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Natalie Portman Biography

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Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
(Nat)
Jerusalem
Often portrays characters that are rather smart, mature, and grown up for their age.

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Natalie Portman Biography

Natalie Portman was born on June 9th, 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel, as the only child of a doctor father (from Israel) and an artist mother (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie's agent. She left Israel for Washington, DC, when she was still very young. After a few more moves, her family finally settled in New York, where she still lives to this day. She graduated with honors, and her academic achievements allowed her to attend Harvard.

She was discovered by an agent in a pizza parlor at the age of 11. She was pushed towards a career in modeling but she decided that she would rather pursue a career in acting. She was featured in many live performances, but she made her powerful film debut in the movie Léon (1994) (aka "The Professional"). Following this role Natalie won roles in such films as Heat (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996), and Mars Attacks! (1996).

It wasn't until 1999 that Natalie received worldwide fame as Queen Amidala in the highly anticipated US$431 million-grossing prequel Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). Afterwards, she starred in two critically acclaimed comedy dramas, Anywhere But Here (1999), Where the Heart Is (2000), and Closer (2004/I), for which she received an Oscar nomination.


Natalie Portman Trivia

Turned down a role in The Horse Whisperer (1998) to act in "The Diary of Anne Frank" on Broadway.

Graduated from Syosset High School, Syosset, New York. [29 June 1999]

Has been a vegetarian since the age of 8.

Has taken dance lessons since the age of 4.

Says that math was her favorite subject in school "because there's always an answer."

Stated in a TV interview that with the exception of the Star Wars prequels, she will not act for the next four years in order to concentrate on studying at Harvard University. [1999]

Can speak two languages, Hebrew and English (her native languages), fluently. Also knows some conversational French, German, and Japanese and Spanish.

Originally turned down the role of Ann August in the film Anywhere But Here (1999) because of the love scene between herself and Corbin Allred that required nudity. Susan Sarandon, who had co-star approval, said she couldn't continue the movie without Portman, so the script was re-written without the scene and she accepted the role.

Was a member of the environmental song and dance troupe The World Patrol Kids under her real name, Natalie Hershlag.

She is an only child.

She went to Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Camp in 1994 and 1995 where she was Anne in "Anne of Green Gables" in 1994 and "Tapestry" in 1995.

Was the first choice to play Juliet in Romeo + Juliet (1996) but turned it down because of the scenes and the age difference between her and Leonardo DiCaprio.

She was discovered in a pizza parlor and was originally turned down for the role of Mathilda in Léon (1994) because she was too young.

David Letterman and Harpers and Queen magazines said that she is "the new Audrey Hepburn".

Turned down the title role in Adrian Lyne's Lolita (1997), due to her feelings about young adult actors/actresses being exposed to sex in films.

Before she was cast in _Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)_ , she had never seen the original 3 Star Wars movies.

Moved to the US when she was 3 years old.

Turned down the role of Wendy in The Ice Storm (1997) because she felt the material was "too dark." The role went to Christina Ricci, who has said she often gets the projects Natalie turns down.

Said would never be in a horror movie or any other "Jennifer Love Hewitt type" film

Has said in interviews that when she gets older, she would like to be a doctor like her father.

Was reportedly caught using a fake ID trying to sneak into Boston club called the Roxy. The performer Moby insisted that she was invited by him and refused to perform unless she was admitted. She was admitted, and security watched her as she stood in the back, watched the show, and didn't drink.

Stated in an on-line interview that the story about sneaking into the Roxy club in Boston to see Moby is not true and that she and her friends went home after they were denied entrance.

Takes pride in the fact that she is a role model for girls and choses roles that are positive so that they will have a positive role model to look up to.

Her father is a fertility specialist.

Auditioned for Little Women (1994).

Became interested in acting after spending three summers at the prestigious (and expensive) Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Camp.

Is very close to her parents and says, "The best part about being friends with your parents is that no matter what you do, they always love you."

Grew up in Syosset, Long Island, New York, where she still resides.

Dated Lukas Haas. [July 2001]

Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.

Natalie was born on her mother's 29th birthday.

Father's name: Avner. Mother's name: Shelley.

One of Teen People Magazine's 25 Hottest Stars under 25 [2002]

Went to Usdan Camp for the arts as a child.

The makeup brand Stila has a lip gloss named after her.

