Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born an only child to a German mother and a half Italian half German father. Leonardo was named after the famous painter Leonardo Da Vinci because his pregnant mother was looking at a Leonardo Da Vinci painting when he first kicked. Leonardo was born in Los Angeles, California, on November 11, 1974. Leonardo's parents would soon divorce and he would live mostly with his mother. Leonardo graduated from John Marshall High school after attending Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies for four years.
DiCaprio begun his acting career by starring in commercials and educational movies. It was in 1990 that he made his first appearance on the television show based on the movie Parenthood. After Parenthood Leonardo would go on to work on other shows such as The New Lassie and Roseanne.
Leonardo's first film was Critters 3, a comedic sci-fi horror film that was released in 1991 and went straight to video. While DiCaprio's first film was not a success, he had a breakthrough with the movie This Boy's Life when he was hand picked by Robert De Niro out of 400 young actors competing for the role. DiCaprio would go on to play in 5 other films between 1991-1995, including What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and The Basketball Diaries.
It was in 1997 that Leonardo DiCaprio would star in the highest grossing film of all time, Titanic. Raking in a massive $1.843 billion in box-office receipts worldwide, Titanic propelled DiCaprio into a new level of stardom, being nominated for some of the most prestigious awards including a second Golden Globe nomination. Leonardo has been famously quoted as saying "I have no connection with me during that whole Titanic phenomenon and what my face became around the world [...] I'll never reach that state of popularity again, and I don't expect to. It's not something I'm going to try to achieve either."
Following Titanic Leonardo had two great successes in 2002. The first of which was Catch Me If You Can, based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., who made millions in the 1960's writing counterfeit checks. The second success was Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, in which he played the protagonist Amsterdam Vallon, the young leader of the Irish faction.
In 2006 he worked yet again with Martin Scorsese on the film The Departed, where he played a cop working undercover in an Irish mob in Boston. Leonardo's performance in The Departed earned him a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor. in addition, DiCaprio earned his third Academy Award nomination for Blood Diamond.
In 2010 Leonardo DiCaprio released his third collaboration with Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island, based on a 2003 novel of the same name. The film opened at number one in the box-office and was DiCaprio's and Scorsese's most successful collaboration to date. In the same year DiCaprio starred in Christopher Nolan's Inception. A movie based on lucid dreaming and dream incubation, where he plays a thief who enters the mind of his target through dreams. The film was released to critical acclaim, grossing over $21 million its opening day.
Currently Leonardo has a lot of work lined up for him. Including Clint Eastwood's Hoover, based on J. Edgar Hoover, and he is cast in the title role of Oliver Stone's film Travis McGee. With all these movies on his plate he is still an active environmentalist, and has cited global warming as "the number one environmental challenge.