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De Niro: A Life Audiobook, by Shawn Levy Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Shawn Levy Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2014 ISBN: 9780553398694
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REMARKABLE BIOGRAPHY OF AN ICON There's little debate that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, screen actors of his generation, perhaps of all time. His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. Mean Streets, the Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, the Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull all dazzled moviegoers and critics alike, displaying a talent the likes of which had rarely--if ever--been seen. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, assuming that role completely into his own life, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances.          Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro--he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by inarticulateness and palpable awkwardness. It can be almost painful to watch at times, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. In this elegant and compelling biography, bestselling writer Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros--the characters and the man--seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists (his father, the abstract painter Robert De Niro Sr., was widely celebrated) who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restauranteur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about  a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry. His many friendships with the likes of Martin Scorsese,  Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel, Shelley Winters, Francis Ford Coppola, among many others, are woven into this extraordinary portrait of DeNiro the man and the artist, also adding a depth of understanding not before seen.         Levy has had unprecedented access to De Niro's personal research and production materials, creating a new impression of the effort that went into the actor's legendary performances. The insights gained from DeNiro’s intense working habits shed new perspective on DeNiro’s thinking and portrayals and are wonderful to read.  Levy also spoke to De Niro's collaborators and friends to depict De Niro's transition from an ambitious young man to a transfixing and enigmatic artist and cultural figure. Shawn Levy has written a truly engaging, insightful, and entertaining portrait of one of the most wonderful film artists of our time, a book that is worthy of such a great talent. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “[Robert De Niro’s] intense privacy melts substantially under the scrutiny of this new biography by Shawn Levy. By exploring both De Niro’s deep immersion film portrayals and his off-screen obliqueness, the biographer captures the depth of his personality and, in surprising ways, the secret of his acting magic. A telling life.”

    Barnes&, editorial review

  • De Nirois impressive, fair-minded, and doesn’t shrink from tough questions….[It’s] jam-packed with insight, anecdotes, and trivia about [De Niro’s] films.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • De Niro: A Life is likely as close as anyone can get to figuring out just who the star of Goodfellas and Raging Bull is in private, and the author’s respectful tone and preference for art over scandal would likely please the book’s subject…[A]n addictive read.”


  • “Despite scant sources of candidness by De Niro, Levy expertly culls details for a vivid, complex portrait of the enigmatic actor…Like any successful biographer, he captures not only the life of his subject but the spirit of the times in which De Niro lived, simultaneously charting the success of collaborators and peers like Martin Scorsese. Levy is not simply star-struck; he objectively portrays the criticism of De Niro’s later career for choosing easy blockbuster fare…An impressive biography that will surely stand as the definitive De Niro volume.”

    Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • “With no help from the publicity-wary actor himself, Levy does a decent, evenhanded job of delineating the career of this national treasure.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “There’s much information addressing the famously secretive actor’s onscreen and off-screen lives. The listening experience is recommended to De Niro enthusiasts and those who aspire to the acting profession.”


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About the Author

Shawn Levy is the film critic for the Oregonian and the author of The Last PlayboyReady, Steady, Go!Rat Pack Confidential; and King of Comedy. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three children.

About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator and actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.