Born Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio on November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, he is known as a actor famous during the 21st century. His first name, Leonardo, was attributed to him by his mother as a result of the ‘kick’ he gave her at the time she was standing in front of Leonardo Da Vinci painting at a museum in Italy. He is the son of an Italian-American comic books distributor, George DiCaprio and a German former legal secretary, Irmelin Idenbirkin who both divorced when Leo was a toddler. Since their seperation, Leo spent his time in Echo Park, a particularly dirty and poor, drug-dominated area of Los Angeles where he and his stepbrother named Adam Farrar were raised by his mother and stepfather. During his childhood, Leo used to be a naughty and misbehaved child that was nearly kicked out from Romper Room educational program he took when he was 3 years old. Spent time passing his ordinary life just like any young boys of his age, Leo then reached school age and attended Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies before then enrolled at the John Marshall High School in Los Angeles. After also refusing to change his name to “Lenny Williams” which was suggested by an agent who eventually rejected him, Leo went on to cast for the role of Garry Buckman in the 1990s TV comedy drama series, “Parenthood” where he met fellow actor Tobey Maguire and so both have been best friends ever since. Still in 1990, Leo moved on appearing in an American soap opera “Santa Barbara”, as Mason Capwell, which ran on NBC for 2137 episodes from July 30, 1984 to January 15, 1993. During that period of time, Leo was also busy playing the role of a homeless boy, Luke Brower, in the sitcom “Growing Pains.” Playing in a bunch of movies, he was mostly famous for his roles in theatrical motion pictures, mainly for his debut role as Josh in “Critters 3” released in 1991. One year later, in 1992, Leo’s career breakthrough came as he played the role of Toby in the drama “This Boy’s Life” (1993), being in the same scene with Robert De Niro and Ellen Barkin. His part in the movie had, later on, led the New York Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics to name him runner-up for Best Supporting Actor, after which he got more offers to play in various movies and gained more fame of it. The following year, Leo was billed to portray a mentally retarded boy in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and his acting was so convincing that some people thought he really was. As a reward he was then bestowed an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in A Supporting Role and Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by An Actor in A Supporting Role in A Motion Picture. This achievement brought good luck charm for Leo who next got the main role in the 1996 updated modern day version of Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet.” Subsequent to the success of the flick, more and more film offers approached Leo but it was the role of Jack Dawson he portrayed in the 1997 romantic drama movie “Titanic” that really capitulated him into the galaxy of superstardom. Not only it held the record for the highest-grossing film of all time, generating over US$1.8 billion worldwide, but also spent 15 weekends atop the weekend box office, making it second only to “E.T.” (16 weekends) as the movie with the most weekends at that position. Greater than that, “Titanic” was nominated for fourteen Academy Awards and won eleven, including the title of 1997’s Best Picture. It, moreover, also gave Leo his 2nd Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama. This biggest hit in cinema history automatically made Leo a household name while earned him the title of ‘teenage heart-throb’ and sex symbol as well. From that point on, finding a high profile and promising film projects was no longer hard for him to do. Leo continued playing in the 1998 remake of “The Man in the Iron Mask,” delivering another dashing performance with the dual role of French King Louis XIV and his doppelganger. Then in 2000 he teamed with hard-edged director Danny Boyle for “The Beach”. In 2001 Leo was cast in director Martin Scorsese’s 19th Century drama “Gangs of New York” and in 2002 appeared in Steven Spielberg`s “Catch Me If You Can”. Two years later Leo re-teamed with Scorsese for the 2004 drama “The Aviator.” Delivered one of his strongest performances, his portrayal of the young Howard Hughes earned him some of the best reviews of his career as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. With such marvelous track record, Leo confidently adding more and more film projects to his resume, naming some were “The Departed” (2004) and “Blood Diamond” (2006), both earned him the 2006 Golden Globes and Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) nominations for Best Actor. That’s not all as in the same year he also received two nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards for a lead actor nomination for “Blood Diamond” and a supporting actor nomination for “The Departed” plus Oscar nomination for lead actor for “Blood Diamond” and a BAFTA nod for lead actor for “Departed.” In 2008, he re-joined Kate Winslet (Titanic) in Revolutionary Road and also appeared in the war film “Body Of Lies” In 2010 is starred in “Inception” which gained wide critical acclaim and in “Shutter Island” another collboration with Martin Scorsese. In 2011 he appeared in the biopic “J. Edgar” in which he played J. Edgar Hoover. In 2012 he starred in the 1800s set Western film “Django Unchained” playing a ruthless plantation owner. In 2013 he also played the role of Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann`s “The Great Gatsby” based on the 1925 novel. His upcoming film “The Wolf Of Wall Street” is him playing the role of Jordan Belfort, a New York stockbroker.
Leo`s love life has had plenty of media coverage. He has dated models Kristen Zang, Emma Miller, Gisele Bündchen, Bar Refaeli and Erin Heatherton. He also dated actress Blake Lively in 2011. He is currently in a relationship with German Model Toni Garrn. He is good friends with fellow actors Tobey Maguire, Kevin Connolly, Lukas Haas and Kate Winslet.
Aside from acting, Leo is a dedicated enviromentalist and has recieved praise for his activism. He only flies commercial, has electric cars and has solar panels installed in his Los Angeles home. At the 2007 Oscar ceremony, DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore appeared to announce that the Academy Awards had incorporated environmentally intelligent practices throughout the planning and production processes, thus affirming their commitment to the environment, and on July 7, 2007, DiCaprio presented at the American leg of Live Earth. In 2010, his environmental work earned DiCaprio a nomination for the VH1 Do Something Award. The awards show, produced by VH1, is dedicated to honoring people who do good and is powered by Do Something, a New York-based organization that aims to empower and inspire young people.
In 1998, DiCaprio and his mother donated $35,000 for a “Leonardo DiCaprio Computer Center” at the Los Feliz branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, the site of his childhood home. It was rebuilt after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and opened in early 1999. During the filming of Blood Diamond, DiCaprio worked with 24 orphaned children from the SOS Children’s Village in Maputo, Mozambique, and was said to be extremely touched by his interactions with the children. In 2010, he donated $1,000,000 to relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake.
During the 2004 presidential election, DiCaprio campaigned and donated to John Kerry’s presidential bid. The FEC showed DiCaprio gave $2,300 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in the 2008 election, the maximum contribution an individual can give in an election cycle. In November 2010, DiCaprio donated $1,000,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Society at Russia’s tiger summit, causing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to describe him as a “muzhik” or “real man”. In 2011, DiCaprio joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s campaign to free Tony, a tiger who has spent the last decade at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. DiCaprio is an activist for gay rights and in April 2013 he donated $61,000 to GLAAD, an organization which promotes the image of LGBT people in the media.