Raging Bull director Martin Scorsese and leading man Robert De Niro have paid tribute to the late boxer Jake LaMotta, whose life story they told in the 1980 movie Raging Bull.
The former world middleweight boxing champion died on Tuesday at the age of 95.
“He was, as they say, larger than life,” Scorsese said, according to The Telegraph. “He lived a tough life, with a lot to overcome, but that’s exactly what he did. I’m glad to have had the chance to know him.”
His statement is succinct: “Rest in Peace, Champ.”
Based on LaMotta’s memoir, Scorsese’s movie Raging Bull was the story of a fighter who struggled with life outside the ring. It was nominated for eight Oscars, won two and became a classic.
LaMotta was known for his stamina in the ring and his ability to take a severe beating and stay standing. A highlight of his career came in 1943, when he was the first person ever to defeat Sugar Ray Robinson.
He also served a prison sentence and had run-ins with the mafia.
After retiring from boxing, LaMotta invested in a chain of bars and began his part-time career as a stand-up comedian.