2019 American Icon Award
Actor and director Al Pacino is a unique and enduring figure in the world of American stage and film. He was born in East Harlem and grew up in New York City’s South Bronx. He attended the famed School of Performing Arts until the age of 17 when he moved on to study acting first at the Herbert Berghof Studio (HB Studio) with teacher and coach Charles Laughton, and later, at the legendary Actors Studio with mentor Lee Strasberg. Between 1963 and 1969 he honed his craft working in numerous theatrical productions including William Saroyan’s Hello Out Therefore his off-Broadway debut in 1963; Why is a Crooked Lettering 1966, for which he won an off-Broadway Obie Award; The Indian Wants the Bronx, that earned him another Obie Award as best actor of the 1967-68 season; and Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? for his Broadway debut and first Tony Award in 1969. Pacino continued appearing onstage in the 1970s, receiving a second Tony Award for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummeland performing the title role in Shakespeare’s Richard III. In the 1980s he again achieved critical success on the stage while appearing in David Mamet’s American Buffalo. Since 1990 Pacino’s stage work has included revivals of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, Oscar Wilde’s Salome and Lyle Kessler’s Orphans. In 2011 he portrayed Shylock in The Merchant of Venice on Broadway, garnering a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Play and in 2013 appeared on Broadway playing Shelley Levine in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.
His first leading part in a feature film was in the 1971 drama Panic in Needle Park, and the following year Francis Ford Coppola selected him to take on the breakthrough role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on The Godfather and within the next 6 years he received another four Academy Award nominations for the films Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon and …And Justice For All. A long and rich film career has followed with over 45 titles including Scarface, Sea of Love, The Insider, Donnie Brasco, Heat (where he shared the screen for the first time with fellow film icon Robert DeNiro) and Any Given Sunday. He garnered additional Academy award nominations for his performances in Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. His role as Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992. He played Shylock in Michael Radford’s film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice. He directed and stars in the films Looking For Richard and Chinese Coffee. His most recent films include The Humbling, Manglehorn and Danny Collins. Television work includes a rich relationship with HBO first as Roy Cohn in the 2003 miniseries Angels in America and as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in You Don’t Know Jack 2010 both of which garnered Golden Globes and Emmy Awards for Mr.Pacino’s performances.