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Robert De Niro Debuts HBO Doc About His Gay Dad

By Stacy Lambe

In a new HBO documentary, a notoriously private Robert De Niro opens up about his late father, Robert De Niro Sr., a famed abstract expressionist painter of the post WW2 era.

Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr. made its debut at Sundance with the actor in attendance. The film examines the life of the late painter through the eyes of the actor. De Niro discusses watching his father paint and even reads passages from his father's journals, which reveals he left De Niro's mother when he realized he was gay.

"I did this for him," De Niro said during a panel following the screening. "I wanted my younger kids -- who were born after he died -- to know what their grandfather did. I even kept his painting studio intact so they could see it."

Initially the film was conceived for the benefit of his family, but the film's producers pushed De Niro to share his father's story with the world.

"It tells the story not just of Robert De Niro's Sr.'s work -- which is amazing -- but the entire art world of the time," Director Perri Peltz explained.

The story of De Niro Sr.'s life will debut on HBO in June.

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