Jake LaMotta, real-life 'Raging Bull' boxer, dies at 95

Former middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta poses in New York October 28, 2009. LaMotta learned to fight with an ice pick in his hand in a Bronx schoolyard, battering all the way in later life to a world middleweight title in an era of 15-round fights. (REUTERS/Teddy Blackburn/File Photo)
Former middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta poses in New York October 28, 2009. LaMotta learned to fight with an ice pick in his hand in a Bronx schoolyard, battering all the way in later life to a world middleweight title in an era of 15-round fights. (REUTERS/Teddy Blackburn/File Photo)

LOS ANGELES — Jake LaMotta, the boxing champion whose memoir inspired Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film “Raging Bull,” is dead. He was 95.

LaMotta’s daughter, Christi, confirmed the news in a Facebook post. “Rest in peace pop,” she captioned a photo of her late father. LaMotta’s wife told TMZ the late boxer “died in a nursing home due to complications from pneumonia.”

LaMotta was born in the Bronx in the early ‘20s to Italian immigrant parents. He became a professional boxer at 19, and fought most of his career as a middleweight. His career was highlighted by a rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson, which led to a six-fight series, of which LaMotta won only one. He did, however, win the world middleweight title in 1949, defeating Marcel Cerdan. Over the course of his career as a boxer, LaMotta earned the nickname “The Raging Bull” for his rough and aggressive fighting style.

After retiring from the ring, LaMotta continued to entertain as a comedian, actor, and bar manager. His credits include playing a bartender in the 1961 film “The Hustler,” starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason.

In 1970, LaMotta wrote a memoir, titled “Raging Bull: My Story,” which would inspire the feature film, released a decade later. Robert De Niro played LaMotta in the film, and won an Academy Award for the part. Scorsese’s movie also won an Oscar for editing, and was nominated for six other awards, including best picture and best director.

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