How do you define success? How does one know when one has 'made it'? In Hollywood, winning five consecutive People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture Actress might do it1. By another definition of success, being the highest paid actress in Hollywood surely means something2.
What happens when you broaden your horizons though? Or to rephrase the question- what price, success? When a team of Bulgarian archeologists unearthed a 9,000 year old skeleton, Europe's oldest, the first thing they noticed was its perfect, shiny teeth. They named their find "Julia Roberts" after Hollywood's darling, America's Pretty Woman.
Julia Fiona Roberts
She was born on October 28th, 1967 in Atlanta, Georgia to Walter and Betty-Lou Roberts. She grew up in Smyrna, Georgia with her older brother Eric and sister Lisa. When her parents divorced in 1972 she and her sister Lisa lived with Betty-Lou in Smyrna while Eric went to live with their father in Atlanta. Her father would die, of cancer, when she was just nine years old.
Her story as a young girl is like so many other's. She grew up with a love for animals and planned on becoming a veterinarian. She worked as a counselor in a summer camp owned by her uncle. She was teased in school for her, now, trademark smile and relative height. As is true for so many other children, her "faults" would turn out to be anything but.
Upon graduation from Campbell High School she followed her brother and sister to New York where she enrolled in theatre school. Her work at odd jobs like Baskin-Robbins would come to an end when she signed on with Click modeling agency. From there it was a short step to her first film roles in Mystic Pizza and a film her brother helped her land, Blood Red. While Blood Red didn't exactly blow them away at the box office, it got her attention in Hollywood and more roles would follow.
Julia in -
While her part in Blood Red alongside Dennis Hopper was no great commercial success, her roles in Mystic Pizza and Satisfaction would put her on Hollywood's radar. One year later she played the part of Shelby in Steel Magnolias alongside such veterans as Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton and Darryl Hannah. For her part in this film she would earn her first Oscar nomination. This role would endear her to the American public and lead to her most famous part ever, that of Vivian 'Viv' Ward in Pretty Woman.
While Pretty Woman was her biggest commercial success, both domestically and overseas, it was only the beginning. That same year she starred in Flatliners with Kiefer Sutherland. The next year saw her headlining in Sleeping with the Enemy, Dying Young and Hook, all of which faired well at the box office. Following a two year hiatus she would return to the big screen with The Pelican Brief and work non-stop through the 90s and right up to the birth of her children and her latest film Closer.
While she has had a few films that "failed" at the box office (Mary Reilly, a film for which she would earn $10 million, a record for an actress up to then) it would be her return to romantic comedies that would lead to her superstar status of today. Following the hits My Best Friend's Wedding, Conspiracy Theory and Notting Hill she became the first actress to earn $20 million dollars for a film, for her part in Erin Brockovich. This film would also earn her her third Academy Award nomination and first Oscar. Her complete filmography is listed below.
Julia and -
Merits of the system aside, the truth is, Hollywood is a big part of American culture. To rise to the level that Julia has comes with its trade-offs. The first of those trade-offs is that your career is only part of what makes you newsworthy. Your wardrobe, your social life, your work in charities or other venues and last but certainly not least, your love life - all of these are fodder for trade mags, gossip columns and even "straight" news.
Tell me who you love, and I will tell you who you are
Who better to understand an actress than an actor? Julia's first Hollywood romance consisted of behind the scenes rumors concerning Liam Neeson, with whom she filmed Satisfaction. A year later, all of the buzz was Dylan McDermott, her fiancé and co-star in Steel Magnolias. Alas, Dylan was not the one. Neither was Kiefer Sutherland, her co-star in Flatliners, who would leave his wife and children in order to move in with her. They announced their engagement in August of 1990 and had the wedding date set for June of 1991, when she discovered he was having an affair with Amanda Rice.
