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Robert De Niro Delivers ‘Love Poem’ to His Artist Father with HBO Doc

“This is a love poem from Robert to his father,” said HBO Documentary Films prexy Sheila Nevins at the June 5 premiere of “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr.”

The docu, focused on the life and work of actor Robert De Niro’s father, was “never intended to be on HBO or anything,” his son admitted during the gathering at Gotham’s Museum of Modern Art.

“The original intention of the documentary was for my younger kids who don’t know what their grandfather did and I could’ve documented it for them, which I did, but I also kept the studio because the studio is a more real experience of their seeing what he did as an artist and how he lived,” De Niro said. “Whether it will make a difference for him as an artist at the end of the day, nobody knows.”

It was Jane Rosenthal, the younger De Niro’s business partner of more than 25 years and the exec producer of the docu, who  finally “pushed me over the edge,” as he put it.

“I’ve been suggesting he make this for close to 20 years,” Rosenthal said. “It’s really a thrill that it’s the time for the story and the time that he wants to share this story, and to be able to recognize the work of his father that I got to see.”

Rosenthal recalled that De Niro the elder was a great dancer. “He was just always really nice to me,” she said. “I do remember dancing with him at the ‘Midnight Run’ premiere party.”

After a screening and Q&A led by docu co-director Perri Peltz, De Niro was clearly happy with the results.

The party continued with De Niro’s family and friends at the DC Moore Gallery in Chelsea, where the exhibition of De Niro Sr.’s work from 1948-1989 will be on display through July 11.

(Pictured: Tony Bennett and Robert De Niro at the after-party.)

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