Robert De Niro

2015 Gordon Parks Foundation Awards Dinner and Auction - Arrivals

De Niro in 2015, photo by Prphotos

Place of Birth: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 17, 1943

Ethnicity: Italian (paternal grandfather), Irish, German, Dutch, small amounts of English, French Huguenot, Scottish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish

Robert De Niro is an American actor, director, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather Part II (1974), and the Academy Award for Best Actor for Raging Bull (1980). He is also famous for starring in the films Taxi Driver, Once Upon a Time in America, and Goodfellas, among many others.

Robert is the son of Virginia (Admiral), a painter and poet, and Robert De Niro, an abstract expressionist painter. He is married to actress Grace Hightower. He has two children with his former partner, actress and model Toukie Smith; two children with his former wife, actress Diahnne Abbott, including his stepdaughter, actress Drena De Niro, whom Robert legally adopted; and two children with Grace.

He has played an Italian-American character in several films, and is himself of one quarter Italian ancestry. His father was of half Italian and half Irish descent. His maternal grandfather was of Dutch, as well as English, French Huguenot, Irish, German, Scottish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry, and his maternal grandmother was of German descent.

Robert has become an honorary Italian citizen. He has stated:

I probably identify more with my Italian side than with my other parts.

Robert’s paternal grandfather was Henry Martin De Niro (the son of Giovanni DiNiro/Di Niro and Angiolina Mercurio). Henry was born in Ferrazzano, Province of Campobasso, Molise, Italy. Giovanni was the son of Carmine DiNiro/Di Niro and Francesca Notartomaso. Angiolina was the daughter of Luigi Mercurio and Rosanna/Rose Alaura.

Robert’s paternal grandmother was Helen M. O’Reilly (the daughter of Dennis Edward/Francis O’Reilly and Mary Burns). Helen was born in New York. Dennis and Mary were both born in New York, both of them to Irish immigrant parents. Dennis was the son of Edward O’Reilly and Margaret. Mary was the daughter of John Burns and Mary.

Robert’s maternal grandfather was Donald Admiral/Admiraal (the son of Nicholas Klaas Admiraal and Virginia Moseby Holton). Donald was born in Illinois or Indiana. Nicholas was Dutch, born in Schoorl, North Holland, the Netherlands, the son of Jacob Admiraal and Neeltje Bakker. Virginia was born in Kentucky, the daughter of Nicholas Moseby/Mosby Holton and Lucy Ann Dupuy. She was from a family that had lived in the U.S. for many generations, and had English, French Huguenot, Irish, German, Dutch, Scottish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry. Lucy’s sister, Eliza Ann Dupuy (also known as Annie Young), was a novelist and short story writer.

Robert’s maternal grandmother was Alice Caroline Groman (the daughter of Gustave “August” Groman and Gesina Marie Beckmann/Beckman). Alice was born in Iowa. Gustave and Gesina were born in Indiana, both of them to German parents. Gesina was the daughter of Harm Christoph Beckmann and Elizabeth Margaretha Fink.

De Niro with wife Grace Hightower, 2010, Vonora/

Sources: Genealogy of Robert De Niro –

Pictures of Robert’s parents –

Genealogy of Robert De Niro (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Robert’s father –

Robert’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Video about the family of Robert’s paternal grandfather, Henry Martin De Niro –

Genealogy of Robert De Niro (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Robert’s mother –

Genealogy of Robert’s maternal grandfather, Donald Admiral/Admiraal (focusing on his own mother’s side) –

Robert’s maternal grandfather, Donald Admiral/Admiraal, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Biography of Robert’s maternal great-great-great-aunt, Eliza Ann Dupuy (Annie Young) –

Robert’s maternal grandmother, Alice Caroline Groman, on the 1900 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

139 Responses

  1. jonasbttencourt says:

    he is just as NW and gemanic euro as he is Italian.

  2. andrew says:

    It should be mentioned somehow in his profile that De Niro himself has pronounced the word “Albanian” (among other things already listed) to describe his backround in a notorius interview at Sanremo Film Festival.


    *possibly Arbëreshë

  3. Jamesson says:

    He looked really Irish to me when the first scenes in Godfather 2 showed him. But then he “Italicized” himself by making his hair slick back and grew a mustache.

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