Robert DeNiro's Love Letter to His Gay Dad


Out Magazine has a great interview with Robert DeNiro, about his father, whom he was named after, who lived and died in despair about being a starving artist, and a gay man.

The interview is for an HBO documentary that DeNiro produced, airing June 9, called Remembering the Artist: Robert DeNiro, Sr. You can view the trailer above. If the interview is any indication, then this movie will probably be a tearjerker. For example, it’s hard not to get emotional reading answers to questions like this:

If I may return to some of the things you read from the diaries in the documentary, your father said he felt like being an artist was an “affliction,” and he thought being gay was a sort of affliction. Do you think he was conflicted about his life’s passion?
About his homosexuality? Yeah, he probably was, being from that generation, especially from a small town upstate. I was not aware, much, of it. I wish we had spoken about it much more. My mother didn’t want to talk about things in general, and you’re not interested when you’re a certain age. Again, for my kids, I want them to stop and take a moment and realize that you sometimes have to do things now instead of later, because later may be 20 years from now — and that’s too late.

Earlier in the interview, the writer asks DeNiro about sharing a name with his later father, to which the actor tears up, barely able to answer the question. We’ve come to view Robert DeNiro as the emotionally closed off and hyper-masculine characters that he’s made iconic, so it’s incredibly touching to see him this vulnerable and relatable in real life, trying to connect with and honor a parent whom he may not have fully understood while growing up.

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