Success Story of Al Pacino: From Dropping out of School at the Age 17 to Becoming one of the Greatest Actors of All Time

Al Pacino

The tougher the struggle, the more magnificent the triumph. Every real goal has its value and to earn and obtain it the struggle you undertake has the greatest worth. You can smile in difficulty, gather strength, determination and courage from anguish and win at the end or go back in your confined cell of comfortable life and applause for the success stories.

The gorgeous faces of glamorous and glistering world that inspire millions have their own struggling story to tell and All Alfredo James Al Pacino, one of the most successful American film actors and directors, 1 Oscar, 2 BAFTAs, 3 Golden Globe winner, is one of them. He is best known for playing the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy and Tony Montana in Scarface.

Al Pacino was born on April 25, 1940 to Italian immigrants in East Harlem, New York. His father Salvatore Pacino was an insurance agent in New York and mother Rose who separated when he was only two years old. Little Pacino moved with his mother to live with his grandparents in a dirt-poor area of New York, the South Bronx where he grew up. As he was the only child of family, he was highly protected by his grandparents and hardly allowed to go outside home until the age of seven. He was extremely shy and introverted in his childhood. He wasn’t inspired to become an actor until watching Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ at the Elsmere Theatre in the South Bronx at the age of 14. He also attended the renowned High School of the Performing Arts but dropped out of school at the age of seventeen after failing in every subject except English.

Despite his failure, his ambition to become an actor never dimmed. During those years, he did several low-grade jobs that included working as busboy, messenger boy and postal clerk to continue his acting studies. At the age 21, his life was struck by terribly cruel blow when his mother died at the age of 43 and his grandfather, who had the most important role in his life, died after one year. Everything went out of his hand, he had no permanent job, sufficient money, or a permanent place to stay. He started experiencing insomnia, and depression.

In 1968 he played the role of a racist Southerner in TV debut ‘NYPD’ but he got the major role in 1971 in a movie called ‘The Panic In Needle Park’. The movie portrays the gritty realities of heroin and drug addict street boys who meet in New York City’s Needle Park. It was the first time after several years of struggle he received little fame which gradually earned him major role in forthcoming movies. In 1972, he starred as Michael in an American gangster film ‘The Godfather’, which received critical acclaim and three Academy Awards. Pacino’s performance in the movie helped him establish his prominence in Hollywood. He signed for the next film Serpico, which was about a real-life New York police’s sincere and honest officer who was deceived by his fellow officers while coming across illegal activities within the department. In 1974, he played the same role in ‘The Godfather Part II’ and in 1975 he gave another hit movie Dog Day Afternoon, which is a story of a true bank robber John Wojtowicz. In 1977, he received a nomination for Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor for playing the role of a race-car driver in Bobby Deerfield. During the 1970s, he was nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Actor, for his incredible performances in Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and And Justice for All.

In 1990, he made his comeback with Godfather series The Godfather, Part III and the same year he received Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Dick Tracy. He did series of movies including Frankie and Johnny, Glengarry Glen Ross, Scent of a Woman, Heat, Donnie Brasco and Any Given Sunday, Insomnia, The Merchant of Venice and Two for the Money. In 2010 he won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for his role as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in an HBO Films biopic You Don’t Know Jack that premiered in 2010.

Besides being known as a famous actor, Al Pacino is also popular as a creative director. In 1996, he directed Looking for Richard, a quasi-documentary on Shakespeare’s known plays, Richard III, and in 2011 he directed a film Wilde Salome about writer Oscar Wilde, Wilde Salome.