- "The Godfather is about more than the Mafia; it's about conflicts in American culture. It's about a powerful man who builds a dynasty through crime—but he wants his son to be a senator, a governor; it's about the very nature of power. What it does to you. Who survives. I think it's a tragedy."
- ―Al Pacino[src]
Pacino was born in East Harlem, New York City to Italian American parents. His paternal grandparents originated from San Fratello, Province of Messina, and maternal grandparents originated from Corleone, Province of Palermo, Sicily.
Pacino is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather Trilogy and Tony Montana in Scarface, though he has also appeared several times on the other side of the law — as a police officer, a detective and a lawyer. His role as Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1993 after receiving seven previous Oscar nominations, one of them being in the same year.
He made his feature film debut in the 1969 film Me, Natalie in a minor supporting role, before playing the leading role in the 1971 drama The Panic in Needle Park. Pacino made his major breakthrough when he was given the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather in 1972, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Other Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor were for Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. Oscar nominations for Best Actor include The Godfather Part II, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, ...And Justice for All and Scent of a Woman.
In addition to a career in film, he has also enjoyed a successful career on stage, winning Tony Awards for Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. A longtime fan of Shakespeare, he made his directorial debut with Looking for Richard, a quasi-documentary on the play Richard III. Pacino has received numerous lifetime achievement awards, including one from the American Film Institute. He is a method actor, taught mainly by Lee Strasberg and Charles Laughton at the Actors Studio in New York.
Although he has never married, Pacino has had several relationships with actresses and has three children.
Notes and references
- Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio, 2006