Director, Producer, Film Actress
Angelina Jolie is one of Hollywood’s leading actresses, known for movies like ‘Salt’ and ‘Maleficent’ as much as she is for her relationship with actor Brad Pitt.
Born in Los Angeles, California, on June 4, 1975, Angelina Jolie starred in the HBO biopic Gia before earning an Academy Award for best supporting actress for Girl, Interrupted. Jolie has become one of Hollywood’s top marquee names, having starred in movies like Wanted, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Salt and Changeling, earning her first lead actress Oscar nod for the latter. Jolie later had a huge international blockbuster with Disney’s Maleficent, in which she both starred and executive produced. She’s also directed the films In the Land of Blood and Honey, Unbroken and By the Sea, and is married to fellow actor Brad Pitt.
Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie Voight was born on June 4, 1975, in Los Angeles, California, to actor Jon Voight and actress Marcheline Bertrand. She rose to stardom in the 1990s. She began acting at a young age, studying at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute while in her early teens. Jolie later attended New York University.
In the 1990s, Angelina Jolie became a popular actress. She gave a star-making performance in the 1998 television film Gia based on the short, tragic life of model Gia Marie Carangi. Jolie won a best actress Golden Globe for the role.
Another great dramatic role in Girl, Interrupted (1999) brought Jolie her first Academy Award (for best supporting actress). In the new millennium she continued to take on a variety of interesting roles, such as an adventurer in the Lara Croft films (2001 and 2003), a FBI profiler in Taking Lives (2004), an assassin in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) and a neglected, troubled socialite wife in The Good Shepherd (2006). Jolie also embraced the word of sci-fi/fantasy with her roles as a squadron commander in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) and a vengeful, monstrous mother in Beowulf (2007).
In 2007, Jolie gave a brilliant performance as Mariane Pearl, the pregnant widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, in A Mighty Heart. The film was based on Mariane’s account of her husband’s abduction and murder.
A devoted humanitarian, Angelina Jolie was made a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2001. She has made headlines for her work to obtain aid for refugees in Cambodia, Darfur and Jordan, to name just a few.
In 2005, Jolie received the Global Humanitarian Action Award from the United Nations Association of the USA for her activism on behalf of refugee rights. She has continued to draw attention to global issues.
‘Maleficent’ and Directorial Projects
In 2008, after lending her voice to the animated comedy Kung Fu Panda and portraying an assassin in Wanted, Jolie appeared in the Clint Eastwood-directed thriller Changeling. Jolie played Christine Collins, a mother whose son reappears after his kidnapping. Collins is sure the returned boy is not the one to whom she gave birth, and her fight reveals a police conspiracy. In 2009, Jolie received her first Oscar nomination for best actress for her role in the film.
Jolie went on to earn the lead role in the action-packed Salt (2010), about a CIA agent, Evelyn Salt, who is on the run after being accused of being a Russian spy. That same year, she played the mysterious Elise Clifton-Ward in the espionage flick The Tourist alongside Johnny Depp.
In 2014, the actress enjoyed the rewards of shaping a major blockbuster, both starring in and executive producing Disney’s Maleficent. Jolie portrayed the sorceress title character, with the film taking on a woman-centered revisionist approach to the main villain from the animated classic Sleeping Beauty (1959). With U.S. critics divided on the Maleficent’s merits, the project nonetheless worked box office magic, earning around $240 million domestically and an additional $517 million overseas.
Jolie has also begun to hone her craft as a director. She made her feature-length directorial debut with 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey, looking at a relationship horribly damaged by the Bosnian War. This was followed by 2014’s Unbroken, a biopic that told the story of Olympian Louis Zamperini’s survival in a Japanese POW camp. The film was based on the bestselling Laura Hillenbrand book of the same name and earned more than $163 million worldwide. The following year Jolie co-starred with Pitt in the art film By the Sea, a slowly-paced Mediterranean tale set in the 1970s about a married couple and the tensions of their relationship.
Personal Life and Health
Famous for her off-screen romances, Jolie has been married three times. She married Hackers co-star Jonny Lee Miller in 1995. The couple divorced in 1999. The following year, Jolie married Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton. That union lasted until 2003. Jolie met her next romantic partner, actor Brad Pitt, during the making of Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004.
In 2002, Jolie adopted a son from Cambodia and named him Maddox. Three years later, she adopted a daughter, Zahara. In 2005, Pitt filed paperwork to adopt both of Jolie’s children. The couple’s first biological daughter, Shiloh, was born in Namibia in 2006. Jolie, Pitt and their children had traveled there to avoid the media frenzy that seemed to follow them wherever they went.
In March 2007, Angelina Jolie added a new member to her family. She adopted a 3-year-old boy from a Vietnamese orphanage and named him Pax Thien. Jolie then gave birth to twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, on July 12, 2008, in a seaside hospital in southern France. The rights for the first images of the twins were sold to People and Hello! magazines for $14 million—making them the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken.
After the joy of welcoming her third child, Shiloh, into the world came great sadness for Jolie. She experienced a great personal loss in early 2007, when her mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56 after fighting the disease for many years. Her grandmother also died from cancer.
In May 2013, 37-year-old Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed article titled “My Medical Choice” that she underwent a double mastectomy in an effort to prevent breast cancer in the future. The actress said she decided to undergo the surgery after learning that she carries a gene known as BRCA1, which increases the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie stated. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could.” By late April 2013, Jolie added, she had completed several months of medical procedures, including a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in California.
Pitt and Jolie became engaged in 2012. Slipping under the paparazzi radar, they quietly tied the knot in a private ceremony surrounded by their family and friends on August 23, 2014 in France.
On March 24, 2015, Jolie wrote in another article in the New York Times that she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed the previous week to further lower her risk for cancer. “I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this,” Jolie wrote. “A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery. I have spoken to many doctors, surgeons and naturopaths. There are other options. Some women take birth control pills or rely on alternative medicines combined with frequent checks. There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally.”
The actress said she went public with her decision to help “other women at risk to know about the options.”