Her first marriage came in 1993, to country singer Lyle Lovett, following a very brief courtship. They would be married 21 months, divorcing in March of 1995. It was an amicable split by all accounts. Next in her string of public romances came Benjamin Bratt with whom she had a four year relationship, giving gossips something to write about and tens of thousands of women someone to envy. It, too, ended well, but ended nonetheless when in 2001 they announced their split. "OK, here's the thing: I love Benjamin. He's a good man, he's a fine man. He is, to the exultation of the female single population, not my man anymore," she reported.
So maybe it isn't actors who know an actress best. Maybe it is... cameramen? During the filming of the The Mexican she met Daniel Moder. While rumors circulated it was not until December of 2001 that they were photographed together. Seven months later they were married in a midnight ceremony at Julia's ranch in Taos, New Mexico. On Sunday, November 28th, 2004 Julia gave birth to twins Hazel Patricia Moder and Phinnaeus Walter Moder. Born six weeks early, Julia and the twins would stay in the hospital for eight days before heading home.
After finishing the filming of Closer and giving birth to twins Julia has announced that she is taking time off from movies, indefinitely. In a recent interview she put it thus, "The script will have to blow me away. The babies will be a great factor, like anything that makes your life more interesting and more enjoyable. Scripts will have to continue to compete with the quality of my life."
Mona Lisa Smile
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
(2000) - Oscar, Best Actress; BAFTA
, Best Performance by an actress; Blockbuster Entertainment Award
, Best Actress; Golden Globe
, Best Leading Actress; Screen Actor's Guild Award
(1999) - Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Best Actress nomination
(1999) - Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Best Actress nomination; Golden Globe, Best Leading Actress nomination
(1998) - Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Best Actress
(1997) - Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Best Actress
My Best Friend's Wedding
(1997) - BAFTA nomination; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Best Actress; Golden Globe, Best Leading Actress nomination
Everyone Says I Love You
Something to Talk About
I Love Trouble
The Pelican Brief
Sleeping with the Enemy
(1990) - Oscar nomination; Golden Globe, Best Leading Actress
(1989) - Oscar nomination; Golden Globe, Best Leading Actress
(1988) - Independent Spirit Award
- Changed her name from Julie to Julia when she applied for a SAG card and found there was another SAG member already named Julie Roberts.
- Turned down the lead in Shakespeare in Love
- Fan of actress Aishwarya Rai, whom she described as being unassumingly beautiful.
- Turned down the lead in Basic Instinct
- Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world seven times, which is a record.
- She was the first female ever featured on the cover of GQ
- Turned down the lead in Sleepless in Seattle
- For her role in Erin Brokovich she was ranked #31 on the American Film Institute's Heroes list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
- When she is nervous, her left eye will fill with tears4.
- One of her hobbies is knitting, which she reportedly engages in between takes.
- She is a vegetarian.
I am not a fan of Hollywood and do not usually bother with any of its products, theatre or purchase of DVD or VHS. That said, I do not believe every film is a failure, I am just unwilling to see all of them to find the few that are worth watching. I feel much the same about Hollywood's actors and actresses. Many of them are famous for who they are, as opposed to their abilities on screen. My first definition of an actor or actress is "they make me forget I'm watching them." Julia is one such actress. From part to part her appearance may not change at all, yet while I am watching her I forget who she is. I've seen Pretty Woman half a dozen times or so on HBO, I'll see it again I'm sure. That goes for many of her other films. She is engaging, and if a movie's prime function is to distract you from reality for a spell she is certainly one of the best spellcasters in Hollywood.
1. 2000-2004, She also won four other People's Choice Awards in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1998.
2. Aside from individual paychecks noted in the write up she was still the highest paid actress as of the Summer of 2004. It is estimated that she has grossed over $2.3 billion. For individual film pay she is followed closely by Cameron Diaz.
3. A complete list of her work may be found at imdb.com. A complete list of her awards may be found at aboutjulia.com.
4. (r) 2004.12.10@1:25 rootbeer277 says re Julia Roberts: Could you rephrase "When she is nervous, she tears out of her left eye"? It gives me a disturbing image of her tearing her eyeball out of its socket.
you said "For you? Absolutely :)" to rootbeer277 (sent to 1 noder)