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NATALIE PORTMAN BIOGRAPHY

Natalie Portman was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. The daughter of an infertility specialist and an artist, Natalie (who uses her grandmother's maiden name in order to protect her privacy) left Israel at the age of 3 and relocated with her family to Maryland, Connecticut, and finally to Long Island, New York, where her parents still reside.

Discovered by a modeling scout at a New York pizza parlor at the age of 11, Natalie was not motivated by modeling and wanted to find a more fulfilling job. Although she had no initial desire to become an actress, Natalie developed an interest in performing after attending the Stagedoor Manor Performing Camp for three summers.

Her first acting experiences came from her summers at Stagedoor Manor, where she was cast in theater performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cabaret, Anne of Green Gables (in the title role), and Tapestry.

Natalie in the professional

Natalie's film career started with her role in the 1994 film, The Professional (a.k.a. Leon), as a hit-man's protégée. The following year, she appeared in the crime-drama Heat, alongside heavy hitters Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and was noticed in the 1996 film, Beautiful Girls, stealing the screen from another beautiful actress, Uma Thurman.

Her role in Beautiful Girls garnered rave reviews for Natalie, and that same year she could be seen in the Woody Allen star-studded musical, Everyone Says I Love You, as well as Mars Attacks!

After having turned down roles in movies like Lolita (due to her feeling that young actors should not be exposed to sex at such a young age) and the role of Juliet in William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (because of the age difference between Portman and Leonardo DiCaprio), Natalie refused the supporting role in The Horse Whisperer, opting instead to star as Anne Frank in the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank. She was nominated for a Tony award for her performance.

Natalie in Star wars

But the role that turned Natalie into more than a Broadway/film actress is that of Queen Padmé Amidala, in the first Star Wars prequel. Her three-film contract, which started with 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, has transformed her into a historic film character. Ironically, Natalie had never even seen the original three Star Wars movies before being cast by George Lucas.

Natalie's graduation from Syosset High School took place the same summer that the much-hyped prequel was released.

After her role in Phantom Menace, Natalie co-starred with Susan Sarandon in Anywhere But Here (1999), and starred in the lead role alongside Ashley Judd in the film adaptation of Where the Heart Is (2000).

Natalie in Closer

Her next projects were Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), Garden State (2004), and True (2004). In 2004, she wowed audiences in Closer, co-starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. She took home a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress (in Closer) and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category for this role.

Trilingual (Natalie speaks Hebrew, English and Japanese) and having aspirations of becoming a doctor, Natalie studied psychology at Harvard University and is currently studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem while filming Free Zone (due for release in 2005). In 2005, she will also appear as Senator Amidala/Padmé Naberrie-Skywalker in the third installment of the Star Wars prequel series, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

Her other 2005 credits include V for Vendetta, The Smoker and Paris, je t'aime.

Often referred to as "the new Audrey Hepburn," Natalie surely has a bright film career ahead of her... if she decides to remain an actress, that is.

 

 

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