Being the Blue Sky Billionaire
Leo DiCaprio has the same kind of larger-than-life
mystique as the American legend he plays in "The
Aviator," and when our Jerry Penacoli sat down
with the Hollywood heartthrob, it was clear Leo has
even grown to look a little like Howard Hughes off screen,
"Yeah, he's rubbed off on me with the hair, I guess,"
Leo admitted to Jerry, but insisted that’s where the
resemblance ends. "That's it. I could not lead
that man's life."
But, like the late, great aircraft tycoon, movie producer
and billionaire recluse, the 30-year-old superstar has
lived most of his life in the glare of fame. So what
keeps Leo grounded? "I’ve always kind of made sure
to maintain the sense of who I am and never be mean
or cruel or snotty to anyone," Leo revealed. "Because,
at the end of the day, it's not going to help you last
in the business, and who wants to be around someone
like that? I don't want to turn into ‘that guy.’ That
The usually retiring and publicity-shy star gave us
a rare glimpse of the man behind the screen persona,
when we asked him if he shared Hughes’ quality of trying
to keep his privacy private. "For me, I’m a pretty
sociable guy," Leo said. "And for me, it's
just not constantly wanting to see my image out there."
As for how his dealings with paparazzi may have soured
him on celebrity and fame, Leo had some words of advice
for his fellow celebs: "It really isn't that big
of a deal. Every time I hear actors or people in the
business complain about it, I just go, ‘get over it.’
We're lucky, lucky people."
Leo also confirmed a curious piece of Hollywood trivia
-- he almost became famous under a different moniker,
after an agent suggested that the then 9-year-old Leo
change his name to "Lenny Williams." "Supposedly
to make my name a little less ethnic, I guess,"
Leo said. "But that was one thing I said, ‘I’m
sticking to my guns on this one.’"
And just think, if he hadn't, it could well be one "Lenny
Williams" now being touted as a possible Oscar
winner for "The Aviator."