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Robert De Niro is desperate to trace his Irish ancestry

Legendary actor Robert De Niro has revealed he has Irish ancestry and is desperate to find some of his relatives.

The 76-year-old star was speaking ahead of the release of his latest gangster movie The Irishman, based on the true-life story of Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran.

Robert De Niro is desperate to trace his Irish ancestry. Photo copyright Angela George CC3

De Niro is a Hollywood legend and it has always been well-known that he has Italian ancestry.

However, the revelation that he has some Irish heritage in his family tree will come as big news to many of his fans.

The veteran actor said: “Yeah, I have Irish roots. My mother’s Dutch, French and German. And my father was Irish and Italian.

“I hitchhiked around Ireland when I was about 18, 19. I’ve been trying for years to find relatives there. For some reason, it’s not easy. Italy was easier.”

The role of Frank Sheeran, the title character The Irishman, was one that De Niro was very excited about playing.

The film is based on the book written by Charles Brandt, I Heard You Paint Houses. This phrase was code used over the phone when Sheeran was being hired to assassinate someone.

De Niro said: “I read it and said, ‘Jesus. To me this story’s kind of great.

“It was fascinating and simple. I liked the character: how he was introduced to this world and slowly saw how it worked.”

The Irishman will be released on Netflix in November, and has been nicknamed ‘Bestfellas’ as it sees fellow legendary gangster actors Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino all appear alongside De Niro.

Take a look at the movie trailer below.

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