George Clooney was, for long, Hollywood’s sexiest bachelor. Now, proving that anyone can change and never say never, he walks beside his successful wife Amal, and tries to make the world a better place, while still enjoying working as an actor, producer and director of films that never go unnoticed.
George Timothy Clooney, as is his full name, was born in Lexington in Kentucky, USA. His father Nick was a former anchorman and game show host, and his mother Nina, was a beauty queen and a city councilwoman. Clooney also has an older sister Adelia. They are of Irish, German and English ancestry.
Clooney has some famous ancestors – his roots can be traced back Abraham Lincoln, his aunt was Rosemary Clooney, the famous singer and actress, and his uncle the actor José Ferrer.
Clooney’s parents raised their children to be Roman Catholic, but Clooney didn’t grow up to be religious. As a boy, however, he served as an altar boy. When he was in middle school, he developed Bell’s palsy, a condition that partially paralyzed the face, which stayed with him for a year. At school, he was a good boy, earning high grades and playing both baseball and basketball, and he even tried out for a position on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, but he didn’t pass the audition. Then, he went on to attend Northern Kentucky University, majoring in broadcast journalism, as well as the University of Cincinnati, but he ended not graduating from either of those two. ‘I did not attend a private boys’ school, I worked in tobacco fields and in stock rooms, and construction sites. I’ve been broke more of my life than I have been successful, and I understand the meaning of being an employee and how difficult it is to make ends meet.’’, he says about his early life. ‘’In college, I basically partied a lot. I was still a responsible kid, but I didn’t take school seriously. I had jobs. I was paying for my own thing along the way. But I quit school.’
When the television mini-series Centennial got filmed in Clooney’s hometown in 1978, he appeared in it as an extra. Then, in 1984, he starred in a sitcom E/R, the show that was named the same as the one that will make him famous ten years later. He moved to LA and got small roles in shows like The Facts of Life, The Golden Girls, Roseanne, Baby Talk, Bodies of Evidence and Sisters. In 1988, Clooney got a role in the film Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Throughout this time he studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse acting school. ‘When I first started out in television, I took any job that came along. I was, let’s just get a job, any job. I fought to get ER and I got it and it changed my life. Then, when I started doing movies, the same thing happened. At first, I did anything that I could get.’’, he says. ‘’In your 20s, you figure out what it is you’re going to be. You do a lot of different jobs. By your late 20s, you sort of have some idea of what it is. Then you spend your 30s and a lot of your 40s making your mark. You spend your 50s being able to reap the benefits of the work that you’ve done.’
The role he got in the medical drama ER, of Dr. Doug Ross, changed the game completely for Clooney, opening the doors to Hollywood to him, and making him known not only in the US, but also worldwide.
Clooney was the cast member of ER for five years, from 1994 to 1999, but he did return to the series making a guest appearance when needed. He was nominated for awards for his role numerous times. ‘’Had I not got the Thursday night ten o’clock slot at ER, if they’d put us on Friday night, then I wouldn’t have a film career. That’s luck, not my own genius, though I like to think it was.’’, he said about the success of the series.
While he was working on the series, he shot two films that were important to his career and that got him a critical acclaim. The first was From Dusk till Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriguez, and the second was One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer. Then he went on to shoot The Peacemaker with Nicole Kidman, and was cast as Batman in Batman & Robin. This role, however, was considered to be the worst one of his career and Clooney himself says that he keeps on ‘apologizing for Batman’ In 1998, he appeared in Out of Sight, then Three Kings, The Perfect Storm in 2000 and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. In 2001, he shot Ocean’s Eleven which proved to be one of his most successful films, and was made into sequels Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, where Clooney again repeated his roles.
In 2001, Clooney and his colleague, friend, and frequent director Steven Soderbergh founded their own production house, Section Eight Productions. In 2002, with its help, Clooney directed his first film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. ‘An acting career usually has about a shelf life of ten years before people get sick of seeing you. It’s a good thing to have a job to fall back on and I really do enjoy directing’, he says. He also started a production company Smokehouse Pictures with a fellow actor, Grant Heslov.
In 2005, Clooney starred in Syriana which brought him an Oscar for the Best Supporting Actor. That same year, he directed, produced and starred in Good Night, and Good Luck. He also got an Academy nomination for Best Director and the film got a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Then, Clooney shot The Good German and Michael Clayton the next year, which got him nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Then, Clooney directed and starred in Leatherheads. The dispute over screenwriting credits on the film got Clooney to downgrade to a financial core status non-member of the Writers Guild of America.
