Angelina Jolie Biography
Born Name: Angelina Jolie Voight
Angelina Jolie Voight is an American actress. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. Jolie promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has been cited as one of the world's most attractive people, as well as the world's "most beautiful" woman, titles for which she has received substantial media attention.
Though she made her screen debut as a child alongside her father Jon Voight in the 1982 film Lookin' to Get Out, Jolie's acting career began in earnest a decade later with the low-budget production Cyborg 2 (1993). Her first leading role in a major film was in Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical films George Wallace (1997) and Gia (1998), and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted (1999). Jolie achieved wider fame after her portrayal of video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and since then has established herself as one of the best-known and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. She has had her biggest commercial successes with the action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and the animated film Kung Fu Panda (2008).
Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie currently lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship that has attracted worldwide media attention. Jolie and Pitt have three adopted children, Maddox, Pax, and Zahara, as well as three biological children, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne.
Early life and family
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the niece of Chip Taylor, sister of James Haven and the goddaughter of Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of Czechoslovak and German descent, and on her mother's side she is French Canadian and is said to be part Iroquois. However, Voight has claimed Bertrand was "not seriously Iroquois", and they merely said it to enhance his ex-wife's exotic background.
After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother were raised by their mother, who abandoned her acting ambitions and moved with them to Palisades, New York. As a child, Jolie regularly saw movies with her mother and later explained that this had inspired her interest in acting; she had not been influenced by her father. When she was eleven years old, the family moved back to Los Angeles and Jolie decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions.
At the age of 14, she dropped out of her acting classes and dreamed of becoming a funeral director. During this period, she wore black clothing, dyed her hair purple and went out moshing with her live-in boyfriend. Two years later, after the relationship had ended, she rented an apartment above a garage a few blocks from her mother's home. She returned to theatre studies and graduated from high school, though in recent times she has referred to this period with the observation, "I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos".
She later recalled her time as a student at Beverly Hills High School (later Moreno High School), and her feeling of isolation among the children of some of the area's more affluent families. Jolie's mother survived on a more modest income, and Jolie often wore second-hand clothes. She was teased by other students who also targeted her for her distinctive features, for being extremely thin, and for wearing glasses and braces. Her self-esteem was further diminished when her initial attempts at modeling proved unsuccessful. She started to cut herself; later commenting, "I collected knives and always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me."
Jolie had been long estranged from her father. The two tried to reconcile and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). In July 2002, Jolie filed a request to legally change her name to "Angelina Jolie", dropping Voight as her surname; the name change was made official on September 12, 2002. In August of the same year, Voight claimed that his daughter had "serious mental problems" on Access Hollywood. Jolie later indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father, and said, "My father and I don't speak. I don't hold any anger toward him. I don't believe that somebody's family becomes their blood. Because my son's adopted, and families are earned." She stated that she did not want to publicize her reasons for her estrangement from her father, but because she had adopted her son, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight. In February, 2010 Jolie again reunited with her father. Voight and Jolie were joined by Brad Pitt and Jolie's children in Venice.
Early work: 1993–1997
Jolie began working as a fashion model when she was 14 years old, modeling mainly in Los Angeles, New York and London. At that time she also appeared in numerous music videos, including those of Meat Loaf ("Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through"), Antonello Venditti ("Alta Marea"), Lenny Kravitz ("Stand by My Woman"), Jeff Healey ("Lost in Your Eyes") and The Lemonheads ("It's About Time"). At the age of 16, Jolie returned to theatre and played her first role as a German dominatrix. She began to learn from her father, as she noticed his method of observing people to become like them. Their relationship during this time was less strained, with Jolie realizing that they were both "drama queens".
Jolie appeared in five of her brother's student films, made while he attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts, but her professional movie career began in 1993, when she played her first leading role in the low-budget film Cyborg 2, as Casella "Cash" Reese, a near-human robot, designed to seduce her way into a rival manufacturer's headquarters and then self-detonate. Following a supporting role in the independent film Without Evidence, Jolie starred as Kate "Acid Burn" Libby in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995), where she met her first husband Jonny Lee Miller. The New York Times wrote, "Kate (Angelina Jolie) stands out. That's because she scowls even more sourly than [her co-stars] and is that rare female hacker who sits intently at her keyboard in a see-through top. Despite her sullen posturing, which is all this role requires, Ms. Jolie has the sweetly cherubic looks of her father, Jon Voight." The movie failed to make a profit at the box-office, but developed a cult following after its video release.
She appeared as Gina Malacici in the 1996 comedy Love Is All There Is, a modern-day loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set among two rival Italian family restaurant owners in the Bronx, New York. In the road movie Mojave Moon (1996) she was a youngster, named Eleanor Rigby, who falls for Danny Aiello's character, while he takes a shine to her mother, played by Anne Archer. In 1996, Jolie also portrayed Margret "Legs" Sadovsky, one of five teenage girls who form an unlikely bond in the film Foxfire after they beat up a teacher who has sexually harassed them. The Los Angeles Times wrote about her performance, "It took a lot of hogwash to develop this character, but Jolie, Jon Voight's knockout daughter, has the presence to overcome the stereotype. Though the story is narrated by Maddy, Legs is the subject and the catalyst."
