You’ve heard of Lenny Williams, right? He is an Oscar-winning actor with good looks and money. Doesn’t a bell ring? He starred in one of the highest-grossing movies of all time before the age of 30 and has given a number of the best performances of his career, including “The Departed.” Nothing yet?
How about Leonardo DiCaprio then? The actor has gone through many transition phases during his career, from teen heartthrob to leading man to character actor.
He once described his views on fame in a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, “I didn’t know what it meant to be someone that recognizable. I didn’t know what it meant. And Titanic is something that will never happen again. Neither will I.” “. try to repeat it.”
DiCaprio has a name that many instantly recognize. He reportedly means “lion” and “brave” if you’re into that sort of thing. So it might surprise you that an agent once told DiCaprio that he would have to change his name.
Leonardo DiCaprio was almost known as Lenny Williams
When Leonardo DiCaprio started out as a child, an agent felt that the young actor needed a makeover if he wanted to make it in Hollywood. He suggested that DiCaprio change his name because it sounded too “ethnic” to succeed.
“Yeah, when I was 11, when I first wanted to be a professional actor. We went to an agent and they wanted to change my name to Lenny Williams,” DiCaprio told Short List in 2015.They felt my name was too ethnic and wouldn’t get as many jobs. So that kept me from being an actor for several years. I tried again two years later when I was 13 and got an agent to accept me under my name.”
As for DiCaprio, he refused to change his name and waited to become an actor. As for the origin of DiCaprio’s name, it turns out that the actor’s title was inspired by the other great Leonardo in history: Leonardo da Vinci.
DiCaprio told NPR in 2014: “I think my dad told me they were honeymooning at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. They were looking at a Da Vinci painting and I allegedly started kicking furiously while my mom was pregnant.
And my father took it as a sign, and I guess DiCaprio wasn’t that far from da Vinci. So my dad, being the artist that he is, said, ‘That’s our son’s name.
Leonardo DiCaprio finds success in acting
Sometimes you look back with regret, but it’s easy to tell that Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t losing sleep over refusing to change his name.
While the world may never know Lenny Williams, they definitely know who DiCaprio is.
The star made a name for herself early in her career starring in both “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “Romeo + Juliet.” But it was the “Titanic” that made its mark on movie history.
Still, DiCaprio struggled to achieve what many considered the jewel in the crown of acting: the Academy Award. Despite his best efforts, DiCaprio’s roles in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Django Unchained” and “The Departed” failed to win him the award.
That all changed in 2016 when DiCaprio suffered for his art, appearing in the gritty “The Revenant.” The movie and the subsequent award ended up being the icing on the cake of his already impressive career.