Our headliners today both had chances here and there to be leading men, but both are much better known for their character roles.
Stanley Tucci is turning 57 today. He graduated from SUNY-Purchase, where one of his acting classmates for a time was Ving Rhames. He made his Broadway debut in 1982 and has worked regularly on the stage throughout his career; he was a Tony nominee for Best Actor in a Play for a revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Tucci then made his film debut in a small role in Prizzi’s Honor.
Tucci began to appear in larger film roles in the nineties, playing Lucky Luciano in Billy Bathgate and the comically inept Muerte in Undercover Blues. He was a regular on the first season of ABC’s mid-nineties legal drama Murder One, and then won two Golden Globes for his television work, starring as the title character of the 1998 HBO film Winchell, and then playing the supporting role of Adolf Eichmann in the BBC/HBO film Conspiracy three years later. He was nominated for an Oscar, and several other Best Supporting Actor awards, for The Lovely Bones in 2009.
Leonardo DiCaprio turns 42 today. He began acting in his teens, with his first major role coming when he joined the cast of the sitcom Growing Pains. He then began getting significant film roles, in films like This Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, the latter of which brought him his first Oscar nomination at only 19.
In the next few years, DiCaprio had lead roles in films like The Basketball Diaries and Baz Luhrmann’s Shakespeare update, Romeo + Juliet. And then he was cast in a 1997 film, a romance set aboard an ocean liner on a collision course with an iceberg, about a handsome steerage passenger who romances a girl from a family of impoverished aristocrats: