Skip to main content

Quentin Tarantino

Why he fell out with his mother

Tarantino and his wife, Daniella. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Last week the Oscar-winning film-maker Quentin Tarantino said he refuses to give his mother any money because she mocked his writing when he was a teenager. “You will never see one penny from my success. There will be no house for you. There’s no vacation for you,” he raged on the podcast The Moment. “You get nothing. Because you said that.”

How gracious, says Tanya Gold in UnHerd. Tarantino, 58, is worth an estimated $120m. His mother, Connie, is 75 and works as a nurse in Tennessee. Raising him was exhausting. Connie was 16, single and broke when she gave birth to Tarantino. For years she worked 16-hour shifts, leaving the child in a trailer park with his alcoholic grandmother. So Quentin escaped through books and films – he watched movies over and over again, and reread chapters, analysing their structure. When he was nine he wrote Connie a Mother’s Day story in which she died at the end. “I feel real bad about it,” he told her. “But that’s just the way the story turned out.” No wonder she questioned his literary abilities.

His father was the real villain. Tony Tarantino, a failed actor, left Connie before Quentin was born. I hate him, the director told Marc Maron on the WTF podcast. “He had 30 f***ing years to find me and he never did.” Then, when Quentin became famous, Tony hunted him down at a cafe. “He’s like, ‘Hi. It’s me.’ And I look up, and I knew exactly who it was. And I go ‘Ugh. I knew this day was going to come.’” Tony asked if he could sit down. Quentin didn’t even make eye contact. “I just looked at the table, and I waved him away with my hand.” They never met again.

The sins of the fathers

Like Tony Tarantino, Al Pacino’s estranged father, Sal, piggybacked on his son’s success. In fact, Tony and Sal made a film together in the 1990s. The movie, Holy Hollywood, was billed as starring Pacino and Tarantino. It was only ever released on video.