Date of Birth: April 25th 1940
In 1966, Pacino studied under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg (alongside whom he would later feature in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II). He found acting to be enjoyable and realized he had a gift for it. However, it did put him in financial straits until the end of the decade when he had won an Obie Award for his work in The Indian Wants the Bronx and the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie?. He made his first screen appearance in an episode of the television series N.Y.P.D. in 1968, and his largely unnoticed movie debut in Me, Natalie came the following year.
It was the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, in which he played a heroin addict, that would bring him to the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola. Pacino's rise to fame came after portraying Michael Corleone in Coppola's blockbuster 1972 Mafia film The Godfather and Frank Serpico in the eponymous 1973 movie.
Although several established actors, including Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and a little-known Robert De Niro were vying to portray Michael Corleone, director Coppola selected the relatively unknown Pacino, much to the dismay of studio executives. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination. Pacino's performance as Michael Corleone offers one of the finest examples of his early acting style, described by Halliwell's Film Guide as "intense" and "tightly clenched".
Pacino continued his dedication to the stage, winning a second Tony Award for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and performing the title role in Richard III for a record run on Broadway despite poor notices from critics.