Angelina Jolie (born Angelina Jolie Voight; June 4, 1975) is an American actress, film director, screenwriter, and author. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and was named Hollywood's highest-paid actress by Forbes in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Jolie promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Special Envoy and former Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has often been cited as the world's "most beautiful" woman, a title for which she has received substantial media attention.
Jolie made her screen debut as a child alongside her father, Jon Voight, in Lookin' to Get Out (1982), but her film 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 the cyber-thriller Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical television 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 wide fame after her portrayal of the video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and established herself among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood with the sequel The Cradle of Life (2003). She continued her action star career with Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), and Salt (2010), her biggest live-action commercial successes to date, and received further critical acclaim for her performances in the dramas A Mighty Heart (2007) and Changeling (2008), which earned her a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress. Jolie made her directorial debut with the wartime drama In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011).
Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie now lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship notable for fervent media attention. Jolie and Pitt have a total of six children, three biological children and three adopted children.
Early life and familyEdit
Jolie was born on June 4, 1975 in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the sister of actor James Haven, niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, and goddaughter of actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of German and Slovak descent, and on her mother's side, she is of primarily French Canadian, Dutch, and German ancestry. Like her mother, Jolie has stated that she is part Iroquois, although her only known Native American ancestor was a Huron woman born in 1649.
After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother lived with their mother, who had abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. As a child, Jolie often watched movies with her mother and explained this had inspired her interest in acting; she stated that she was not influenced by her father's career. When she was six years old, her mother and stepfather, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. She then 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, Jolie dropped out of her acting classes and aspired to become a funeral director. She began working as a fashion model, modeling mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and London. During this period, she wore black clothing, experimented with knife play, 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 graduated from high school and returned to theater studies, 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."
Jolie suffered episodes of suicidal depression throughout her teens and early twenties. She felt isolated at Beverly Hills High School among the children of some of the area's affluent families, as her mother survived on a more modest income, and she was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. She found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she started to self-harm; 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." She also began experimenting with drugs; by the age of 20, she had tried "just about every drug possible," including heroin.
Jolie has had a difficult relationship with her father. Because of Voight's marital infidelity and the resulting breakup of her parents' marriage, she was estranged from her father for many years. They reconciled and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), but their relationship again deteriorated. In July 2002, Jolie, who had long used her middle name as a stage name to establish her own identity as an actress—filed a request to legally drop Voight as her surname, which was granted on September 12, 2002. In August of that year, Voight claimed his daughter had "serious mental problems" on Access Hollywood. In response, Jolie released a statement in which she indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father. She explained that because she had adopted her son Maddox, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight. In the wake of her mother's death from ovarian cancer on January 27, 2007, Jolie again reconciled with her father after a six-year estrangement.
Early work: 1982; 1991-1997Edit
When she was seven years old, Jolie had a small part in Lookin' to Get Out (1982), a movie co-written by and starring her father, Jon Voight. She committed to acting at the age of 16, but initially found it difficult to pass auditions, often being told that she was "too dark." She appeared in five of her brother's student films, made while he attended the USC School of Cinema-Television, as well as in several music videos, namely Lenny Kravitz's "Stand by My Woman" (1991); Antonello Venditti's version of Crowded House's hit "Don't Dream It's Over", "Alta Marea" (1991); The Lemonheads's "It's About Time" (1993); and Meat Loaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (1993). 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 began her professional film career in 1993, when she played her first leading role in the low-budget, straight-to-video science-fiction sequel 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. Jolie was so disappointed with the film that she did not audition again for a year. Following a supporting role in the independent film Without Evidence (1995), Jolie starred as Kate "Acid Burn" Libby in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995). 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 next appeared 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 played a young woman who falls for Danny Aiello's middle-aged character, while he develops feelings for her mother, played by Anne Archer. That same year, 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 well received by critics; 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 Blossom's girlfriend, and maybe she is." She then appeared in the television film True Women (1997), a historical romantic drama set in the American West and based on the book by Janice Woods Windle. That year, she also appeared as a stripper in the music video for "Anybody Seen My Baby?" by The Rolling Stones.
Jolie's career prospects began to improve after she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in TNT's George Wallace (1997). She portrayed Cornelia Wallace, the second wife of Alabama Governor George Wallace, played by Gary Sinise. The film was very well received by critics and won, among other awards, the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film. Jolie also received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance.
In 1998, Jolie starred in HBO's Gia, portraying supermodel Gia Carangi. The film chronicled the destruction of Carangi's life and career as a result of her addiction to heroin, and her decline and death from AIDS in the mid-1980s. 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 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.'" After Gia wrapped in 1997, Jolie announced that she had given up acting for good, because she felt that she had "nothing else to give." She separated from Miller and moved to New York, where she enrolled at New York University to study filmmaking and attend writing classes; she later described it as "just good for me to collect myself." Encouraged by her Golden Globe Award win for George Wallace and the positive critical reception of Gia, she resumed her career.
