The American actor, producer, and director Robert De Niro (born 1943) is
one of the most respected actors of his generation. He is best known for
his roles as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part
II (1974), cab driver Travis Bickle in Taxi
Driver (1976), Michael Vronsky in The Deer
Hunter (1978), casino director Sam “Ace” Rothstein in Casino (1995), and more recently as Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet
the Fockers (2004). De Niro has produced more than thirty
films, many of which he starred in, and directed two films, A
Bronx Tale (1993) and The Good Shepherd
The Robert De Niro Costumes and Props, 1967-2005 (bulk 1990-2005), consist
of approximately 8,000 costume, prop, and makeup items from fifty-six motion
pictures and two theater productions. Included are items from unidentified
productions for which the genre and date are unknown. The costumes and props were
acquired in 2006 along with De Niro’s personal papers, moving image
materials, and personal effects, which are described separately and housed in
Manuscript, Film, and Personal Effects collections within the Ransom Center.
The materials in this collection provide evidence of decisions made and/or
implemented by the costume designer, the wardrobe department, the property master,
and the makeup artist. The collection is arranged by production title and, within
each production, by item number, reflecting the order in which the material was
received and/or cataloged. A list of represented productions is appended to this
description. Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database which
accessible by production, actor, and costume designer.
The collection contains 5,100 costumes, 2,350 props, 350 makeup items such as colored
contact lenses and fake teeth, and 200 production accessories, a category which
includes items used by De Niro in conjunction with a production but not
visible on film, such as padding worn in fight scenes. Also included are about
thirty personal effects such as De Niro’s personal trailer slippers used
on the set of Godsend (2004). Of the roughly 300
different types of objects in the collection, shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, socks,
neckties, and belts are the most prevalent.
Coverage varies from one or two items to hundreds of objects per production.
Generally, older productions are represented by fewer items. With 1,000 items,
A Bronx Tale (1993) is by far the most thoroughly
documented production. For this film, in addition to more than 200 items worn
De Niro in the character of Lorenzo, the collection includes items worn or
used by two dozen actors including Chazz Palminteri, Taral Hicks, and Joe Pesci.
Other well documented productions are Goodfellas
(1990), Cape Fear (1991), Guilty by Suspicion (1991), Night and the
City (1992), Mad Dog and Glory (1993), Casino (1995), Heat
(1995), Flawless (1999), Men
of Honor (2000), Meet the Parents (2000),
The Score (2001), Showtime (2002), Godsend (2004), and Hide and Seek (2005). Of the forty costume designers
credited in this collection, the best represented are Rita Ryack, Aude
Bronson-Howard, Richard Bruno, John A. Dunn, and Daniel Orlandi.
Many items were received at the Ransom Center with wardrobe tags attached indicating
the name of the actor, the scene number, and/or change number in which the item
used, and whether the item was actually worn or used. Apart from materials
representing A Bronx Tale, nearly all items were worn
or used by Robert De Niro. Some items in the collection were used by
De Niro’s stunt doubles or photo doubles. If an item does not have a
wardrobe tag, it is very difficult to determine the exact circumstances of its
even with the aid of wardrobe continuity books and Polaroids located in the Robert
De Niro Papers.
Similarly, the sources of items in this collection are poorly documented. Most
contemporary costumes were purchased off-the-rack from mainstream retailers. Some
period costumes were fabricated by tailors for specific productions, notably the
archbishop’s vestments from The Bridge of San Luis
Rey (2004). Domonic Gherardi, Anto, and Cosprop are the best represented
tailors. Vintage items may have been obtained from suppliers who specialized in
providing vintage clothing to the motion picture industry. Props for stunt doubles
tended to be fabricated using De Niro’s prop as a model. The
manufacturer’s label is often the best, and only, indication of the source of
item if it is not indicated in the wardrobe continuity book.