After being abandoned by his father, Al Pacino was raised by his mother who loved taking him to the movies as a child. She encouraged him but passed away before she could watch her son become one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
No matter how many conflicts we have with our mothers, the kind of emotional attachment we have with them is unlike any other. After all, the kind of emotional security you get from a loving parent is something that can't be replaced or replicated. And no longer having it in our lives can leave us feeling lost and empty. This was no different for actor Al Pacino. When the Hollywood superstar lost his mother, he admits that it was the lowest point in his life.
In an interview with The Guardian, he admitted that the lowest point in his life was losing his mother, Rose and the death of his grandfather. "The lowest point of my life was losing my mother, Rose, and grandfather – they died within a year of each other. I was 22 and the two most influential people in my life had gone, so that sent me into a tailspin," remembered the actor.
"I lost the 70s in a way, but then I gave up drinking in 1977 and decided to focus on the work," continued the Heat actor. It was a tragedy he had to experience in his early twenties, a phase in life that can set the tone for adulthood as you have already stepped into the real world. But Al Pacino managed to put together the broken pieces of his heart and worked hard to become the phenomenal actor he is today.
Born to Salvatore and Rose Pacino in New York, in April 1940, Al Pacino was abandoned by his father when he was just a baby. Raised by his mother, the shy young boy also recieved the guidance of his grandparents in childhood. He was introduced to the art of acting at a very young age by his mother who loved movies. "I was very shy, and when I was about 3 years old my mother began taking me to the movies, night after night. The next day, all by myself, I would enact all the parts of the movie before a mirror. My grandmother would be there, but always off in another room. ‘Al likes to talk to himself,’ she used to say. ‘He’s doing OK.’ I was really all alone those first seven years of my life," said the actor to Los Angeles Times in 1973, according to Live Journal.
By the age of 6, he was so lonely that he spent all his time enacting the characters he saw in the movies. "Acting was second nature to me. It was almost like I was born in the theater, the theater being movies," said the actor.
As he entered his early teens, Al Pacino wanted more adventure. He kept running off from his house just for the thrill of it. His loving mother understood it all and loved him unconditionally. "I began running away from home when I was 11, and kept doing it for a long time, not because I was unhappy but for the adventure of it, for a good time. My mother always understood this; we had a good relationship when I was young, a full and loving relationship," said the 79-year-old.
Soon, his life had a turning boy. His interest in theatre became a serious affair. "When I was 14, a traveling theater came to the Bronx and performed ‘The Seagull’ in an old movie house. They probably weren’t any good, but I had never seen anything like it in my life. My life was changed that day," said the Godfather actor.
He told his mother about it and she encouraged him to follow his heart. Being a theatre enthusiast herself, she allowed her son to develop his skills. Looking back, Al Pacino says his mother is the reason he didn't end up in the dark like some of his friends. "My mother did all she could to encourage my interest in the theater. She herself had an innate sense of theater and she even took me to see a couple of Broadway plays. I truly believe it was because of my mother that I never went the way of my friends –- I saw two close friends die from drugs. My mother was a well-read woman, hyper-sensitive, in analysis for years," said the actor.
Everything seemed to go along a straight easy path until his mother fell ill. Rose stopped working and a 16-year-old Al Pacino was forced to find a job that pays. His mother who was supportive of his dreams wanted him to leave his interest in theatre. "But when I got to be 16, my mother had to stop working because of her health and I had to support her. It was then that she took a realistic look at my prospects and became very negative about my acting."
So, the young teenager started doing odd jobs along with his grandfather. However, he never gave up his dream of becoming someone big. He kept telling his mother but her unfortunate situations did not allow her to believe in a dream that was no where close to their reality. "I couldn’t hold a job for long. I kept telling my mother I’d soon be doing something big, that I’d met a person who was going to make me a real draftsman. I said that because I thought ‘draftsman’ sounded very important to me. But she never believed me."
His dream became a reality at the age of 29 but the man no longer had his mother who was once his backbone. The actor who was raised by a single mother was so affected by her death that he only realized the gravity of his loss years later.
Looking back at her death he said, "My mother died when she was 43. We weren’t getting along at the time, and it’s only been recently that I realize how deeply I miss her."