'Taxi Driver': Where Are They Now?
It’s been over 40 years since Martin Scorsese introduced audiences to Travis Bickle, a late-night chauffeur who would go on to become one of actor Robert De Niro’s most iconic characters to date. The 1976 masterpiece went on to win the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or ahead of Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Score, and critics hail the film as one of the best of all time. In addition to De Niro, the film’s cast includes Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks, and a 12-year old Jodie Foster as Iris, a child prostitute Bickle befriends on one of his insomnia-fueled cab runs. The film’s cast and crew reunited for a screening of the film and a live Q&A at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, celebrating the film’s 40th anniversary. Ahead, see what the film’s stars have been up to since making cinema history.
Robert De Niro (Travis Bickle)
THEN: Before becoming one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, Robert De Niro starred in several films throughout the 1970s, including Brian De Palma’s The Wedding Party and Roger Corman’s Bloody Mama. Scorsese first worked with De Niro on the 1973 film, Mean Streets, ahead of winning his first Academy Award for his role in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film The Godfather Part II.
NOW: Two Oscar wins and 40 years after Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro is one of the highest-grossing actors in Hollywood, with his films raking in a cumulative total of over $3 billion at the domestic box office. From 1980’s Raging Bull to his recent success in multiple films by David O. Russell (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, Joy), De Niro’s talents have carried him across genres from comedy (Meet the Parents) to horror (Hide and Seek) and everything in between (Dirty Grandpa). In addition to championing independent films by founding the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002, De Niro has also directed two feature films: 1993’s A Bronx Tale and 2006’s The Good Shepherd, which stars Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, and De Niro himself.
Jodie Foster (Iris)
THEN: At 12 years old, Jodie Foster had already accumulated dozens of roles in films (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) and TV shows (Gunsmoke) before setting foot on Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver set. Following the film’s release, Foster received her first Academy Award nomination for her performance as Iris, a child prostitute befriended by De Niro’s Travis Bickle.
NOW: After a steady stream of film roles following the success of Taxi Driver, Foster won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in the 1988 film The Accused, playing the victim of a brutal gang rape. She won in the same category shortly thereafter for her performance as Clarice Starling in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs ahead of more roles in well-known films throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including Nell, Contact, Panic Room, Flightplan, and Inside Man.
Foster’s acting output has slowed in recent years, with the actress last appearing in the 2013 sci-fi film, Elysium. She has since shifted her attention to directing, helming the Mel Gibson drama The Beaver, multiple episodes of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and the upcoming Money Monster, which stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts and was selected to screen out of competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Martin Scorsese (Director)
THEN: Director Martin Scorsese headed into production on Taxi Driver with three feature-film directing credits to his name, having helmed the Barbara Hershey/David Carradine crime story Boxcar Bertha in 1972 following his work on the 1967 drama Who’s That Knocking at My Door. Before casting Taxi Driver lead actor Robert De Niro in the film, the pair worked together on Scorsese’s 1973 film Mean Streets.
NOW: The director is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, having directed iconic films like Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino, Gangs of New York, and The Aviator following the success of Taxi Driver. Scorsese did not win his first Best Director Oscar until the 2007 Oscar ceremony, however, where his The Departed also nabbed Best Picture. Since then, Scorsese has been nominated for Best Director another two times, for 2011’s Hugo and 2014’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Scorsese’s next film, Silence, stars Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield, and Liam Neeson in a story about two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to spread Christianity. The film reportedly hits theaters in November 2016.
Cybill Shepherd (Betsy)
THEN: After a budding career as a young model throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Cybill Shepherd’s role in Taxi Driver marked only her fifth major screen performance. Following her work in multiple films by Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, At Long Last Love, Daisy Miller), Shepherd played Betsy, a political campaign volunteer whom De Niro’s Travis Bickle develops an infatuation for, in Scorsese’s film.
NOW: Following a stalled acting career (she was reportedly asked to perform at a dinner theater production in the 1980s), Shepherd returned to her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, to perform in small local productions. She didn’t stay away from Hollywood for long, however, headlining the ABC comedy-drama series Moonlighting from 1985–1989. She went on to win a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the CBS sitcom Cybill, loosely based on her own experiences as a struggling, middle-aged actress. Shepherd’s career since the 1998 end of Cybill includes performances on Showtime’s LGBT drama The L-Word and in the Jennifer Love Hewitt Lifetime TV movie, The Client List.
Harvey Keitel (Sport)
THEN: Keitel previously worked with Martin Scorsese on Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, and Mean Streets before starring alongside Robert De Niro as Sport in Taxi Driver. He also had small roles in various film and TV projects, including an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s A Memory of Two Mondays in 1974.
NOW: Keitel’s post-Taxi Driver fame crescendoed toward his only Oscar nomination, which he received in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in the 1991 film Bugsy. Keitel has since worked with Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Jane Campion (The Piano), Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn), and Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). He recently starred in Adam Sandler’s Netflix feature, The Ridiculous 6, and opposite Jane Fonda, Michael Caine, and Rachel Weisz in the 2015 film festival favorite, Youth, from BAFTA-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino.
Albert Brooks (Tom)
THEN: Brooks, whose real name is Albert Einstein (he changed it while pursuing a career in comedy), began his career in entertainment as a comic, with appearances on late-night talk shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson prior to releasing two comedy albums, Comedy Minus One and A Star Is Bought, the latter of which earned him a Grammy nomination. After a successful career in comedy, Brooks landed his first major film role in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, playing Tom, one of Betsy’s (Cybill Shepherd) coworkers.
NOW: Brooks’ roles, both comedic and dramatic, have garnered him much critical acclaim throughout the years, with the actor receiving an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1987 film Broadcast News. Other notable film roles include Out of Sight, This Is 40, and Drive. He voiced Marlin, a clownfish searching for his lost son, in the 2003 Pixar film Finding Nemo, a role he will reprise in the upcoming sequel, Finding Dory, set to be released June 17, 2016.