Jolie returned to film in the 1998 gangster movie Hell's Kitchen. Later that year, she 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 postive 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 from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.
In 1999, she starred in the comedy-drama Pushing Tin. The film received a mixed reception from critics, and Jolie's character—Thornton's seductive wife—was particularly criticized. The Washington Post wrote, "Mary (Angelina Jolie) [is] 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 co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector (1999), an adaptation of a crime novel by Jeffery Deaver. Jolie played 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 mental patient Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted (1999), an adaptation of author Susanna Kaysen's 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, the 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 had been a welcome relief after the emotionally heavy role of Lisa Rowe. It became her highest-grossing movie to that point, earning $237 million internationally.
International success: 2001-2005Edit
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 video game, Jolie was required to learn an English 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 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 his mail-order bride 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 starred in Life or Something Like It as an ambitious television 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."
In 2004, Jolie starred alongside Ethan Hawke in the thriller Taking Lives. She portrayed 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 the angelfish Lola in the DreamWorks animated movie Shark Tale (2004), and had a brief appearance in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), a science fiction adventure film shot entirely with actors in front of a bluescreen. That same year, Jolie played Olympias in Alexander, about the life of Alexander the Great. The film failed domestically, which director Oliver Stone attributed to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, with revenue of $139 million outside the United States.
Jolie stated that she first became personally aware of worldwide humanitarian crises while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) in Cambodia. She contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for information on international trouble spots. To learn more about the conditions in these areas, Jolie began visiting refugee camps around the world. In February 2001, she went on her first field visit, an 18-day mission to Sierra Leone and Tanzania; she later expressed her shock at what she had witnessed. In the following months, she returned to Cambodia for two weeks and met with Afghan refugees in Pakistan. She covered all costs related to her missions and shared the same rudimentary working and living conditions as UNHCR field staff on all of her visits. Jolie was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on August 27, 2001.
Since then, Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 30 countries. Asked what she hoped to accomplish, she stated, "Awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon." Jolie aims to visit what she terms "forgotten emergencies," crises that media attention has shifted away from. She is noted for not shying away from traveling to areas that are at war: She visited the Darfur region of Sudan during the Darfur conflict in 2004; Pakistan with Brad Pitt to see the impact of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in 2005; Chad during its civil war in 2007; Iraq during the Second Gulf War in 2007 and 2009; Afghanistan during the ongoing war in 2008 and 2011; and Libya during the Libyan revolution in 2011.
After more than a decade of service as Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie was promoted to the rank of Special Envoy of High Commissioner António Guterres on April 17, 2012. As Special Envoy, she represents the UNHCR and High Commissioner António Guterres at the diplomatic level and works to facilitate long-term solutions for people displaced by large-scale crises, such as Afghanistan and Somalia. "This is an exceptional position reflecting an exceptional role she has played for us," said a UNHCR spokesman.
In addition to her work with the UNHCR, Jolie uses her public profile to promote humanitarian causes through the mass media. Her early field visits were chronicled in her book Notes from My Travels, which was published in conjunction with the release of her film Beyond Borders (2003). She filmed a 2005 MTV special, The Diary of Angelina Jolie & Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa, portraying her and noted economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs on a trip to a remote group of villages in Western Kenya. Jolie has also regularly released public service announcements promoting World Refugee Day and other causes.
Jolie has established several charitable organizations. In 2003, she founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, named the Maddox Jolie Project until 2007, which is dedicated to community development and environmental conservation in Cambodia's northwestern province Battambang. In 2006, she partnered with the Global Health Committee to establish the Maddox Chivan Children's Center, a daycare facility for children afflicted and affected by HIV in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. That same year, she and her partner Brad Pitt founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, to aid humanitarian causes worldwide. In 2007, Jolie and noted economist Dr. Gene Sperling founded the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which funds education programs for children affected by man-made or natural disasters. In 2008, she collaborated with the Microsoft Corporation to establish Kids in Need of Defense, a pro bono movement of law firms, corporate law departments, NGOs and volunteers committed to providing legal counsel to unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. In 2010, she established the Jolie Legal Fellows Programme, which recruits lawyers to support governmental child protection efforts in Haiti.
On July 31, 2005, King Norodom Sihamoni awarded Jolie Cambodian citizenship for her conservation work in the country. In 2007, Jolie received the Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). In 2011, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres presented Jolie with a gold pin reserved for the most long-serving staff, in recognition of her decade as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
|2007||A Place in Time|
|2011||In the Land of Blood and Honey|
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