Preview: Harvey Keitel doesn't think of himself as a "star"

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Harvey Keitel (right), with CBS News' Anthony Mason. The Oscar-nominated actor who built a career out of making small roles memorable, and now appears in "The Irishman," tells "Sunday Morning" he thinks of himself as "really lucky."

CBS News

Actor Harvey Keitel has built a long career out of making small movie roles memorable, and earned an Oscar nomination along the way. However, Keitel believes he's never been considered "bankable," he tells Anthony Mason in an interview for "CBS Sunday Morning," to be broadcast December 15.

Keitel, currently seen in the mob epic "The Irishman," tells Mason, co-host of "CBS This Morning," that Hollywood hasn't always seen him as "bankable" or strong enough to lead a film. And despite his acting success, Keitel doesn't see himself as a movie star.

"I think of myself as a former Marine who got lucky. Really lucky," Keitel said. "So, I'm just grateful for the luck I've had, the people I've met, including the Marines."

Keitel, 80, talks with Mason about his career, growing up in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, and how his first exposure to creativity came at the Marine Corps base at Parris Island.

The actor got his big acting break when he met Martin Scorsese, then a film student at New York University, who was casting for a student project. Keitel has since been in six Scorsese films, including "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "The Last Temptation of Christ," and now, "The Irishman."

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Actor Harvey Keitel. First row: "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver" (with Robert De Niro), and "The Duellists." Second row: "Thelma & Louise," "Bugsy," and "Reservoir Dogs." Third row: "The Piano" (with Holly Hunter), "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and "The Irishman."  Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, MGM, TriStar Pictures, Miramax, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Netflix

He also shares his family's reaction to his decision to become an actor. "I'll make a long story short," Keitel said. "When I said to them I'm gonna study acting, my father summed it up. He said, 'Actor schmactor.'"

Keitel earned an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1991 film "Bugsy."  But despite the acclaim, Hollywood seemed to lose interest in him. Why?

"Gosh, if I knew that, I'd bottle it and sell it. I mean, I think they've lost interest in me now," Keitel said. "Because everything is box office. Not that things don't have to be the box office. They have to be. But not everything. And right now, it's everything."

The Emmy Award-winning "Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET, and is rebroadcast on Pop TV at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. "Sunday Morning" also streams on CBSN beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET and repeated at 1 p.m. ET, and is available on cbs.com, CBS All Access and On Demand.

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To watch a trailer for "The Irishman" click on the video player below:

The Irishman | Final Trailer | Netflix by Netflix on YouTube