As of March 2007, she has appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" (1993) 11 times.

won the 2002 Teen's Choice Award for choice actress in an action/adventure film (Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002))

Voted the 15th Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.

Received her Harvard degree in June of 2003.

Has a passion for travel. In late 2003 and early 2004 she travelled alone to Morocco and Guatemala.

Favorite actor is Ben Kingsley.

Is trained in ballet, jazz, and tap dancing.

She has worked with a several of her co-stars twice: Ashley Judd in Heat (1995) and Where the Heart Is (2000); Lukas Haas in Mars Attacks! (1996) and Everyone Says I Love You (1996); 'Julia Roberts' in Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and Closer (2004/I); Jude Law in Cold Mountain (2003) and Closer (2004/I); Philip Seymour Hoffman in the play The Seagull and Cold Mountain (2003); John Carroll Lynch in Beautiful Girls (1996) and Anywhere But Here (1999). She has also worked for director Mike Nichols on two occasions: for the play The Seagull and Closer (2004/I).

As a young girl, she was an understudy for the lead character in the off-Broadway show, "Ruthless," alongside Britney Spears. They still keep in touch, and recently threw a party together in New York City.

Fashion designer Zac Posen refers to her as his "muse."

Both she and Sofia Coppola have played the daughter of a character played by Al Pacino, and also both appeared in a film featuring Pacino and Robert De Niro. Sofia Coppola was in all three Godfather films (though she had only an uncredited part in the 2nd), and Portman was in Heat (1995). Portman and Coppola appeared together in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).

Is close friends with Jake Gyllenhaal and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Her comedic influences are Lily Tomlin and Diane Keaton. She said in an interview, "I love Lily Tomlin and I love Diane Keaton. They're sort of my heroes. Diane Keaton can do anything. She's just the best there is."

Has a song named after her by the band TeamSleep.

She and director Tom Tykwer became good friends after working together on True (2004).

She spoofed her role in Star Wars before becoming involved in the series. In Mars Attacks! (1996), she gives a medal to Lukas Haas in a scene resembling the award ceremony at the end of Star Wars (1977). The medals were given out by Princess Leia, the daughter of Portman's future character, Queen Amidala. In addition, the recipients of those medals, Haas and Harrison Ford, appeared together in Witness (1985).

Shares a birthday with Johnny Depp and Michael J. Fox.

Was considered for a role in Elizabethtown (2005).

Has a CD named after her by Chicago-based DJ Intel One. The CD was done for charity, given away, and titled "Love: A Tribute to Natalie Portman." It featured songs by Shelley Duvall, Common, The Roots, and others.

She has worked with two Draculas as well as two Frankenstein monsters. In Léon (1994), she worked with Gary Oldman, who played Dracula for Francis Ford Coppola. In Heat (1995), she appeared with Robert De Niro, who played The Creature for Kenneth Branagh. In Star Wars, she works with Christopher Lee, who played both roles for Hammer studios.

Had to miss the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) so she could study for her high school final exams.

Has a song named after her by the band Ozma.

Bears a striking resemblance to Keira Knightley. Knightley played Sabé, the Queen's decoy, in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). When in makeup, not even the mothers of the actresses could tell them apart.

She hesitantly shot an explicit nude scene for Closer (2004/I), in the scene where Alice (Portman) strips for Larry (Clive Owen). Ultimately, Portman and director Mike Nichols agreed not to use it, as the scene was effective enough without it.

Shaved her head for V for Vendetta (2005).

Learned to speak with a British accent for V for Vendetta (2005).

Still takes ballet classes.

Is learning how to play the piano and conduct for Goya's Ghosts (2006).

Named #42 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.

Named #49 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement. (2005)

Says her performances in Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and the three Star Wars films are her worst. Her failure, she believes, is her inability to improvise.

Several months after shaving her head, she was traveling through Ireland and stopped for directions at a bed and breakfast. The owners refused to allow her even onto their porch. They did, however, give her directions.

Voted Peta's Sexiest Female Vegetarian in 2002.

A radio station once had a contest to find out where she went to school; Backstreet Boys tickets were the prizes.

Her mother is American (the daughter of one Russian parent, one Austrian) and her father is Israeli (son of a Polish father).

