NATALIE PORTMAN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Natalie Portman was born 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 Long Island, New York, where she still resides.


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 the theatre performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cabaret, was the title character in Anne of Green Gables, and performed in Tapestry.


Natalie’s film career started with her role in the 1994 film, The Professional (a.k.a. Leon), as a hit-man’s protegee. 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 such as 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 her 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 Dairy of Anne Frank.


But the role that turned Natalie into more than a Broadway and film actress is that of Queen Padme 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 an 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 the much-hyped prequel was released.


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


Trilingual (Natalie is fluent in Hebrew, English and Japanese) and having shared aspirations of becoming a doctor, Natalie is currently studying Psychology at Harvard University. 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.


But having Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones and the untitled Star Wars Episode III aren’t bad places to start.