Leonardo DiCaprio Bought His Dad a Car Just So He Could Be Seen as ‘The Perfect Child’

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most successful and decorated actors of his generation. The Wolf of Wall Street star got into the entertainment business at an early age and never looked back, amassing a net worth of about $260 million over the last 20 years.

Prior to his success in films such as Titanic and The Revenant, DiCaprio was a child star who worked alongside Hollywood titans such as Robert De Niro and Johnny Depp. By the time he was 19, he’d already been nominated for an Academy Award and was establishing himself as an actor to look out for.

During that time DiCaprio also invested a lot of time into his family, which was helping him navigate the movie business and providing career insights. To return the favor, DiCaprio gifted his father a brand new car to prove he was “the perfect child.”

Leonardo DiCaprio bought his dad a new car when he was only 20 years old

Leonardo DiCaprio attends a BAFTA screening of 'The Revenant'
Leonardo DiCaprio attends a BAFTA screening of ‘The Revenant’ | Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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DiCaprio shared the story behind his thoughtful gift during a resurfaced 1994 interview with Interview Magazine

“I knew he wanted a new car because he’s had beat-up station wagons all his life,” DiCaprio said. “I planned a big 50th birthday party for him with all his friends. I had a ska band there and polka music and he was blowing out candles on the cake in front of his whole family when I pulled up and beeped, and he turned around and it was me with the brand-new car.”

DiCaprio was truly moved by his father’s reaction once he saw the car. 

“I couldn’t picture anything more beautiful, basically, though I wouldn’t tell him that. His face just lit up,” DiCaprio said. “I don’t want to say that the car symbolized all my feelings, but I hope it showed that no matter what changes I go through, I’ll always be there.”

He wanted to be ‘the perfect child’ for his dad

Most 20-year-old kids wouldn’t be thinking of buying their dad a car with their newfound wealth, but DiCaprio had very specific reasons for doing it. 

“I get poignant about all this because I want to be the perfect child,” DiCaprio said. “I owe so much to my parents and the way I was brought up, but I have sometimes overlooked it — it’s something that I don’t want to overlook.”

He added that the simple moments with his family were the ones that made him the happiest. 

“The things that you did with them, whether it was spending every Sunday morning with your dad and eating French toast and watching Popeye, or decorating the Christmas tree with our mother — these are memories that help you be happy.”

His father has played a big role in his success 

DiCaprio has always been known for being selective with the roles he takes on. He only picks meaningful roles that will challenge his abilities, and his father plays a big role in the decision-making process. 

In fact, his father has helped him pick many of the iconic roles that fans have grown accustomed to seeing DiCaprio play. 

“My father has always been a huge force with me,” DiCaprio told GQ in 2011. “I had passed on a script about the French poet Arthur Rimbaud [Total Eclipse]. He explained to me that Rimbaud was the James Dean of his time.”

After all of the success DiCaprio has had over the years, it’s clear that his father was very deserving of the car.