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Angelina Jolie: Get to Know the Hollywood Beauty Up Close

by Billy T. K.

Angelina Jolie, Angelina Jolie Biography

Everything you need to know about Angelina Jolie

Early Life

Angelina Jolie Voight was born in Los Angeles, California, to actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She has an older brother, who also went on to become an actor and a successful film producer. Jolie's father is of German and Slovak descent, and her mother has French Canadian, Dutch and German ancestry. Her parents got divorced when she was just five years old. Both Jolie and her brother lived with her mother after the divorce. Her mother had to sacrifice her acting career to focus on their upbringing. Her mother inspired her to take up acting.

When Jolie was six years old, her mother and her then live-in partner, filmmaker Bill Day, moved to Palisades, New York. Jolie enrolled herself at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York, where she studied acting for two years, during which she appeared in several stage productions. Jolie later attended Beverly Hills High School. As a teenager, she had a tough time mingling with her fellow students who were from affluent families, compared to her mother's modest income. She was often picked on for being too skinny, wearing glasses and braces.

Angelina Jolie

Troubled by this, she got herself transferred to an alternative school, Moreno High, where saw herself become an outsider. As a kid, Jolie found it difficult to connect with others and developed suicidal tendencies. She also suffered from insomnia and an eating disorder. She had also started experimenting with drugs. At age 20, she had pretty much tried every drug available and had developed an appetite for heroin. At 24 she suffered from a nervous breakdown and had to be admitted into UCLA Medical Centre's psychiatric ward.

Early career

Jolie got her first real taste of acting when she appeared in her brother's student films during his stint at the USC School of Cinema-Television. She later featured in several music videos, most notably Lenny Kravitz's “Stand By My Woman,” Meat Loaf's “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through,” The Lemonheads' “It's About Time,” and The Rolling Stones' “Anybody Seen My Baby?” Her professional film career began in 1993 when she got her first leading role in a sci-fi sequel film, Cyborg 2. Jolie's first Hollywood break came in 1994 when she was offered a role in the film Hackers. Although the film acquired a cult following after its video release, it bombed at the box office.  

Angelina Jolie Biography

Breakthrough performances

In 1997, Jolie's portrayal of Cornelia, the second wife of segregationist Alabama Governor, George Wallace, earned her a Golden Globe Award. Jolie also received an Emmy nomination for her role in the film. Her first breakthrough performance came in 1998, with her portrayal of the troubled supermodel, Gia. The HBO film earned her much critical praise and her second Golden Globe Award.  She later starred in Playing by Heart which earned her a Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Film Review. Jolie won her third Golden Globe in 1999, for a supporting role she played in Girl, Interrupted.

She played a sociopathic mental patient in the film. Jolie won her second Screen Actors Guild Award and her first Academy Award for her role. In 2000, Jolie appeared in her first summer Hollywood blockbuster film, Gone in 60 Seconds, raking in a cool $237 million at the box office. The film that catapulted her into international superstardom, however, was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, an adaptation of a popular video game, Tomb Raider.

The film grossed a whopping $274 million at the box office. With the success of Tomb Raider, Jolie soon established herself as one of Hollywood's top-paid female actress, earning $15-$20 million per film.  In 2005, Jolie starred opposite Brad Pitt in Mr.& Mrs. Smith. The film did well at the box office, earning $474 million worldwide. Mr. & Mrs. Smith remained Jolie's highest grossing live-action film for the next decade.


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