70-year-old actor, Robert De Niro, pays tribute to his late father in an upcoming HBO documentary, Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.

Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.

In the documentary set to premier June 9, Actor Robert De Niro opens up about his late, openly gay father. In the doc De Niro tearfully recalls as his father as “very loving.” Although De Niro Sr. never hid his sexual orientation, the fact he was gay was not well known outside of family and friends. In a way you can say his son has come out for him.

In an interview with Out Magazine’s, Jerry Portwood, posted online on Tuesday, the 70-year-old De Niro said he felt he had to talk publicly about his father’s sexuality. “I felt obligated. It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him. I was always planning on doing it, but never did … It was just something I wanted to do.”  The documentary includes footage from the ’70s of the senior De Niro, who died 20 years ago of cancer.

robert de niro and his father

He begins to cry when Portwood asked him about being named after his father, and how it feels to become more famous than the person he’s named for. “I get emotional. I don’t know why,” he says. “we were not the type of father and son who played baseball together.” De Niro said his father wasn’t a bad father, but “was absent in some ways. He was very loving. He adored me… as I do my kids.”

To this day De Niro maintains his father’s historic apartment and studio in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, which Out described as “filled with books, paintbrushes and hundreds of canvases, some of which he never finished.” 
robert de niro sr art work
“It was the only way to keep his being, his existence alive. To me, he was always a great artist.”

de niro and his father

“I didn’t think of just selling it and dismantling it. Luckily, I could afford to keep it going, so I left it as is. My mother was alive then. I don’t remember what we discussed. I documented and went through everything to make sure we catalogued it, and then I said, ‘I’m keeping it like this.'”

[images sourced via: Bloomberg.com, people.com, Toryburch.com]

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