Name: Natalie Portman
Date of Birth: 09 June 1981
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel.
Height: 5' 3" (160 cm)
Eye Color: Brown - Light
Hair Color: Brown - Dark
Star Sign: Gemini
Alternative Names: Nat
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Natalie Portman (Hebrew: נטלי פורטמן; born Natalie Hershlag Jun. 9, 1981 (30 years ago)) is an Israeli American actress. Her first role came in the 1994 (17 years ago) independent movie Léon (known in the United States as The Professional). She achieved wider fame after playing Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Portman, who has said "I'd rather be smart than a movie star," completed a bachelor's degree in psychology at Harvard College while she was working on the Star Wars films.
In 2001 (10 years ago), Portman opened in New York City's Public Theater production of Chekhov's The Seagull (5 walls), alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In 2005 (6 years ago), Portman received a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actress in the drama Closer. In May 2008 (3 years ago), she served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes movie Festival jury. Portman's directorial debut, Eve, opened the 65th Venice International movie Festival's shorts competition in 2008 (3 years ago).
Portman was born Natalie Hershlag (Hebrew: נטלי הרשלג) in Jerusalem, Israel. Her father, Avner Hershlag, is an Israeli doctor specializing in fertility and reproduction (reproductive endocrinology). Her mother, Shelley Stevens, is an American homemaker who now works as her agent. Portman's maternal ancestors were Jews from Austria and Russia and her paternal ancestors were Jews who immigrated to Israel from Poland and Romania. Her paternal grandfather's parents died in Auschwitz and her Romanian-born great-grandmother was a spy for the British during World War II.
Portman's parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University where her mother was selling tickets. Her father returned to Israel, and the two corresponded and were married when her mother visited
Portman started dancing lessons at age 4 and she performed in local troupes. At the age of 10, a Revlon agent asked her to become a child model, but she turned down the offer, to focus on acting. In a magazine interview, Portman said that she was "...different from the other kids. I was more ambitious, I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid." Portman spent her school holidays attending theater camps. When she was ten, she auditioned for Ruthless!, a play about a girl who is prepared to commit murder to get the lead in a school play, and she was chosen as the understudy for Laura Bell Bundy. In 1994 (17 years ago), she auditioned for the role of a child who befriends a middle-aged hitman in Luc Besson's movie Léon (aka The Professional). Soon after getting the part, she took her grandmother's maiden name "Portman" as her stage name, in the interest of privacy; in the director's cut of the movie on DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) she is credited as Natalie Hershlag. Léon opened on Nov. 18, 1994 (17 years ago), marking her feature movie debut at age 13. That same year she appeared in the short movie Developing, which aired on TV.
During the mid-1990s, Portman had roles in the movies Heat, Everyone Says I Love You, and Mars Attacks!, as well as a major role in Beautiful Girls. She was also the first choice to play Juliet in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, but producers felt her age wasn't suitable. In 1997 (14 years ago), Portman played the role of Anne Frank in a Broadway adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. She initially turned down the lead role in the movie Anywhere but Here, after learning it would involve a sex scene, but director Wayne Wang and actress Susan Sarandon demanded a rewrite of the script; Portman was shown a new draft, and she joined the project. The movie opened in late 1999 (12 years ago), and she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Ann August. Critic Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon called Portman "astonishing" and said that "[u]nlike any number of actresses her age, she's neither too maudlin nor too plucky." In the late 1990s, Portman was cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The first part, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, opened in early 1999 (12 years ago). She then signed on to play the lead role of a persevering teenaged mother in Where the Heart Is.
After filming Where the Heart Is, Portman moved into the dorms of Harvard University to pursue her bachelor's degree in psychology. She said in a 1999 (12 years ago) interview that, with the exception of the Star Wars prequels, she would not act for the next four years in order to concentrate on studying. During the summer break, from Jun. to sep. 2000 (11 years ago), Portman filmed Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the
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In 2004 (7 years ago), Portman appeared in the independent movies Garden State and Closer. Garden State was an official selection of the Sundance movie Festival, and won Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. Her performance as Alice in Closer saw Portman win a Supporting Actress Golden Globe as well as a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
The final Star Wars prequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released on May 19, 2005 (6 years ago). The movie was the highest grossing movie of the year, and was voted Favorite Motion picture (wallpaper) at the People's Choice Awards. Also in 2005 (6 years ago), Portman filmed Free Zone and director Miloš Forman's Goya's Ghosts. Forman had not seen any of her work, but thought she looked like a Goya painting so he requested a meeting.
