Leonardo DiCaprio is one of those rare people who managed to go from child star to grown up star with more grace than anyone thought possible. No wild phases for Leo, even after making money and getting famous at a very young age. From day one, Leonardo DiCaprio has seemed like a really stand up guy, and an extremely talented one at that.
He went from doing random day-player roles as a young teen (yes, that was a 16-year-old Leo on Roseanne for an un-credited student role), to a starring role on Growing Pains, before being picked by De Niro to star in This Boy's Life. Not long after that, Leo snagged an Oscar nod for Gilbert Grape. Then came Basketball Diaries, Romeo + Juliet, and Titanic. Suddenly he was the teen heartthrob, but instead of choosing the easy path, he kept taking challenging roles. The Beach, Gangs of New York, Catch Me if You Can, The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, etc. all followed. The man can pick a script!
But who is Leonardo DiCaprio? How would his biography outside of movie roles read? Where does that iconic name comes from? Who are his decades-long friendships with? What causes does he believe in and does how he back them? And what about his love of dinosaur skeletons?
We've pored over the history of the man, through interview after interview, fact after fact, quote after quote, in order to bring you the best stories about who Leo really is. There is so much to learn about the man. Consider this your own personal DiCaprio wiki page. These are fun facts and trivia you didn't know about Leonardo DiCaprio! When you're done learning about him, be sure to check out our Leonardo DiCaprio movies list.
James Cameron Wanted Him For Spider-Man
Not only did James Cameron write a Spider-Man script with the intent to direct it as well, he wanted his Titanic star to play Peter Parker! The James Cameron Spider-Man obviously never came to pass, but around the same time, Leonardo DiCaprio was locked into playing another now iconic role, Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.
Eventually scheduling conflicts forced him to leave the role, and a fairly unknown Christian Bale took over. It was Bale's performance in Psycho that gave comic fans faith that he could pull off the Dark Knight!Source: Observer.com
He's Named After Leonardo DaVinci
Yup, just like your favorite Ninja Turtle. Apparently DiCaprio's parents were visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and stopped to look at a DaVinci painting. It was at that exact moment that little Leo kicked for the first time.
They decided it was an omen and named him Leonardo.
Source: Wall Street Journal
He Suffered From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder As A Child
Leonardo DiCaprio had long suffered from OCD and relished to explore that side of himself by playing the iconic Howard Hughes. Howard Hughes famously suffered from all manner of mental ticks and aversions, and though Leo's were never that serious, he says playing Hughes was a good outlet for him. He admits it did continue for a while after filming, but that he was able to mentally squash the habit again.
"I'm able to say at some point, 'OK, you're being ridiculous, stop stepping on every gum stain you see. You don't need to do walk 20 feet back and put your foot on that thing."
Source: Contact Music
He Is A Huge Advocate For Climate Change PolicyVideo: YouTube
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the loudest voices for attention to climate change in the world. He's a huge environmentalist who flies commercial instead of private (or when he has to fly private, he pays for the carbon offset). He drives a Tesla, a Fisker Hybrid, a Prius, or another of his armada of low impact vehicles. He spoke at the 2007 Academy Awards alongside Al Gore about climate awareness. He's donated millions of dollars to a myriad of environmental non-profits. He even donated $1 million to the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2010.
He's also spoken directly to the U.N. about the need for climate change, and was named an official Messenger of Peace.Source: UN.Org