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The life and times of Leonardo DiCaprio: A look back at the star's career

See photos of Leo playing gangsters, gamblers, kings and con men during his lively Hollywood career.

/ 44 PHOTOS
Parenthood

1990

Leonardo DiCaprio as Garry Buckman in the TV series "Parenthood," based on the movie of the same name.

NBC via Getty Images

1991

DiCaprio's career really began on television, with his role as Luke in the sitcom "Growing Pains," starting in 1991. His character was a homeless boy taken in by the lead family, the Seavers. Here, Mike (Kirk Cameron) and Ben (Jeremy Miller) console DiCaprio's character as he prepares for his first day of high school.

1993

DiCaprio played writer Tobias Wolff, with Robert De Niro playing Wolff's stepfather, in 1993's "This Boy's Life." DiCaprio and De Niro would reunite just three years later in 1996's "Marvin's Room."

1993

DiCaprio first came to the attention of many critics and fans when he starred in 1993's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," adapted by Peter Hedges from Hedges' 1991 novel. DiCaprio played mentally disabled Arnie, who lives with his overweight mother, two sisters and frustrated caretaker brother, Gilbert (Johnny Depp).

1995

In 1995, DiCaprio played author and punk musician Jim Carroll in the film version of Carroll's autobiographical book, "The Basketball Diaries." While the book recounts Carroll's growing-up years in the 1960s, it was adjusted to the 1990s to fit DiCaprio and the era of the film.

1996

DiCaprio, as Romeo, charms Juliet (Claire Danes) in 1996's "Romeo + Juliet." The film took the famed Shakespeare play and set it in a fictional modern city, giving the warring Montagues and Capulets competing business empires and upgrading their swords to guns with brand names such as "Dagger" and "Rapier."

1997

In the James Cameron-directed mega-hit "Titanic" in 1997, DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play doomed lovers from different social classes who fall in love aboard the mighty ship's lone voyage. The two actors would later reunite as a doomed married couple in 2008's "Revolutionary Road."

1998

DiCaprio was just 24 when he graced the cover of People's "50 Most Beautiful People" issue.

1998

In 1998's "The Man in the Iron Mark," DiCaprio played King Louis XIV of France as well as the king's identical twin, Philippe. The famed Three Musketeers rescue the masked Philippe and fight to put him on the throne in the place of his evil twin brother.

2000

In 2000's "The Beach," based on the Alex Garland novel, DiCaprio plays a backpacker who learns of an island paradise where a group of young people live secretly without formal governments and laws. Not surprisingly, it ends badly.

2001

DiCaprio and Robert De Niro performed onstage at "The Concert for New York City," held just a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York.

2002

In "Gangs of New York," DiCaprio, seen with co-star Daniel Day-Lewis, plays the son of a murdered gang leader who swears vengeance upon the man who killed his father.

2002

In 2002's lively "Catch Me If You Can," DiCaprio played real-life con man Frank Abagnale, who posed as a pilot, doctor, lawyer and FBI agent at various times during his life.

2002

DiCaprio poses with director Martin Scorsese and his "Gangs of New York" co-star Cameron Diaz at the Cannes Film Festival in France on May 20, 2002.

2004

Always politically active, DiCaprio made the rounds on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry in 2004. Here he appeared at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, urging students to vote.

2004

To play Hughes in "The Aviator," DiCaprio had to portray the aviation pioneer and business tycoon from his youthful days as a daring pilot until his sad and reclusive final days and death at age 70.

2005

While DiCaprio didn't take home an Oscar for his "Aviator" role, he did collect the Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a drama on Jan. 16, 2005.

2005

DiCaprio and Tom Hanks appeared during the taping of the "Earth to America!" television special at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Nov. 17, 2005.

2005

Before she wed and had a son with quarterback Tom Brady, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen dated DiCaprio. They attended the Academy Awards together on Feb. 27, 2005, in Los Angeles. DiCaprio was nominated for best actor for his role as Howard Hughes in "The Aviator," but lost out to Jamie Foxx's starring role as Ray Charles in "Ray."

2006

Award nominations and recognition flooded in for DiCaprio's performance in 2006's "The Departed," where the young actor held his own against veteran Jack Nicholson.

2006

DiCaprio, "Departed" co-star Vera Farmiga and director Martin Scorsese posed for pictures at the Rome film festival on Oct. 15, 2006.

