At the time of that picture, Leo was a 21-year-old rising actor and Sharon one of the reigning female superstars in Hollywood.
Sharon, 65, revealed in her memoir that she was deeply impressed by Leo’s audition, but the brass at TriStar Pictures were leery of hiring an ‘unknown.’
‘The studio said if I wanted him so much, I could pay him out of my own salary,’ the Casino actress wrote in her book. ‘So I did.’
In a new interview with E! News, Leo gushed: ‘I’ve thanked her many times. I don’t know if I sent her an actual, physical thank you gift, but I cannot thank her enough.’
He recalled that Sharon handpicked him and Russell Crowe for their roles, having been wowed by their previous film performances.
Russell made an impression on her in his 1992 Australian skinhead drama Romper Stomper, while Leo won her approval for his role alongside Johnny Depp in the 1993 coming-of-age movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
‘She said: “These are the two actors I want to work with.” It’s incredible,’ Leonardo remarked in hindsight. ‘She’s been a huge champion of cinema and giving other actors opportunities, so I’m very thankful.’
Two years after The Quick And The Dead, Leonardo rocketed to global heartthrob status as the leading man in James Cameron’s Titanic.
Three years after that, it was Russell’s turn to be lusted after around the world for his smoldering turn in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator.
Sharon published her memoir The Beauty Of Living Twice two years ago and recounted the story of getting Leo the job on The Quick And The Dead.
‘This kid named Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who nailed the audition,’ she remembered. ‘In my opinion he was the only one who came in and cried, begging his father to love him as he died in the scene.’
The suits at TriStar were less enthusiastic, wondering: ‘Why an unknown, Sharon, why are you always shooting yourself in the foot?’
Directed by Sam Raimi, The Quick And The Dead starred Sharon as a mysterious gunslinger in the Wild West on a mission to avenge her father.
Although the movie received a tepid critical response and flopped at the box office upon release, it later acquired a cult fanbase.
Leo can now be seen in the sprawling new epic Killers Of The Flower Moon, which marks his sixth movie with Martin Scorsese.
Last weekend he was roundly mocked online over viral footage that showed him rapping at his star-studded 49th birthday party.
Fans gleefully roasted the spectacle, comparing it to Kendall Roy’s cringe-inducing rap on Succession at a party for his father Logan Roy.