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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

Italian Americans Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen are among the five performers to be honored tonight at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Kennedy Center will also be honoring Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, and Grace Bumbry.

Robert De Niro won an Academy Award for best actor for the 1980 movie “Raging Bull,” but he is probably best known for his performance in “Godfather II,” in which he played the young Vito Corleone.  De Niro has appeared in more than 70 films and has also produced and directed several movies, including “Everybody’s Fine,” released this year.

De Niro was born in 1943 and grew up in the Little Italy section of New York City. He acquired the nickname “Bobby Milk” because he was so thin and as pale as milk.  De Niro was close to his Italian paternal grandfather, whom he visited frequently in Syracuse, N.Y.  The actor, who once stated that he identifies with his “Italian side,” was inducted into the Italian-American Hall of Fame in 2002.

Bruce Springsteen’s songs tell stories of everyday American life and of growing up in New Jersey. Springsteen was born in Long Branch, N.J. in 1949. U2 lead singer Bono has said that Springsteen’s role as an interpreter of the American identity cannot be overemphasized. He is “the greatest ambassador for the idea that is America,” said Bono.

Springsteen’s 1984 album “Born in the U.S.A.” has sold more than 15 million copies in the U.S. alone and is considered among the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.  Known for his live performances, Springsteen and his E Street Band remain one of the top acts in the world.

Springsteen’s Italian-American mother, Adele Zirilli, a former legal secretary, was born in Puerto Rico. Her parents were born in Italy.

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