Portman appeared on Saturday Night Live on Mar. 4, 2006 (5 years ago), hosting the show with musical guest Fall Out Boy and special guest star Dennis Haysbert. In a SNL Digital Short, she portrays herself as an angry gangsta rapper (with Andy Samberg as her Flavor Flav-esque partner in Viking garb) during a faux-interview with Chris Parnell, saying she cheated at Harvard University while high on pot and cocaine. The song, titled "Natalie's Rap", was released - alongside other sketches from the show - in 2009 (2 years ago) on Incredibad, an album by the Lonely Island. In another sketch, she portrays a student named Rebecca Hershlag (her actual surname) attending a Bar Mitzvah, and in an installment of the recurring sketch The Needlers (also known as Sally and Dan, The Couple That Should Be Divorced), plays a fertility specialist (her father's profession).
V for Vendetta opened in early 2006 (5 years ago). Portman portrayed Evey Hammond, a young woman who is saved from the secret police by the main character, V. Portman worked with a voice coach for the role, learning to speak with an English accent, and had her head shaved.
Portman has commented on V for Vendetta's political relevance, and mentioned that her character, who joins an underground anti-government group, is "often bad and does things that you don't like" and that "Being from Israel was a reason I wanted to do this because terrorism and violence are such a daily part of my conversations since I was little." She said the movie "doesn't make clear good or bad statements. It respects the audience enough to take away their own opinion". Both Goya's Ghosts and Free Zone received limited releases in 2006 (5 years ago). Portman starred in the children's movie Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, which began filming in Apr. 2006 (5 years ago) and was released in Nov. 2007; she has said that she was "excited to do a kids' movie." In late 2006 (5 years ago), Portman filmed The Other Boleyn Girl (4 walls), a historical drama in which she plays Anne Boleyn; Eric Bana and Scarlett Johansson (60 walls) co-starred in the film. She was also named one of the hottest women of movie and TV by Blender Magazine.
Portman has been cast in the role of Jane Foster in Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Thor film.
Although she says her family was not religious, Portman attended a Jewish elementary school, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Glen Cove, New York. She graduated from a public high school, Syosset High School. Portman skipped the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I so she could study for her high school final exams.
In Jun. 2003 (8 years ago), Portman graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology. At Harvard, Portman was Alan Dershowitz's research assistant (he thanks her in The Case for Israel) in a psychology lab. While attending Harvard, she was a resident of Lowell House and wrote a letter to the Harvard Crimson in response to an anti-Israeli essay.
Portman took graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the spring of 2004 (7 years ago). In Mar. 2006 (5 years ago), she appeared as a guest lecturer at a Columbia University course in terrorism and counterterrorism, where she spoke about her movie V for Vendetta.
In addition to being bilingual in Hebrew and English, Portman has studied French, Japanese, German, and Arabic.
As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in professional scientific journals. Her 1998 (13 years ago) high school paper "A Simple Method To Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar" was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. In 2002 (9 years ago), she contributed to a study on memory called "Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence" during her psychology studies at Harvard.
Portman has been a vegetarian since childhood and is an advocate for animal rights. She does not eat animal products or wear fur, feathers, or leather. "All of my shoes are from Target and Stella McCartney," she has said. It has been reported that she will appear alongside actress Elissa Sursara in a PETA PSA to support the group's anti-fur campaign at some point throughout 2009 (2 years ago). In 2007 (4 years ago), Natalie Portman traveled to Rwanda with Jack Hanna, to movie a documentary titled Gorillas on the Brink. Later, at a naming ceremony, Portman named a baby gorilla Gukina, which means "to play." In 2007 (4 years ago), she launched her own brand of vegan footwear. Portman has been an advocate of environmental causes since childhood, when she joined an environmental song and dance troupe known as World Patrol Kids. She is also a member of the One Voice movement.
On the concept of the afterlife, she comments: "I don't believe in that. I believe this is it, and I believe it's the best way to live." She has said that she feels more Jewish in Israel and that she would like to raise her children in the Jewish religion: "A priority for me is definitely that I'd like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner... I get much more Jewish in Israel." During the 2008 (3 years ago) Democratic primaries, Portman supported Senator Hillary Clinton for president, but said that she "likes Obama as well. I even like John McCain." She later campaigned for Obama during the general election.
In the May 2002 (9 years ago) issue of Vogue, Portman called actor/musician Lukas Haas and musician Moby her close friends. After starring in the video for his song "Carmensita," she began a relationship with Venezuelan folk singer Devendra Banhart. which ended in sep. 2008 (3 years ago).
Everyone Says I Love You
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Anywhere but Here
Where the Heart Is
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
V for Vendetta
Paris, je t'aime
My Blueberry Nights
The Darjeeling Limited
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
The Other Boleyn Girl (4 walls)
New York, I Love You
17 Photos of Isabel
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