How Old Was Leonardo DiCaprio in Gilbert Grape?

Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in the movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” is regarded as one of his breakthrough roles. Released in 1993, the film showcases DiCaprio’s exceptional acting skills at a young age.

So, how old was Leonardo DiCaprio when he portrayed the character of Arnie Grape? Let’s dive into the details.

The Role of Arnie Grape

In “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Arnie Grape, a mentally disabled teenager. Arnie is the younger brother of Gilbert Grape, portrayed by Johnny Depp. The film explores the challenges faced by Gilbert as he takes care of his family, including Arnie and their obese mother, played by Darlene Cates.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Age

At the time of filming “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” Leonardo DiCaprio was born on November 11th, 1974. The movie was released in theaters on December 17th, 1993. This means that during filming, DiCaprio was approximately:

  • Arnie Grape: As Arnie is portrayed as a mentally disabled teenager in the film, it can be assumed that he is around 16-17 years old. Therefore, DiCaprio would have been about 18-19 years old during production.

It is important to note that actors often play characters who are younger or older than their actual age. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio convincingly portrayed a character younger than himself with remarkable dedication and skill.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Breakthrough Performance

“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” marked a significant milestone in Leonardo DiCaprio’s career. His portrayal of Arnie Grape earned him critical acclaim, showcasing his ability to immerse himself in complex characters. DiCaprio’s performance was widely praised for its authenticity and emotional depth.

The role of Arnie Grape not only demonstrated DiCaprio’s talent but also paved the way for his future success in the film industry. After this breakout performance, he went on to star in numerous critically acclaimed films, eventually winning an Academy Award for Best Actor.


In “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” Leonardo DiCaprio delivered a memorable performance as Arnie Grape. At the time of filming, DiCaprio was approximately 18-19 years old, showcasing his exceptional talent at a young age. This role marked a turning point in his career and set the stage for his future success.

Witnessing Leonardo DiCaprio’s remarkable portrayal of Arnie Grape is a testament to his versatility as an actor. It serves as a reminder of the incredible talent that emerged early on in his career and continues to captivate audiences worldwide.