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Robert De Niro gets honorary degree

2012-05-28 15:07
 
Lewiston - Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, who was at Bates College to receive an honorary doctorate, told graduates that despite his own lack of formal education he turned out to be okay.

During a 15-minute address that was by turns sincere and irreverent, De Niro drew a steady stream of laughter from the 463 graduating seniors and more than 5 000 onlookers at the private, liberal arts college's campus.

De Niro, who left high school to pursue an acting career, was one of three high-profile guests who received honorary degrees at the Bates commencement.

PBS Newshour senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and Princeton University molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler were also honoured.

But it was De Niro who stole the show as he received an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree.

'I feel a little foolish'

"In many ways, leaving school when I did it was an advantage. I saved nearly $6 000 by not having to pay tuition and expenses for four years of education," he said.

"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."

Looking back, he said, "it worked out just fine. I saved the money, and I got the degree."

De Niro also offered the graduates some serious advice.

"If you're an actor, always be true to your character," he said. "If you're not an actor, have character and always be true to yourself."

De Niro won a best actor Academy Award for Raging Bull  and best supporting actor Oscar for The Godfather, Part II.

- AP

Read more on:    robert de niro  |  celebrities

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