Jake LaMotta, Boxer Who Inspired “Raging Bull”, Dies at 95

Jake LaMotta, man who was a real life Raging Bull, died on Sunday due to complications from pneumonia.

Photo by Dave Allocca/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock (5633053f)

Jake LaMotta, former middleweight champion and the man who was a subject of 1980 movie “Raging Bull“, died on Tuesday. The news was confirmed to ABC News by LaMotta’s wife Denise Baker. The cause of death is complications from pneumonia. The family is in the planning stages of legendary boxer’s memorial and funeral.

He was a great man, sensitive and had eyes that danced right up to the end. I love him, God rest his soul.” – Baker said about LaMotta’s great career while adding that “He never went down!

Robert De Niro, the actor who portrayed Jake LaMotta in the movie “Raging Bull”, released a statement through his representatives saying: “Rest in peace, champ.

During his boxing career, LaMotta had 106 fights, with a record of 83 wins (30 by KO), 19 losses and 4 draws. LaMotta won the middleweight champion on June 16, 1949, after defeating France’s Marcel Cerdan. He was also known for his fights with Sugar Ray Robinson, boxing with him on 6 different occasions. After losing the first fight against Robinson, LaMotta took the rematch and gave Sugar Ray Robinson his first professional defeat. Robinson won the remaining 4 fights.

Robert De Niro read Jake LaMotta’s memoir Raging Bull: My Story while he was shooting The Godfather Part II and became fascinated by LaMotta. He asked his frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese the book and asked him to consider its adaptation. Although Scorsese turned down the proposal at first since he wasn’t a big boxing fan, he picked up the project eventually. While preparing for the role, De Niro even trained with LaMotta. Although the movie didn’t do well at the box office and had polarizing reviews upon release, it received 8 Academy Award nominations and won two including the one for Best Actor given to De Niro. The movie is now considered to be a modern classic.

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