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Leonardo DiCaprio Unleashes a Fearless ‘Wolf’ Performance

Variety Feb 2014 (2)

Leonardo DiCaprio apologizes as he reaches for an e-cigarette; he’s spent a long day taking photos and doing interviews, and has been longing for a break. As he relaxes in a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel, he stops to admire the setting Los Angeles sun and offers a simple tribute: “Wow, that’s gorgeous.”

“When I started acting, I didn’t think of it as a career,” DiCaprio, 39, says of his early start as a pre-teen appearing in commercials. “I always thought Hollywood was this magical world where a fairy came down and said, ‘Come live with the Munchkins; you are now one of us.’?” He laughs. “I didn’t understand the concept of it as a career. I thought I would save up enough money to go to college.”

DiCaprio’s parents divorced when he was a year old, and he lived primarily with his mother, Irmelin, in a hardscrabble neighborhood he affectionately refers to as “Prostitution Alley,” near Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. “I saw all the moral decay you could, beginning at 2 years old,” he notes. “But I also got to see how the other half lived.” That was thanks to a to scholarship to University Elementary School, a magnet program of UCLA, in the tony Westwood section of Los Angeles. His mother would drive him 45 minutes to school and back every day. “I could see that this other world was out there. And if I could only get my shot, I would never waste the opportunity. That mentality and that gratitude are still in me.”

Source: Variety