2006

In 2006's "Blood Diamond," DiCaprio played a smuggler who specializes in the sale of conflict diamonds, the precious stones used to finance rebellions, privateers and terrorists.

2008

In 2008, DiCaprio starred as a CIA officer chasing terrorists in Iraq in "Body of Lies."

2008

DiCaprio starred with Kate Winslet in "Revolutionary Road," based on the novel by Richard Yates. Time magazine named the book one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. The film reunited DiCaprio and Winslet, who were loved by millions in 1997 as ill-fated "Titanic" lovers Jack and Rose.

2008

DiCaprio arrives at the European premiere of his 2008 film "Revolutionary Road" at Leicester Square, London, on Jan. 18, 2009. He plays a suburban 1950s husband whose life meets with tragedy when he and his wife cannot realize their dreams.

2010

DiCaprio and his girlfriend, Israeli model Bar Rafaeli, attend a game between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Jan. 18, 2010, in Los Angeles. DiCaprio is that rare figure among Hollywood actors — a native Angeleno.

2010

Robert De Niro, DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson were among the Hollywood stars answering donation phone calls at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon on Jan. 22, 2010, in Los Angeles.

2010

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in 2010's "Shutter Island," based on the Dennis Lehane novel. DiCaprio plays a U.S. marshal who's sent to investigate the escape of a murderous patient from an island insane asylum. But are things really what they appear to be?

2010

DiCaprio is shown in a scene from "Inception." The thriller, directed by "Dark Knight" mastermind Christopher Nolan, took the top spot at the box office with a $60.4 million haul the weekend of July 16-18, 2010. 

 

DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a thief skilled in the art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, making him an international fugitive and costing him everything he ever loved.

2010

DiCaprio, center, poses with his "Inception" co-stars Marion Cotillard, right, and Ellen Page at the premiere of the film at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, Calif., on July 13, 2010.

2011

DiCaprio is almost unrecognizable as an aging J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's 2011 film "J. Edgar," which focuses on the career and private life of the former FBI director.

2011

DiCaprio, here posing at the premiere of "J. Edgar," likes playing enigmatic characters. "When I can't immediately define the character, and there's an element of mystery to it and still a lot to be explored, that's when I say yes," says the actor.

2012

DiCaprio looked dapper in black tie at the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 15, 2012. He was nominated for best actor for his role in "J. Edgar," but lost to George Clooney, who starred in "The Descendants."

2012

In "Django Unchained," DiCaprio plays a cruel plantation owner, Calvin Candie, who stages fights to the death between his slaves.

2012

DiCaprio attends a screening of "Django Unchained" in New York on Dec. 11, 2012. The actor said that the role, in which he must mistreat slaves, made him uncomfortable, but he knew he had to take it.

2013

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan his beloved Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film of F. Scott Fitzgerald's famed novel.

2013

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in a scene from "The Wolf of Wall Street." The movie is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

2013

Actors Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio attends "The Wolf Of Wall Street" world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on Dec. 17, 2013..

2013

Moderator Brian Rose, director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Official Academy Members screening of 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York on December 18, 2013.

Leonardo DiCaprio Named UN Messenger Of Peace by the Un Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York City. Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

2014

Leonardo DiCaprio is named UN Messenger Of Peace by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York City. 

Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres / Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres
Leonardo DiCaprio

2015

Leonardo DiCaprio speaks at the Solutions Project garden party at La Plaza Cultural on June 18, 2015, in New York. DiCaprio helped launch a campaign aimed at making energy from renewable sources available to everyone — and making it affordable. He spent much of the last few years toward environmental and animal conservation efforts.

Charles Sykes / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Image:

2015

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant." While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his hunting team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home to his beloved family. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, Glass treks through the wintry terrain to track down John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the former confidant who betrayed and abandoned him. The movie received numerous award nominations and wins, including winning three Golden Globes, for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Actor – Drama, as well as a nomination for Best Original Score. 

Leonardo DiCaprio

2015

Leonardo DiCaprio poses in the press room with the award for best actor in a motion picture - drama for “The Revenant” at the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 10, 2016, in Beverly Hills, California.

Jordan Strauss / Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Image: Pope Francis receives Leonardo DiCaprio

2016

Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio exchange gifts at the Vatican on January 28, 2016.  Leonardo DiCaprio had a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican, where they discussed their passion for the environment. "Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you," DiCaprio said in Italian as he arrived in the Apostolic Palace and kissed the pope's ring.

OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HANDOUT / EPA
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