In 1997, Jolie starred with David Duchovny in the thriller Playing God, set in the Los Angeles underworld. The movie was not received well by critics and Roger Ebert noted that "Angelina Jolie finds a certain warmth in a kind of role that is usually hard and aggressive; she seems too nice to be [a criminal's] girlfriend, and maybe she is." She then appeared in the television movie True Women, a historical romantic drama set in the American West, and based on the book by Janice Woods Windle. That year she also appeared in the music video for "Anybody Seen My Baby?" by the Rolling Stones.
Jolie's career prospects began to improve after her performance as Cornelia Wallace in the 1997 biographical film George Wallace for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award. Gary Sinise starred as Alabama Governor George Wallace. The film, directed by John Frankenheimer, was praised by critics and, among other awards, received the Golden Globe for Best Miniseries/Motion Picture made for TV. She played the second wife of the former segregationist governor who was shot and paralyzed while running in 1972 for U.S. President.
In 1998, Jolie starred in HBO's Gia, portraying supermodel Gia Carangi. The film depicted a world of sex, drugs and emotional drama, and chronicled the destruction of Carangi's life and career as a result of her drug addiction, and her decline and death from AIDS. Vanessa Vance from Reel.com noted, "Angelina Jolie gained wide recognition for her role as the titular Gia, and it's easy to see why. Jolie is fierce in her portrayal—filling the part with nerve, charm, and desperation—and her role in this film is quite possibly the most beautiful train wreck ever filmed." For the second consecutive year, Jolie won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award. She also won her first Screen Actors Guild Award. In accordance with Lee Strasberg's method acting, Jolie reportedly preferred to stay in character in between scenes during many of her early films, and as a result had gained a reputation for being difficult to deal with. While shooting Gia, she told her then-husband Jonny Lee Miller that she would not be able to phone him: "I'd tell him: 'I'm alone; I'm dying; I'm gay; I'm not going to see you for weeks.'"
Following Gia, Jolie moved to New York and stopped acting for a short time, because she felt that she had "nothing else to give". She enrolled at New York University to study filmmaking and attended writing classes. She described it as "just good for me to collect myself" on Inside the Actors Studio.
Jolie returned to film as Gloria McNeary in the 1998 gangster movie Hell's Kitchen, and later that year appeared in Playing by Heart, part of an ensemble cast that included Sean Connery, Gillian Anderson, Ryan Phillippe and Jon Stewart. The film received predominantly positive reviews and Jolie was praised in particular. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Jolie, working through an overwritten part, is a sensation as the desperate club crawler learning truths about what she's willing to gamble." Jolie won the Breakthrough Performance Award by the National Board of Review.
In 1999, she starred in Mike Newell's comedy-drama Pushing Tin, co-starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. Jolie played Thornton's seductive wife. The film received a mixed reception from critics and Jolie's character was particularly criticized. The Washington Post wrote, "Mary (Angelina Jolie), a completely ludicrous writer's creation of a free-spirited woman who weeps over hibiscus plants that die, wears lots of turquoise rings and gets real lonely when Russell spends entire nights away from home." She then worked with Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector (1999), an adapted crime novel written by Jeffery Deaver. Jolie played Amelia Donaghy, a police officer haunted by her cop father's suicide, who reluctantly helps Washington track down a serial killer. The movie grossed $151 million worldwide, but was a critical failure. The Detroit Free Press concluded, "Jolie, while always delicious to look at, is simply and woefully miscast."
Jolie next took the supporting role of the sociopathic Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted (1999), a film that tells the story of mental patient Susanna Kaysen, and which was adapted from Kaysen's original memoir of the same name. While Winona Ryder played the main character in what was hoped to be a comeback for her, the film instead marked Jolie's final breakthrough in Hollywood. She won her third Golden Globe Award, her second Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Variety noted, "Jolie is excellent as the flamboyant, irresponsible girl who turns out to be far more instrumental than the doctors in Susanna's rehabilitation".
In 2000, Jolie appeared in her first summer blockbuster, Gone In 60 Seconds, in which she played Sarah "Sway" Wayland, ex-girlfriend of car-thief Nicolas Cage. The role was small, and the Washington Post criticized that "all she does in this movie is stand around, cooling down, modeling those fleshy, pulsating muscle-tubes that nest so provocatively around her teeth." She later explained that the film was a welcome relief after the heavy role of Lisa Rowe, and it became her highest grossing movie up until then, earning $237 million internationally.
