Martin Charles Scorsese
1.63 m or 5feet 4inches
Director, screenwriter, producer, actor. Born in Flushing, New York (November 17, 1942). Scorsese, an asthmatic child, was raised in New York’s Little Italy and spent most of his early years frequenting movie theaters. His affinity toward film, coupled with the Italian-American experience of his childhood, served as the major influences in his career.
Scorsese was educated at a Roman Catholic Seminary, where he contemplated priesthood. Rather than devote himself to the church, Scorsese found his true calling and enrolled in New York University’s accredited Film School. By 1966, Scorsese had received his master’s degree, shot several award-winning short films and commenced production of his first feature film titled Who’s Knocking At My Door? (1968).
In 1973, Scorsese made the first of his films set in New York City, Mean Streets, a powerful portrayal of life and death among Italian-American youths. Featuring Robert De Niro, Mean Streets, not only assured Scorsese a place in contemporary film history, it marked the beginning of one of Hollywood’s most successful collaborations between an actor and a director.
In 1976, Scorsese directed the highly controversial Taxi Driver, in which DeNiro plays the severely disturbed Vietnam vet Travis Bickle. The pair would again explore the theme of brutal masculinity in the critically acclaimed Raging Bull (1980). DeNiro’s portrayal of middleweight boxing champion, Jake LaMotta, earned him an Academy Award for best actor, while Scorsese was nominated for best director.
Scorsese embarked on uncharted territory in 1986 when he traveled to the streets of Chicago to direct The Color of Money. The film cost $15 million, featured Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, and expanded the range of Scorsese’s talent.
In 1988, Scorsese sparked bitter controversy with his film adaptation of the 1960 novel The Last Temptation of Christ, in which he dramatizes Christ as a social deviant torn between conflicting desires of good and evil. 1990 marked the year of the equally controversial GoodFellas, in which Scorsese returns to his classic form and content. The film captures the life of the Italian mob in New York City with graphic violence and uncompromising humor. GoodFellas featured memorable performances by Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta and received a number of Oscar nominations including best adapted screenplay. Scorsese’s other notable films of the 1990s include a remake of the thriller Cape Fear (1991) and an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s famed novel The Age of Innocence (1993).
In 1995, Scorsese again explored the inner workings of organized crime with the true story of Casino, for which Sharon Stone earned an Oscar nomination. Scorsese’s ambitious epic Kundun (1997) provided audiences with an in-depth portrait of the Dalai Lama. To date, Scorsese’s most recent film is Bringing Out The Dead (1999), in which he returns to the streets of New York City and documents the obscurity of a modern-day Hell’s Kitchen.
The quality and popularity of Martin Scorsese’s films have spanned four decades. His work is often rooted in his life experience of an impressionable Italian-American Catholic heritage. The director’s success can be attributed to his keen insight into human nature and his ability to use that insight to create many of the film industry’s most memorable characters.