Robert De Niro on father’s struggles with being gay: ‘I wish we'd spoken about it much more’

Taxi Driver actor opens up about the tribulations his married artist and sculptor dad faced coming to terms with his sexuality

Robert De Niro has discussed the difficulties his father, the artist Robert De Niro SR, faced coming to terms with his homosexuality.

The Taxi Driver actor is set to release a new documentary called Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr, in which he explores the life of the late the painter and sculptor.

“He probably was (conflicted about his sexuality),” the actor, 70, told OUT Magazine. “Being from that generation, especially from a small town upstate (in New York).

“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 realise that you sometimes have to do things now instead of later, because later may be 20 years from now - and that's too late.”

De Niro went on to describe his own relationship with his father.

 

“We were not the type of father and son who played baseball together, as you can surmise,” he said. “But we had a connection.

“I wasn't with him a lot, because my mother and he were separated and divorced… He was absent in some ways. (But) he was very loving. He adored me… as I do my kids.”

Despite the fact his De Niro SR died more than 20 years ago, the actor continues to preserve his art studio and final resting place in SoHo, New York.

“It was the only way to keep his being, his existence alive. To me, he was always a great artist.”

With a portrait of his father, Robert De Niro SR, in 2008 With a portrait of his father, Robert De Niro SR, in 2008 Still determined to keep his memory alive, De Niro has taken on the task of producing the documentary, which is set to premiere on HBO on 9 June.

“I felt I had to. I felt obligated,” he explained. “It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him. I was always planning on doing it, but never did. Then Jane Rosenthal, my partner at Tribeca [Enterprises], said, ‘We should start doing that now.' It was not intended to be on HBO. It was just something I wanted to do."

 

Watch the trailer for Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr below.

 

Read More: Robert De Niro's Tribute To Philip Seymour Hoffman
How Robert De Niro Got Sly Stallone Back In The Ring
Grudge Match - Robert De Niro's Latest Movie Reviewed

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor