Becoming dads in their dotage

Showbiz fathers are family favourites

Movie mega-stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino rightly share Hollywood legend status, each frequently portraying ruthless Mafia villains during long and illustrious careers. But now those movie tough guys are embracing softer real-life roles by becoming dads yet again – De Niro for the seventh time at the ripe old age of 79, and Pacino having his fourth at an even riper 83.

De Niro and his partner, Tiffany Chen, 45, are the proud parents of Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro, while Pacino and girlfriend, Noor Alfallah, 29, have welcomed into the world their new son Roman Pacino. De Niro says their baby was planned, while there have been claims that Pacino was so surprised at news of the upcoming arrival, he demanded a DNA test before accepting he was the father. Now both new dads are delighted, with De Niro joking that they might soon be sharing playdates with their youngest offspring. The two acting veterans are far from unusual, especially amongst showbiz stars, in becoming dads later in life. Actor James Doohan, “Scotty” in the original Star Trek series, became a dad for the third time at the age of 80, while Charlie Chaplin fathered the last of his eleven offspring when he was 73. By these standards, Paul McCartney was a spring chicken when greeting his youngest at 61; and Rod Stewart became a dad for the eighth time at the age of 66.

It sounds delightful for all concerned, but is it right? Is it fair on newborns, particularly if their dads are in their late 70s or even 80s? Certainly, they’ll likely come in for a share of their father’s millions at some point, but will there be time for them to actually get to know that parent? After all, even if Pacino makes it to 100, his new child will still be just a teenager. Then there’s the question of parents with large broods bringing further offspring into an already overpopulated world. Or does it matter? Should men simply enjoy fatherhood, whatever their age?

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