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In New York, De Niro visited Belushi at his downtown apartment where the pair partied.
Books by Sartre, Camus, Ayn Rand and Stanislavsky litter makeshift bookshelves. Then he says like a mantra, like a prayer, “I’m going to die young. Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong on July 20th, 1973 in his rumored mistress’ apartment from brain edema, a possible reaction to a painkiller. “You’re going to live to be a very, very old man.” But I’m wrong. “I miss my dad,” he says brokenly, “Can you come over? She keeps a welcoming, humble ranch home in the Pacific Palisades and is a low-key mom with her feet planted firmly on the ground. Next there are shots of Brandon, aged eight, and his little sister Shannon, then four, hoisted up by handlers so they can look down at their father in his coffin. Incapable of processing the madness of the situation let alone the fact of their dad’s death. “You’re just torturing yourself.” I get out of bed and turn off the TV. But whenever I approach Brandon at the pub he keeps leading me over to his best friend, Bill, then dashing off. He’s confident, cocky and romantic, but rarely vulnerable. He played Flea, a hard-edged incarcerated criminal, and I sat in the front row of the audience so close to him I could’ve plucked the cigarette he inexpertly sucked right out of his mouth.But behind the scenes of the film he tried to seduce Cybill Shepard, then turned on her when she rebuffed him, while treating Jodie Foster, the 13-year-old he saw as a great acting talent, like 'a queen'It discloses the torrid relationship which led to De Niro becoming a father for the third time with Helena Springs, a young singer whom he met by following her in his car down a boulevard in Los Angeles and demanding her phone number.
De Niro had grown up in the bohemian New York scene in Greenwich Village, his mother, Virginia Admiral - and known by that name after her brief two-year marriage to Robert De Niro, Sr, was 'an independent businesswoman' who also framed pictures and made jewelry. was an artist and regarded as a peer of - although not as successful as - Abstract Expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. Partying in private: A rare picture of De Niro enjoying himself in public as he toasts his Oscar for the Godfather Part II.
De Niro telephoned Belushi on the night of March 4th, 1982, to join him and actor pal Harry Dean Stanton at On the Rox, an infamous nightclub on the Sunset Strip where the best musicians drifted through and played in the company of boozing movie stars and celebrities.
De Niro always played edgy movie roles, obsessively studying the character he would play until he became the character – from the Vietnam Vet Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, the madman Max Cady in Cape Fear, boxing champ Jake La Motta in Raging Bull, Michael, the leader of the three ex-war vets in The Deer Hunter, gangster Al Capone in The Untouchables.
I was listening to John Lennon, you know, I was listening to Beautiful Boy … “I’m not going anywhere,” I murmur like a vow, “I love you.” “I love you, too.” It’s quiet for a while. Brandon will die twenty years later on March 31,1993 in Wilmington, North Carolina when a dummy bullet penetrates his abdomen and lodges in his spine while shooting a scene from the gothic-comic film The Crow. Later Hancock would go on to write and direct films like The Rookie and The Blind Side, but at the moment is struggling for work like the rest of us.
“Don’t leave,” he says in a way that makes the hair stand up on my neck. The coroner’s report said, “Death by misadventure.” He was thirty-two years old. I’m an aspiring actress (and, as night must follow day, also a waitress) hanging out at The Cat and Fiddle pub on Sunset Boulevard with the cast of an Equity-waiver play called Fullfed Beast, written and directed by John Lee Hancock.
Too tired to talk about her latest military romance, I let the answering machine pick up. He looks like a small boy, with dark smudges under his eyes. His body is shrouded in white silk revealing only his waxen, expressionless face. I lean my head back and look up to find Brandon’s face looking down into mine. I’m always very confident with men, right up until the moment I fall in love with them, after which I become a nervous wreck. My first thought is that my dad’s had a heart attack.