Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dad Made Him Tap Dance in Front of a Rowdy Concert Crowd When He Was Only 3 Years Old
Leonardo DiCaprio has a very close relationship with his father. Described by the Wolf of Wall Street star as “bohemian,” his father has always had a keen interest in art and spent a lot of time exposing DiCaprio to it as a child.
His father’s taste for fine art and supportive attitude has played a big role in helping DiCaprio choose roles such as Total Eclipse. DiCaprio’s dad also helped DiCaprio develop his selective attitude about which movies he’s going to star in.
DiCaprio has frequently mentioned that he’s always wanted to be an actor, but his father certainly helped cultivate his desire to perform. In fact, DiCaprio can recall a moment when his father put him on stage at only three years old to tap dance in front of hundreds of people at a concert.
Leonardo DiCaprio was born to be an entertainer
DiCaprio has never been shy about his desire to entertain people. In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, he admitted that his need to perform is “almost sickening.”
“The earliest memory I have of myself as a child is me with this strange, almost sickening desire to perform,” DiCaprio said. “I guess it’s my aiming-to-please issues. I don’t know where it comes from.”
His dad made him tap dance in front of hundreds of people at a concert
DiCaprio added that his earliest memory is of a tap-dancing performance his father encouraged him to do when he was only a toddler.
“The earliest memory I have is me at some hippie concert with my dad, and the band hadn’t come on,” DiCaprio said. “There was an audience of hundreds of people chanting for the band, and my dad scooted me onstage — I don’t know how old I was, probably three or so — and I got up there and tap-danced for hundreds of people. That’s the personality I have. I want to please this mass audience.”
His father has played a big role in his career
Some people might find it strange for someone to force their child to perform in front of hundreds of strangers at such a young age, but DiCaprio didn’t think anything of it. He has a great appreciation for his father’s input, especially since his dad has helped him select roles in films such as Total Eclipse.
“Through the course of my career, he’s always, you know, gently said to me, ‘Hey, you know, you might want to take a look at this,’” DiCaprio told the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. “I haven’t always listened to him of course, but, you know, it’s been great to have somebody like that.”
He bought his dad a car because he wanted to be the perfect kid
Having someone so wise and influential to rely on isn’t common, and DiCaprio has always known that—even as a kid. When he was 20 years old, he bought his father a new car just to show him how much he valued him.
“I knew he wanted a new car because he’s had beat-up station wagons all his life,” DiCaprio told Interview Magazine in 1994. “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.”
Later in the interview, DiCaprio admitted he bought the car so he could be “the perfect kid” for his father.
“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.”