Robert De Niro skipped high school to pursue his acting career, but he’s still managed to get an honorary doctorate of fine arts. His audience were in stitches as he picked up his award...
The 68 year-old Limitless star was given the prestigious award at Bates College in the U.S, in recognition of his stellar acting career. Always the wise-cracker, he joked with college students attending the ceremony that they should follow in his footsteps!
The megastar quipped: " I think this is the most important piece of advice you'll get today: Become a movie star."
De Niro made fun of his own career choice, according to Bangor Daily News:
"Now, you might be tempted by other careers, other interests, other commitments. There might be pressure on you to change the world, but you want to find the strength to resist."
The Taxi Driver star is no stranger to witty sarcasm, kidding that acting is far superior to higher education:
"When I started, I wasn't a movie star, and it sucked… The moment I became a movie star, things started to get better."
He went on: "My mother would be so proud to see her son, who never graduated high school, standing up here, receiving this honorary doctorate of fine arts."
The audience tittered as he added the punch line: "She would've been more proud of it if it was [from] Harvard."
They let out a collective chuckle as De Niro explained:
"In many ways, leaving school when I did it was an advantage.
"I saved nearly 6,000 dollars by not having to pay tuition and expenses for four years of education.
"I feel a little foolish because if I had waited until now not to go to college, I could have saved around a quarter of a million. It worked out just fine. I saved the money, and I got the degree."
But after cracking a few jokes, De Niro got serious. He told the grads:
"Keep an open mind, welcome new experiences and new ideas. Don't be afraid to try things. Don't be afraid to fail. I always say, if you don't go, you'll never know. Congratulations to the Class of 2012. And congratulations to myself."
Dr. De Niro - we like the sound of that! Here he is at the Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted premiere last week...