Legendary director Martin Scorsese is responsible for some of Hollywood's modern classics, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas and, in a career spanning four decades, it's almost impossible to comprehend he just recently received his first Academy Award. Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in New York City and developed a love for the cinema from regular outings to the movies with his father. Alfred Hitchcock was an early influence on Martin, as well as Italian neo-realist cinema. Growing up in a Catholic family, Martin originally wanted to go to the seminary and become a priest, but he ended up in film school at New York University, where he graduated in 1969 with an MFA in film directing. While still in school, Martin made a number of short films and directed his first full-length movie, Who's That Knocking on My Door in 1967. With its New York backdrop, spotlight on Italian-American life, rock soundtrack and distinctive editing style, Martin was already establishing the film making style he's still famous for. Following in the footsteps of such directors as Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron, Martin directed an independent film, the gangster drama Boxcar Bertha under B-movie producer Roger Corman's American International Pictures banner in 1972. Although it wasn't a huge box-office or critical success, it taught the director how to shoot quickly and cheaply. 1973 brought Scorsese his breakthrough movie Mean Streets, which also began his long association with actor Robert De Niro. The pair teamed up again in 1976 for the controversial Taxi Driver, which co-starred Jodie Foster as an underage prostitute. The film won the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. His next project, New York, New York with De Niro and Liza Minnelli was a flop, but he returned to form with the documentary The Last Waltz, chronicling the farewell performance by The Band. 1980's Raging Bull is considered by many to be the greatest film of Scorsese's career. The gritty, black and white drama stars De Niro, who famously gained 60 pounds to pay boxing legend Jake La Motta. The movie is considered one of the greatest films of the 1980s and won an Oscar for De Niro. His next two films The King of Comedy and After Hours, were not met with initial success, but became cult favorites. 1987's The Color of Money with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise was Scorsese's first commercially successful film, which he followed up with his most controversial film, 1988's Last Temptation of Christ. The 1990s brought even more success for the director with the mob dramas Goodfellas and Casino as well as Cape Fear and the period drama The Age of Innocence. Scorsese continued to rack up the Oscar nominations and was starting to be regarded as the Susan Lucci of the Academy - receiving nominations for both Gangs of New York and The Aviator and in 2006, he was finally honored with a Best Director Oscar for The Departed in 2007. Thanks to his body of work, Martin has deserved the honors he's achieved in his career and is truly an American treasure.
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