About Natalie Portman
By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor
Natalie Portman (real name Natalie Hershlag) was born on June 9,
1981 in Jerusalem, Israel. She is an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe
Award-winning Israeli-American actress. Natalie spent her school holidays
attending theater camps where she developed her love of acting. After some
experience in an off-Broadway musical, she was cast in Leon (released in North
America as The Professional) at age twelve. People in high places took notice of
this young girls abilities.
Her father, Avner Hershlag, is an Israeli medical doctor specializing in the
research and treatment of human fertility and reproduction. Her mother, Shelley
Stevens, is a Jewish American artist who now works as her agent.
During the mid-1990s, Natalie had small roles in films such as Everyone Says I
Love You and Mars Attacks!, as well as having a major role in Beautiful Girls.
She always placed a priority on education and pursued her education even when it
conflicted with her acting career. She somehow made it work.
In the late 1990s, Natalie Portman was cast as Queen Amidala in
the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Other roles include Anywhere But Here, Garden
State, Closer, and V for Vendetta. For Closer, Natalie Portman received a Golden
Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Her parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University, where her
mother was selling tickets. Natalie Portman's father returned to Israel, but the
two corresponded and were married when her mother visited Israel a few years
When Natalie Portman was three years old, her family moved from Israel to her
mother's native United States, where her father pursued his medical training.
The family lived in Washington, D.C. in 1984 and then Connecticut in 1988,
before finally settling down in Syosset, New York in 1990. Portman is an only
child and very close to her parents, who were often seen with her at movie
premieres; her mother always accompanied pre-adult Portman to movie shoot
Natalie appeared in Heat (1995, with Al Pacino) and Mars Attacks
(1996, with Jack Nicholson). Her talent landed her in Woody Allen's movie
Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and on Broadway starring as Anne Frank in a 1997
revival of The Diary of Anne Frank. She then had a very high-profile role as
Queen Amidala in the George Lucas film Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) and
Portman began undergraduate studies at Harvard University; she
graduated in 2003. More of her films include the Star Wars sequels Attack of the
Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), the Zach Braff feature Garden
State (2004), the adult drama Closer (2004, with Clive Owen), V for Vendetta
(2005, based on the comic book by Alan Moore), Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
(2007, starring Dustin Hoffman), and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008, with Portman
as Queen Anne Boleyn). Then at age 29, she won an Oscar in Darren Aronofsky's
psychodrama Black Swan.
Over the years, Portman has been romantically linked to a number
of Hollywood's biggest actors including "Closer" co-star Jude Law (in 2007),
Sean Penn (in 2009) and even musician Moby (2001). She's also been seen with
Gael Garcia Bernal on several occasions, as well as Jake Gyllenhaal and "Love
Actually" actor Rodrigo Santoro.
Today, Portman and Benjamin Millepied are a couple. They met on
the set of "Black Swan," where he worked as Portman's choreographer and
on-screen dance partner in the ballet film. They began dating in early 2010 and
surprised everyone when they announced their plans to marry and their plans to
have a baby.
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