he has to fight the strong urge to go through doorways multiple times, and he is also compelled to step on every chewing gum stain he sees. Other actors who have OCD include Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore and Cameron Diaz.
12 Note to self: Don’t break up with Aretha Wilson, ever.
It’s 1999 and Leo is at a party at the mansion of producer Rick Salomon having a good time. When all of a sudden model Aretha Wilson, breaks a freaking bottle over his head. Resulting in his face being slashed and landing him 17 stitches. This actually happened. Aretha reportedly mistook him for an ex-boyfriend that had upset her. She was arrested and ended up taking a plea bargain to serve two years in jail. Following her release she was deported back to her native Canada. DiCaprio has never spoken publicly about the incident.
13 The Jay Leno of green cars (minus about two hundred)
Leo is known to be an environmentalist and this is reflected in his car collection. As well we know Leo could afford to drive anything but he chooses to purchase eco-friendly models that are either fully electric or hybrids. The cars he is most often seen in are his Tesla Roadster, Fisker Karma and Toyota Prius.
14 The last survivor
Millvina Dean was only 2 months old when the Titanic sank on April 14, 1912. Her father died on the ship but she survived along with her mother and brother. Millvina was the youngest onboard the ship and she became the longest living survivor. In her old age she was living in a nursing home and struggled to pay the bills. She had started selling off some of her Titanic mementos to help pay for her nursing home care. A fund was set up in April of 2009 to help her with her struggles and Leonardo and Kate Winslet both donated $20,000 to the cause. Unfortunately Millvina passed away less than six months later. Beautiful to think he helped financially support the last remaining Titanic survivor in her final days.
15 Check, please!
Every year Leo holds an annual fundraiser for his Leonardo DiCaprio foundation. 2017 was the fourth year for the event and as always it was a star-studded affair with performances by Lenny Kravitz and Madonna, and a high-end auction that contributed heavily to the thirty million dollar total donations. DiCaprio and Kate Winslet met on stage at the gala where the Titanic theme song My Heart Will Go On played. They announced they were auctioning off a dinner with Jack and Rose and the mystery winning bidder was willing to part with 1.35 million dollars for the experience. Guessing the food was included though.
That’s 15 things you didn’t know about Leonardo DiCaprio! If you like this article please share and comment.