International success: 2001–present
Although highly regarded for her acting abilities, Jolie's films to date had often not appealed to a wide audience, but Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) made her an international superstar. An adaptation of the popular Tomb Raider videogame, Jolie was required to learn a British accent and undergo extensive martial arts training to play the title role of Lara Croft. She was generally praised for her physical performance, but the movie generated mostly negative reviews. Slant Magazine commented, "Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft but [director] Simon West makes her journey into a game of Frogger." The movie was an international success nonetheless, earning $275 million worldwide, and launched her global reputation as a female action star.
Jolie then starred opposite Antonio Banderas as the mail-order bride Julia Russell in Original Sin (2001), a thriller based on the novel Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich. The film was a major critical failure, with The New York Times noting, "The story plunges more precipitously than Ms. Jolie's neckline." In 2002, she played Lanie Kerrigan in Life or Something Like It, a film about an ambitious TV reporter who is told that she will die in a week. The film was poorly received by critics, though Jolie's performance received positive reviews. CNN's Paul Clinton wrote, "Jolie is excellent in her role. Despite some of the ludicrous plot points in the middle of the film, this Academy Award–winning actress is exceedingly believable in her journey towards self-discovery and the true meaning of fulfilling life."
Jolie reprised her role as Lara Croft in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in 2003. The sequel, while not as lucrative as the original, earned $156 million at the international box-office. Later that year Jolie starred in Beyond Borders, a film about aid workers in Africa. Although reflecting Jolie's real-life interest in promoting humanitarian relief, the film was critically and financially unsuccessful. The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Jolie, as she did in her Oscar-winning role in Girl, Interrupted, can bring electricity and believability to roles that have a reality she can understand. She can also, witness the Lara Croft films, do acknowledged cartoons. But the limbo of a hybrid character, a badly written cardboard person in a fly-infested, blood-and-guts world, completely defeats her."
In 2004, Jolie starred alongside Ethan Hawke in the thriller Taking Lives. She portrayed Illeana Scott, an FBI profiler summoned to help Montreal law enforcement hunt down a serial killer. The movie received mixed reviews and The Hollywood Reporter concluded, "Angelina Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour." She also provided the voice of Lola, an angelfish in the animated DreamWorks movie Shark Tale (2004) and she had a brief appearance in Kerry Conran's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), a science fiction adventure film shot with actors entirely in front of a bluescreen. Also in 2004, Jolie played Olympias in Alexander, Oliver Stone's biographical film about the life of Alexander the Great. The film failed domestically, with Stone attributing its poor reception to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, with revenue of $139 million outside the United States.
Jolie's only movie in 2005 was the action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The film, directed by Doug Liman, tells the story of a bored married couple who find out that they are both secret assassins. Jolie starred as Jane Smith opposite Brad Pitt. The film received mixed reviews, but was generally lauded for the chemistry between the two leads. The Star Tribune noted, "While the story feels haphazard, the movie gets by on gregarious charm, galloping energy and the stars' thermonuclear screen chemistry." The movie earned $478 million worldwide, one of the biggest hits of 2005.
She next appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd (2006), a film about the early history of the CIA, as seen through the eyes of Edward Wilson, played by Matt Damon. Jolie played the supporting role of Margaret Russell, Wilson's neglected wife. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Jolie ages convincingly throughout, and is blithely unconcerned with how her brittle character is coming off in terms of audience sympathy."
In 2007, Jolie made her directorial debut with the documentary A Place in Time, which captures the life in 27 locations around the globe during a single week. The film was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and is intended to be distributed through the National Education Association, mainly in high schools. Jolie starred as Mariane Pearl in Michael Winterbottom's documentary-style drama A Mighty Heart (2007), about the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. The film is based on Mariane Pearl's memoirs of the same name and had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter described Jolie's performance as "well-measured and moving", played "with respect and a firm grasp on a difficult accent." The film earned her a fourth Golden Globe Award and a third Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. Jolie also played Grendel's mother in Robert Zemeckis' animated epic Beowulf (2007) which was created through the motion capture technique.
Jolie co-starred alongside James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in the 2008 action movie Wanted, an adaptation of a graphic novel by Mark Millar. The film received predominately favorable reviews and proved to be an international success, earning $342 million worldwide. She also provided the voice of Master Tigress in the DreamWorks animated movie Kung Fu Panda (2008). With revenue of $632 million internationally, it became her highest grossing film to date. The same year, Jolie played Christine Collins, the lead in Clint Eastwood's drama Changeling (2008), which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It is based on the true story of a woman in 1928 Los Angeles who is reunited with her kidnapped son — only to realize he is an impostor. Jolie received her second Academy Award nomination, and also was nominated for a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award. The Chicago Tribune noted, "Jolie really shines in the calm before the storm, the scenes [...] when one patronizing male authority figure after another belittles her at their peril."
It was confirmed on June 11, 2010 that Jolie would star as Cleopatra in the remake of Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra: A Life, based on the book by Stacy Sciff.