Arguably America's most influential living filmmaker, Martin Scorsese continues to dazzle audiences around the world nearly 50 years after making his debut. While most renowned directors end up on the receiving end of negative reviews at some point, the celluloid maestro, who studied his craft at New York University in the Sixties, has rarely been the target of such uncomfortable attention.
His popularity with industry peers makes the fact that he didn't win an Academy Award until 2007 all the more surprising. With eight nominations under his belt, he had earned a reputation for being "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" until the Leonardo DiCaprio/Jack Nicholson vehicle The Departed brought him two gongs for best director and best film. The Oscar trophies joined the three Baftas, two Golden Globes and host of other awards already adorning his mantelpiece.
To say Martin has found his calling is something of an understatement, but the Queens-born talent seriously considered becoming a priest before realising his life belonged to cinema. An interest in spiritual issues shines through his silver screen work, with two religious-themed movies - Kundun, about the 14th Dalai Lama, and The Last Temptation Of Christ - among his most celebrated works.
Also inspiring much of his output has been, perhaps unsurprisingly, the city of his birth. Classics like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas all explored the seedy underbelly of New York, while the more recent Gangs Of New York delved into its history. Another common feature is his fascination with Italian-American society, although a quick glance at his filmography reveals he's nothing if not versatile. Thrillers like Cape Fear, romances such as The Age Of Innocence and bio-pics, including Raging Bull and The Aviator, all served as testament to his abilities.
In the same way his career has taken many twists and turns, Martin's personal life has also been eventful. He has been married five times, first to actress Laraine Brennan, with whom he had a daughter. Some years after that relationship came to an end he tied the knot with writer Julia Cameron, and welcomed another daughter, before making his vows a third time with the model Isabella Rossellini. When his relationship with the Italian beauty broke down in 1982, he went on to wed producer Barbara DaFina. His current wife is TV producer Helen Morris, whom he wed in 1999. The couple have a daughter together.