40 Things You Didn’t Know About Martin Scorsese

Happy birthday to tireless filmmaker and living legend, Martin Scorsese. Here’s hoping we can all be as productive and creative in our 70s. The director will see his biopic about stock swindler and motivational speaker Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street, hit theaters on December 25, and he’s currently filming a documentary about former President Bill Clinton. And let’s not forget that Sinatra biopic in the works, an adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel, Silence, and his ongoing work as executive producer for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. While we have an idea of what the future holds for Scorsese, there are a lot of fascinating details about his past that we wanted to share with you in honor of the director’s birthday

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Both of Scorsese’s parents, Charles and Catherine (pictured in the baby photo, above), have appeared in his films — including his debut feature, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino.

Scorsese was a sickly child. The family took him to the movies for fun, which is where his passion for cinema started.

The director almost joined the priesthood. “I went into the seminary after grade school, but they threw me out at the end of my first year for roughhousing during prayers. They thought I was a thug,” he once revealed. Catholic themes have greatly influenced his body of work.

He used to be married to Blue Velvet actress Isabella Rossellini.

The director is a big fan of the old Hammer horror films. Scorsese didn’t work with friend and Hammer icon Christopher Lee until 2011’s Hugo.