Since bursting on to the scene as a child in The Horse Whisperer, and certifying her talent at 19 with the critically lauded Lost in Translation, Scarlett Johansson has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most versatile stars. Recognized as a sex symbol worldwide, ‘ScarJo’, as she is referred to by fans, is currently the highest-grossing actress in the history of the film industry.
Scarlett Ingrid Johansson was born in New York City to Karsten Johansson an architect, and Melanie Sloan, a producer. Through her father’s lineage, Johansson can trace her roots to Copenhagen, Denmark, where her father was originally born. On her mother’s side, Ashkenazi Jewish, her ancestry dates back to Minsk and Poland during the Russian Empire. Her older sister Vanessa is also an actress, as is her twin brother Adrian. Scarlett also has an older half-brother through her father Karsten’s first marriage.
As a young child growing up in New York, the Johansson household was working class, with Scarlett and her twin brother enrolled at elementary school in the Greenwich village area of Manhattan. Johansson entered the arts at the Professional Children’s School, and soon began auditioning for commercials, eventually landing a role opposite John Ritter as his daughter in the 1994 fantasy/comedy North. She followed up the role by appearing in minor roles in the film Just Cause (1995) with Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw, and If Lucy Fell the following year. Her next role as Amanda in Manny & Lo earned her critical acclaim and a nomination as Best Lead Female at the Independent Spirit Awards, which raised her profile in the industry. After continuing to work in minor roles in Home Alone 3 (1997), Johansson appeared in The Horse Whisperer opposite Robert Redford and again received critical acclaim, including a nomination for Most Promising Actress by the Chicago Film Critics Association. In 2001 she had her breakout role in the film Ghost World, which many consider one of her finest roles as a minor. In 2002, Scarlett graduated from the Professional Children’s School and began to make her mark as an adult actress.
In 2003, Johansson made the leap to adult films in a big way with two distinct roles. The first was opposite Bill Murray in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, playing a curious and young wife. The role garnered her a BAFTA Award at 18 years of age, and she also received nominations at the Golden Globe Awards and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Her next film, Girl With the Pearl Earring, was primarily a silent part, but showcased her dramatic acting chops and endeared her to critics, receiving a nomination for Best Actress in a Drama at the Golden Globe Awards the BAFTA Awards, the London Film Critics’ Circle, and the Phoenix Film Critics Society. By the next year, Johansson was considered a breakout star and was invited as a member to the Academy Awards in 2004. Another drama, A Love Song for Bobby Long, earned the actress her third Golden Globe Best Actress nomination.
In 2005, Scarlett Johansson partnered on screen with British actor Ewan McGregor for The Island, a science fiction film by director Michael Bay. Although it received mixed reviews, it expanded her career into the science fiction and action genres. Her next role, however, in Woody Allen’s Match Point, received stellar reviews, with Johansson receiving yet another Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. She starred with Hugh Jackman the next year in the film Scoop, again directed by Woody Allen. Later that year, she starred in The Black Dahlia, directed by Brian De Palma. Her next film was in director Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, acting alongside Christian Bale and again High Jackman. In 2008, Johansson appeared in The Other Boleyn Girl with Eric Bana and Natalie Portman, receiving mixed reviews in the period piece. Later that year, she starred in her third movie with Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, acting opposite Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. The film was a smash success, recognized by many critics as one of the best films of the year. She appeared in the ensemble film He’s Just Not That Into You with Drew Barrymore, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Connelly, and Kevin Connolly, which was a hit at the box office and recognized Johansson’s comedic chops.
2010 proved to be the year in which Johansson reached superstar status after signing on to appear in Marvel’s Iron Man 2 after Emily Blunt turned down the female action role of Natalia Romanova/Natasha Romanoff, aka ‘The Black Widow’. The film was a global success and increased Johansson’s popularity in the sci-fi realm. In 2011, she appeared alongside Matt Damon in We Bought a Zoo, which generated positive reviews.
Johansson announced in 2011 that she would be stepping behind the camera to film an adaptation of the novel Summer Crossing, written by Truman Capote. 2012 saw her returning to Marvel’s universe in The Avengers, which garnered positive reviews and became the third highest grossing movie of all time. In the summer of 2012, Johansson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, later that year, she starred as Janet Leigh in Hitchcock, a movie that focused on the making of Psycho in 1960. Her next role was alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon, which he also directed. The movie was screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was praised by critics after its wide release in the fall of that year.
Next, Johansson provided the voice for Samantha, a computer operating system, in the Spike Jonze-directed movie Her. In her next film, Under the Skin, Johansson received positive reviews and it is noted for its controversial decision to feature full frontal nudity. Johansson announced in October 2014 that she would both star in, and executive produce, the series The Custom of the Country, portraying Undine Spragg, based on the novel by Edith Wharton. That same year, she reprised her role as Black Widow in the 2014 sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, starring alongside Chris Evans as the titular character. Her science fiction collaboration with Luc Besson, Lucy, was a smash hit, raking in nearly half a billion dollars worldwide and solidifying her presence as a female action star. The next year, Johansson again appeared as Marvel character The Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which received critical praise and generated nearly a billion dollars in revenue globally. In 2016, she appeared as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War, and announced the upcoming film Ghost in the Shell, portraying The Major.
Known for her personality and great beauty, Scarlett Johansson frequently appears on the covers of magazines worldwide and in November 2006, she was named ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’ by Esquire. In 2007, Playboy named her the ‘Sexiest Celebrity’ and in 2010 she was named ‘Babe of the Year’ by GQ magazine. FHM magazine has featured Johansson on their list of 100 sexiest famous women since 2005.
Aside from her acting career, she is also a spokesperson for several brands, including Dolce & Gabbana and Sodastream, and is noted for her music ability as well, with two albums released: Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008) and Break Up (2009). Often referred to as ‘ScarJo’ in the press and by fans, she is notoriously reclusive, and one of the few Hollywood stars with no social media networks.
In September 2011, several celebrities were victims of a phone hack, including Johansson, with images of her nude being published online after her cell phone was infiltrated. After an FBI investigation into the crime, a man by the name of Christopher Chaney was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Johansson, who describes herself as Jewish, celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas a child, in deference to both her parents’ upbringing. As a student at the Professional Children’s School, she studied with many child stars, including Macauley Culkin. From 2004 to 2006, she was romantically involved with actor Josh Hartnett, with their busy careers blamed for the breakup.
The following year, Johansson was linked to another actor, Ryan Reynolds, and by May of 2008 the two had announced their engagement. The couple married in British Columbia on September 27, 2008 and moved together in a $3 million home near Los Angeles. At the end of 2010, they announced their separation, with the official divorce finalized in 2011. After her marriage to Reynolds, she was soon linked to Oscar winner Sean Penn, a short but highly publicized union that ended until June 2011.
From November 2012, Johansson began dating Romain Dauriac, a French advertising executive. The couple became engaged in September 0f 2013 and began living between New York City and Paris. On September 4, 2014, Johansson announced the birth of their daughter, Rose Dorothy Dauriac and the couple married soon thereafter on October 1, 2014 in Montana.
Written by: Triston Brewer