Then, Clooney shot The Men Who Stare at Goats, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Up in the Air which got him nominated for numerous awards again. In 2010, he appeared in The American, then The Descendants which brought him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and another Academy Award nomination. In 2013, he starred in The Ides of March and was highly awarded once again. In 2013, Clooney welcomed another Academy Award, this time for producing the winner of the Best Picture, Argo. This made Clooney the only person in the history of the awards to be nominated in six different categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay.
That same year, he appeared in Gravity, then The Monuments Men and Tomorrowland and A Very Murray Christmas, as well as Hail, Caesar!, and Money Monster. He is currently directing Suburbicon, and continues to work as a producer on different projects, preparing the all-female sequel of Ocean’s Eleven – titled Ocean’s Eight.
George Clooney has the image as one of the sexiest actors of Hollywood, but he is also, at the same time, highly respected for all of his work. He is the kind of a man that is not shy to express his own opinion on serious matters, and he tries to help wherever he can.
When it comes to politics, Clooney is a democrat, and he was a supporter of Barack Obama’s campaigns and Hilary Clinton’s campaign for the 2016 presidential election. He also supports gay rights and is quite active when it comes to charity work. He works with Not On Your Watch Project, an organization that works on stopping and preventing mass atrocities. He traveled to Goz Beida, Chad and organized Hope for Haiti Now. In 2012, he appeared in a play 8 along with Brat Pitt and Martin Sheen, which was broadcast on Youtube in order to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. In 2012, he offered to take an auction winner out to lunch for the benefit of the GLSEN organization. ‘’You don’t want to be a spokesperson unless you are absolutely committed to a cause because you can hurt it. I’ve been asked to help represent environmental groups. I’m a big proponent of cleaning up the environment. I have two electric cars. But I also have a big weak spot because I’ve flown on private jets’’, he says.
Clooney has also advocated a resolution of the Darfur conflict. He made a TV special A Journey to Darfur, which was broadcasted in the USA, UK and France. He also narrated and produced Darfur Now. He was also one of the people to initiate the Satellite Sentinel Project, which aims to monitor armed activity between Sudan and South Sudan. In 2012, Clooney got arrested outside the Soudanese Embassy for civil disobedience.
Clooney also supports the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and is one of the chief associates of the 100 Lives Initiative. The Initiative launched the Aurora Prize, awarding those who risk lives to prevent genocides and atrocities. He is also doing his best to help the Syrian refugees, by using his public image to draw attention to their troubles.
Clooney has also been the face for brands such as Fiat, Nespresso and Martini vermouth. He was also parodied, to his delight, in South Park, and he collaborated with the series on a number of occasions. There is also a film titled Convincing Clooney, about an artist who tries to get Clooney to start in his debut low-budget film.
Clooney doesn’t like to share much about his personal life. ‘It wouldn’t be personal if I shared it’, he says. But, he had a reputation for being Hollywood’s most desired bachelor for years.
From 1987 to 1989, Clooney dated the actress Kelly Preston, who is now the wife of John Travolta. When they were together, Kelly gave him a pet pig as a present – Max, who lived till 2006. Then, in 1989, he married Talia Balsam, also a colleague, but he couple divorced four years later and Clooney promised never to get married again.
Then, Clooney went on to date numerous celebrities, like Ginger Lynn Allen, Céline Balitran, Lisa Snowdon, René Zellweger, Krista Allen, Sarah Larson – with whom he got into a motorcycle accident when a car hit them, then Elisabetta Canalis and Stacy Keibler.
In 2014, much to the shock of the world’s female population, Clooney announced he was engaged to Amal Alamuddin, a British – Lebanese human rights lawyer. It was apparent Amal changed him completely. The couple got married that same year. ‘At 52 I found the love of my life, I’ve never been happier in a relationship by any stretch of the imagination. Oftentimes, I feel like an idiot talking to my own wife’, he says. In February 2017, it was told that Amal was pregnant, expecting twins with Clooney, who will become a father for the first time.
Clooney keeps grounded by spending quality time with his friends. ‘I’ve got eight buddies: The Boys. They’ve been my friends for 20 years. Every Sunday we ride motorcycles and play basketball together. For Christmas this year, the boys came out and there were new bikes sitting out there – new Indians for each of them. The best part of having money is sharing it with your buddies. I lived on their closet floors when I was broke and they had money and were working. They’ve been through this whole ride with me.’
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic