Robert De Niro Was Dustin Hoffman’s Waiter in 1969

Jan 23, 2013 12:46pm

Dustin Hoffman joined George Stephanopoulos in the “Good Morning America” studio today to talk about  ”Quartet,” the new movie he directed. It hits theaters Friday.

Aside from sharing his thoughts on his new role behind the camera, Hoffman also told a funny, and rather shocking, story about his first encounter with Robert De Niro in 1969. And no, it wasn’t on a movie set.

“He says, ‘So you remember in 1969?’  I said, ‘Well, what do you mean, Bob? He says, ‘Well, there was some benefit dinner. Maybe [Eugene] McCarthy was running for president, and you were there.’ And I said, ‘Oh yeah, vaguely, a Second Avenue restaurant? Why are you telling me this?’ He says, ‘I was your waiter.’”

De Niro’s revelation clearly took Hoffman by surprise at the time, and got a good laugh from the “GMA” crew.

Hoffman said he asked De Niro if they actually met that night. De Niro’s reply was simple, said Hoffman.  ”‘Yeah,”‘ Hoffman recounted De Niro saying. ”‘The first thing you said to me is ‘How is the flounder?’”

On Dec. 2, De Niro introduced Hoffman at the Kennedy Center Honors, which recognize lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Hoffman was one of  the recipients.

Although the two men have known each other for years and are “very good friends,” said Hoffman,  “when De Niro came out, I was wondering if he was doing it for one of the other honorees.”

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