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Martin Charles Scorsese

Also Known As: "Marty"
Birthplace: Queens, New York, Queens County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles Scorsese and Catherine Scorsese
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Private; Julia B. Cameron; Isabella Rossellini and Barbara De Fina
Ex-partner of Dawn Roven
Father of Private; Domenica Cameron-Scorsese and Private
Brother of Private

Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Martin Scorsese

He is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. He is the founder of the World Cinema Foundation and a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the cinema, and has won awards from the Oscars, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Directors Guild of America. Scorsese is president of The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation.

Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, and violence. Scorsese is widely considered to be one of the most significant and influential American filmmakers of his era, directing landmark films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas — all of which he collaborated on with actor and close friend Robert De Niro. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed and earned an MFA in film directing from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

In 2007, Scorsese was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) at the nonprofit's 32nd Anniversary Gala. During the ceremony, Scorsese helped launch NIAF's Jack Valenti Institute, which provides support to Italian American film students, in memory of former Foundation Board Member and past president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Jack Valenti. Scorsese received his award from Mary Margaret Valenti, Jack's widow. Certain of Scorsese's film related material and personal papers are contained in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives to which scholars and media experts from around the world may have full access.

Martin Scorsese was born in New York City. His father, Luciano Charles Scorsese (1913–1993), and mother, Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa; 1912–1997), both worked in New York's Garment District. His father was a clothes presser and his mother was a seamstress. As a boy, his parents would often take him to movie theaters; it was at this stage in his life that he developed a passion for cinema. Enamored of historical epics as a teenager, at least two films of the genre, Land of the Pharaohs and El Cid, appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinematic psyche. Scorsese also developed an admiration for neo-realist cinema at this time. He recounted its influence in a documentary on Italian neorealism, and commented on how The Bicycle Thief alongside Paisà, Rome, Open City inspired him and how this influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian heritage. In his documentary, Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, Scorsese noted that the Sicilian episode of Roberto Rossellini's Paisà which he first saw on television alongside his relatives, who were themselves Sicilian immigrants, made a significant impact on his life. He has also cited filmmaker Satyajit Ray as a major influence on his career. His initial desire to become a priest while attending Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx was forsaken for cinema, and, consequently, Scorsese enrolled in NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his MFA in film directing in 1966.

Scorsese has been married five times. His first wife was Laraine Marie Brennan; they have a daughter, Catherine. He married the writer Julia Cameron in 1976; they have a daughter, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, who is an actress and appeared in The Age of Innocence, but the marriage lasted only a year. He was married to actress Isabella Rossellini from 1979 to their divorce in 1983. He then married producer Barbara De Fina in 1985; their marriage ended in divorce as well, in 1991. He has been married to Helen Morris since 1999; they have a daughter, Francesca, who appeared in The Departed and The Aviator. He is primarily based in New York City.

Director trademarks:

   * Begins his films with segments taken from the middle or end of the story. Examples include Raging Bull (1980),Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), and The Last Waltz.
   * Frequent use of slow motion, e.g. Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980). Also known for using freeze frame, such as the opening credits of The King of Comedy (1983), and throughout GoodFellas (1990).
   * His lead characters are often sociopathic and/or want to be accepted in society or a society.
   * His blonde leading ladies are usually seen through the eyes of the protagonist as angelic and ethereal; they wear white in their first scene and are photographed in slow-motion (Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver; Cathy Moriarty's white bikini in Raging Bull; Sharon Stone's white mini-dress in Casino). This may possibly be a nod to director Alfred Hitchcock.
   * Often uses long tracking shots.
   * Use of MOS sequences set to popular music or voice over, often involving aggressive camera movement and/or rapid editing.
   * Often has a quick cameo in his films (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ (albeit hidden under a hood), Casino, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York). Also, often contributes his voice to a film without showing his face on screen. He provides the opening voice-over narration in Mean Streets and The Color of Money; plays the off-screen dressing room attendant in the final scene of Raging Bull; provides the voice of the unseen ambulance dispatcher in Bringing out the Dead.
   * Frequently uses New York City as the main setting in his films, e.g. Gangs of New York, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, The King of Comedy, After Hours, New York, New York.
   * Sometimes highlights characters in a scene with an iris, an homage to 1920s silent film cinema (as scenes at the time sometimes used this transition). This effect can be seen in Casino (it is used on Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci), Life Lessons, and The Departed (on Matt Damon). Iris is also the name of Jodie Foster's character in Taxi Driver.
   * Some of his films include references/allusions to classic Westerns, particularly Shane and The Searchers.
   * More recently, his films have featured corrupt authority figures, such as policemen in The Departed and politicians in Gangs of New York and The Aviator.
   * Guilt is a prominent theme in many of his films, as is the role of Catholicism in creating and dealing with guilt (Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Bringing Out the Dead, Mean Streets, Who's That Knocking at My Door, Shutter Island, etc.)
   * Slow motion flashbulbs and accented camera/flash/shutter sounds
   * The song Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones is heard in several of Scorsese's films, including Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed.


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Martin Scorsese's Timeline

November 17, 1942
New York, Queens County, New York, United States
September 6, 1976