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Monday, 22 January, 2001, 06:39 GMT
Al Pacino: Hollywood grit
Al Pacino
Al Pacino finally wins an Oscar after being nominated eight times
Hollywood actor Al Pacino is 2001's recipient of the Golden Globes' prestigious Cecil B DeMille career achievement award on Sunday.

The award is bestowed on an internationally recognised and respected name who has made an outstanding contribution to the world of entertainment.

In the course of his film career, spanning more than 30 years, Pacino, 60, has certainly achieved more than most.

He has starred in more than 30 films, winning two Golden Globes for Scent of a Woman and Serpico and receiving 13 nominations overall.

Scent of a Woman
Scent of a Woman crowned Pacino's career

He also won an Oscar for Scent of a Woman and is an eight-time Academy Award nominee.

But above all, Pacino stands out as actor who - through roles in movies such as The Godfather, Scarface and The Insider - has become the epitome of gritty onscreen cool.


Pacino's love affair with acting began as a child growing up in the Bronx in New York.

His biggest treat was to go to the local cinema with his mother which enthused him to re-enact the characters he saw onscreen.

Grammar school teachers encouraged him to apply for the famed High School of the Performing Arts.

Pacino movies
The Godfather - 1972
Serpico - 1973
Godfather: Part II - 1974
Scarface - 1983
Sea of Love - 1989
Godfather: Part III - 1990
Scent of a Woman - 1992
Donnie Brasco - 1997
The Insider - 1999

Pacino was no academic and at 17 he decided to leave school. He worked as a theatre usher, messenger and an office mail boy.

Yet, deep down Pacino he still had the acting bug and began classes in his spare time.

He raised enough money to enroll at the Herbert Berghof Studio and later won a place at the famed Actors' Studio in 1966.

Pacino's professional acting debut was on stage in off-Broadway productions of The Connection and Hello Out There.

He won an Obie theatre award for his potent performance as a street thug in The Indian Wants the Bronx in 1968.

The following year, he won a Tony for the Broadway production of Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie? To this day, Pacino has always stated that theatre is his first love.


None the less, the movies held the key to fame and fortune. Pacino's first feature films Panic in Needle Park and Me, Natalie saw him play the part of a drug addict.

The Godfather Trilogy
The Godfather Trilogy has earned Pacino a place among the Hollywood greats

He did extensive research in and around methadone treatment centres and drug-pusher haunts.

His professionalism paid-off and his hard-hitting performance won him the role in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather that made him a star.

Pacino's moody performance as the reluctant son thrust into the family crime business won him a supporting actor Oscar nomination.

He followed it up with an equally forceful performance in Serpico, playing a rigidly honest police officer attempting to uncover corruption in the New York Police Department.

Frankie and Johnny
Pacino took a romantic role in Frankie and Johnny

The Godfather II came next in 1974 in which Pacino capitalised on his dark onscreen charisma to play the cruel but beguiling head of the mob - again winning an Oscar nomination.

Pacino has, like all actors, made bad movie choices along the way. Films such as Cruising in 1980 and Revolution in 1985 were poorly received.

But another blinding low-life role in Scarface in 1983 - as criminal Cuban immigrant Tony Montana in Miami - squashed any lingering bitter effects.

The start of the 90s saw Pacino reprise his characteristic mob role in The Godfather: Part III.

But the new decade also brought out the softer romantic side of Pacino alongside Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny in 1991.


Maturity also seemed to bring him a growing status and screen presence.

He finally won the best actor Oscar for his role as the cantakerous, but soft-hearted, blind man in Scent of a Woman in 1992.

In between these magnetic Hollywood roles, Pacino has maintained his close allegiance with the theatre.
The Insider
The Insider was one of the most praised films of last year

He won a second Tony in 1977 and in 1996 made the documentary Looking for Richard in which he explained his passion for treading the boards.

But there is no getting away from the Pacino his fans know and love.

Recent parts in Donnie Brasco and Devil's Advocate in 1997 again re-inforced the tough guy persona.

And last year's The Insider - in which he played hard-nut 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman - proved that more than three decades on, Pacino has lost none of his presence.

The Golden Globes ceremony takes place on Sunday 21 January.

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13 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Pacino was nearly 'Sonny Scott'
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