Accredited for her outstanding performances as an actress in Hollywood, Natalie Portman has warmed the screens of many and melted their hearts with her amazing abilities as an actress. She is known to have conquered the film industry, receiving numerous awards for her amazing performances and having equally shown her mettle in almost everything she does including her education. She embraces each and every one of her characters and delivers tremendously well. This has earned her many awards including Golden Globes and Teen Choice Awards.
Born in Jerusalem, Natalie Portman was granted the name Neta-Lee Hershlag by her parents, a Jewish name. Her father, Avner Hershlag, who is of Israeli descent, is a gynecologist and fertility specialist. Her mother, who is an American and Portman’s agent goes by the name Shelley (née Stevens). Natalie is her parent’s only child. At the age of three, Natalie and her family moved to Washington D.C. They later relocated to Connecticut in 1988, but moved to Long Island, Jericho in New York in 1990.
She has dual citizenship for both America and Israel and she claims that even though she lives in America, Jerusalem is where her heart feels most at home. Natalie has always attracted others with her talent, and at the age of eleven, while working at a local pizza parlor, she was discovered. A Revlon representative approached her and asked her to consider a career in modelling. She decided that working as a model was not where her heart was, so she decided to pursue an acting career instead. That was where it all began for Natalie.
Aside from being a great actress, Natalie Portman is able to speak more than one language. While attending a Jewish elementary school in Long Island, Natalie learnt how to speak in Hebrew. She is also known to be conversant in the languages French, German, Japanese and Arabic. She is also very talented as a dancer and was enrolled at an American Theatre Dance Workshop where she learnt ballet and modern dance.
Most of her childhood life was busy and she started acting as soon as she turned down the Revlon offer to become a model. Even though she appeared in a few local productions while working with the Usdan Theatre Arts Camp, her film debut was in 1994. She featured in Luc Besson’s 1994 film The Professional, where she played the role of a middle aged hitman’s apprentice. This is the film that put Natalie in the spotlight. She then decided to change her last name from Hershlag to Portman, which was her grandmother’s maiden name. She did it to protect her family’s identity and so that she could enjoy some privacy in her life.
Natalie Portman’s successful career budded at a very tender age and it was her debut in the film The Professional that pushed her into the arms of the acting industry. She was able to show very early on in her career that she was in it to win it. Her roles as an actress portrayed her as so many characters that she fit into perfectly; showing just how good of an actress she was. In the mid-90s, Natalie was able to play lighter films like the sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks. She was also able to play a role in the movie Everyone Says I Love You. She also played the role of Al Pacino’s daughter in Heat.
The movie that she played the best character in was the small film Beautiful Girls, in which she played the role of a budding teenager. She was able to wow her audience in that role and it opened her up to roles where she played a sexualized young woman. In fact, she was the first choice for the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, only her producers felt that she was not of suitable age to play that role. She turned down the role of Lolita and took a break from the screen.
In 1997, she was on Broadway, playing the title role of Anne Frank in the adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. It was also in the year 1997 that Natalie Portman played the character Padme Amidala in the Star Wars trilogy prequel. Sadly she had to miss the premier of the movie because she was studying for her senior year exams for high school. She decided not to do any more acting except for the Star Wars prequels for four years so that she could focus on her studies at Harvard, where she was enrolled to study psychology. She graduated with honors from the university, with her Bachelor’s Degree in the year 2003.
In 1999, she returned to film, playing Queen Amidala in the first Star Wars prequel. It was this role in George Lucas’ film that earned her the international recognition by the many Star Wars fans all around the world. Cast alongside Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman delivered an amazing performance in the movie Anywhere but Here, which was a screen version of Mona Simpson’s novel of the same name. In the year 2000, she took on a more mature role in the film Where the Heart Is.
In the year 2001, Natalie played a role in the production of Chekhov’s The Seagull which was directed by Mike Nichols. Like many other celebrities, Natalie Portman played a cameo role in the comedy movie Zoolander (2001). She also played a small role in the film Cold Mountain. In the year 2004, she starred in Garden State, a romantic comedy, but it was her stunning performance in Mike Nichols’ Closer that earned her a Golden Globe award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’.
Natalie, known to embrace the comedian part of her personality, hosted SNL (Saturday Night Live) on March 4, 2006, where she portrayed herself as an angry gangster rapper with funny faux interviews where she said that she had cheated on exams while high on drugs. In the same year, Natalie portrayed the role of Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta, mustering a brilliant British accent. The movie was a role she wanted to do because she could relate with political talk from a young age. Natalie also acted in a children’s film Mr Magorium’s Wonder Eporium which was released in the year 2007.
Natalie Portman is a great producer – she was an executive producer for the films The Other Woman, No Strings Attached, The Seventh Fire and many other movies. Some of these movies include Hesher and A Tale of Love and Darkness. She has also been involved in the post production of the films Annihilation and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
In 2011, she won the Golden Globe award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role’. She also won the Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’.
Natalie Portman is married to Benjamin Millepied who is a French dancer and choreographer. They got married in the year 2012 and have a son together, Aleph Portman-Millepied. The two of them met while Natalie was starring in the movie Black Swan. He was the choreographer for the movie. Natalie is currently heavily pregnant with their second born, announcing the news in September 2016. They have been living in Paris since November of 2016 but Natalie feels like she is not totally at home except when in Jerusalem.
Since her debut in acting, Natalie has gained a wide fan base and according to IMDb, she is number one on the list for ‘Most Popular People Born in Israel’. She was also voted the Sexiest Woman in 2011 on Fandango.com by the male participants of that survey.
Natalie Portman has appeared on plenty of red carpet events and has even been declared Best Dressed at the SAG Awards 2017. She has been attending such events since she was a teenager and has dazzled over and over again. No one can walk the red carpet with as much ease as she can.
The Black Swan star has chosen to stay away from social media platforms and keep her life as private as she can.
When she was only eight-years old, Natalie decided to become a vegetarian after she witnessed laser surgery on a chicken during a medical conference with her father. She later, after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, became a vegan. When she was pregnant, she went back to her vegetarian diet but went right back to being a vegan after she gave birth. She also wears no fur or skin products from animals.
To support her antipoverty activities, in 2004 to 2005 she travelled to Ecuador and Uganda as the representative for Hope for FINCA International, to finance businesses owned in developing countries. She is passionate about helping people in third world countries and that has gained her trust and popularity among the masses.
Portman is an open supporter of the Democratic Party, even campaigning for Senator John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race. She has also been known to have supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic preliminaries. Later, she campaigned for Senator Barrack Obama in Illinois during the elections.
The beautiful Natalie Portman has not only turned heads of people watching her on screen. She has been involved in a few relationships that have made it into the public eye. She dated Devendra Banhart after she starred in the song ‘Carmensista’. The relationship ended in September 2008. Afterwards she dated her now-husband, Benjamin Millepied. They announced their engagement in December 2010 and confirmed that they were pregnant. They had a quiet Jewish wedding on August 4, 2012. In 2006, Portman said that she had been raised Jewish and would also raise her children Jewish.
Passionate about her acting, Natalie Portman went on to lose 20 pounds so that she could prepare for the role in Black Swan. She also engaged in rigorous training that lasted eight hours a day for six months. Although she spent plenty of time on perfecting of the role, Natalie Portman’s body double claimed that Natalie only did about five percent of the dancing in Black Swan. The body double also claimed that she was asked not to talk about that in the period leading up to the Oscar nomination. Either way, Natalie is said to have given a splendid performance in Black Swan and it earned her a lot of appraisal by many actors across the spectrum.
Written by: Emily Smith