In 1999, magazines reported that Portman started a new trend--wearing logo T- shirts--when they snapped photos of her at her 18th birthday wearing a snug Nesquik shirt. (However, logo T-shirts had already been popular for at least a decade before that.) She had borrowed the shirt from her best friend's eight-year-old brother; he was appalled.

In 2005, she spent a few months in Madrid partying with Javier Bardem and friends. She was mostly unrecognizable to fans because of her Mohawk.

Occasionally shelters dogs.

Once during an interview, she offered a metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the David Hare play "Via Dolorosa." It's about a man who jumps out of a burning building and lands on a passerby, breaking the passerby's leg. The passerby says, "You broke my leg," and the man breaks his other leg to shut him up.

Said that it was while working on The Seagull (2001) that she became aware that acting is much more about the process than the product. Most helpful was when she would peek over Philip Seymour Hoffman's shoulder at the notebook he kept in which he wrote questions and then answers about his character's feelings.

She became the first client of Artists Management Group to land representation at the powerhouse Creative Artists Agency. CAA refused to work with clients of its former founder Michael Ovitz's AMG; as soon as the one-time super-agent sold out his interest in the management firm, CAA went straight after Portman.

Was surprised and amused to discover that her apartment in the heart of Kings Cross, London, was across the street from a brothel.

Took diving courses in Eilat, Israel. Diving is one of her favorite hobbies.

For her 2003 New Year's party, she wore a Zac Posen dress that had more than $10,000 worth of crystals sewn onto it. She also attended Moby's much-hyped secret Naked NYE party.

As the first day of Cold Mountain (2003) filming fell on Halloween, Portman came to set dressed as Dorothy Gale only to realize she was the only one who'd dressed up.

Her years at Harvard resulted in the phenomenon of The Natalies, in which every underclasswoman with that first name received numerous e-mails and phone messages from fans.

When she arrived at a London airport to do re-shoots for the third Star Wars prequel, a customs official--going by her size--asked Natalie if she was traveling with a guardian.

Is a close friend and well-known customer of Zac Posen.

Mike Nichols and his wife, Diane Sawyer, have been friends with Natalie since she was 15.

Is friends with Jeanine Lobell, founder of Stila cosmetics, and her husband, actor Anthony Edwards.

She is friends with young writer Jonathan Safran Foer.

Became friends with German director Tom Tykwer while filming True (2004).

Has been friends with American designer Isaac Mizrahi since she was 14.

Attended a soccer game in Madrid with Stellan Skarsgård. Afterwards, the team gave her her own jersey.

While in northern Iraq in 2004, the 1st Battalion 5th Infantry hung a giant poster of her in their command hanger after discovering that most of the men in the unit were big fans.

Family friend of Audrey Hepburn.

Was considered for the role of Jane Austen in Becoming Jane (2007), but the role went to Anne Hathaway.

Her parents met as OSU (Ohio State university) in Columbus, Ohio.

Shelley, her mother, was born on June 9, 1952, and was raised in Cinncinati, Ohio.

Has a slight indentation on her head that was visible during the time she her head shaved. The indentation was the result of being delivered by vacuum extraction.

Avner, her father, was born on September 12, 1951.

Named #61 in FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006" supplement. (2006).

Director Milos Forman sought her out for an audition after seeing her on the cover of Vogue. He said that she looked like a Goya painting.

Pan's Labyrinth's actress, Ivana Baquero, once mentioned in an interview that she would love to work in a film with Portman.

She currently lives in Long Island, New York, and also shares a home in London, England. She has lived in Long Island, New York since she was a child. [2007]

Listens mostly to R&B, Old School Hip-Hop and 90s Alternative Rock. Some of her favorite groups and artists are "A Tribe Called Quest", "Radiohead", "Stevie Wonder" "Portishead", "Wu-Tang Clan", and "Nirvana".

Footage of Natalie Portman and Leonardo DiCaprio as Juliet and Romeo in Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet was actually shot before executives had her replaced with Claire Danes due to the age difference between Natalie and Leonardo.

Unwinds by singing karaoke at Winnie's, a NYC bar in Chinatown.

While in Morocco, she lived in a tent and traveled by camel. She visits Morocco regularly.

As the first day of Cold Mountain filming fell on Halloween, Portman came to set dressed as Dorothy Gale only to realize she was the only one who'd dressed up.




 
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