Julia Roberts (born Julie Fiona Roberts on October 28, 1967) is an Academy Award-winning American actress.
Julia Roberts shot to fame during the early 1990s after starring in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman opposite Richard Gere. Since then, Roberts has gone on to become the second highest-paid actress in the world (the first being Reese Witherspoon). Her impressive film career has also given her the title of most bankable actress in Hollywood, with box office receipts well over two billion dollars on the strength of numerous blockbusters such as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and Ocean's Eleven. She won the Best Actress Academy Award in 2000 for her critically praised turn as the title character in Erin Brockovich after two previous nominations during the 1990s.
Julia Roberts was also placed at the pinnacle of the Ulmer Scale, a comprehensive guide to the global star power of actors and directors in independent and studio films created by James Ulmer, ahead of such other luminaries as Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks. This was partly due to her ability to open a film based solely on her name above the title without the support of a male costar, something few other actresses are able to do.
Roberts is the first of four actresses (as of March 2006, the others are Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie) to join the coveted "$20 Million Club", when she signed to do Erin Brockovich for that amount. An unprecedented $25 million was paid to Roberts' for her role in 2003's Mona Lisa Smile. As of 2005, Roberts' net worth was over $250,000,000 (USD).
Julia Roberts was born in Smyrna, Georgia as Julie Fiona Roberts. Her father, Walter Grady Roberts, was a vacuum cleaner salesman, actor and writer of Irish, Scottish, Welsh extraction on behalf of his father, Walter Thomas Roberts, and English-Scottish descent on the part of his mother, Beatrice Beal. Julia's mother, Betty Lou Bredemus, a church secretary and actress, was born in Minneapolis in 1934, daughter of football player Wendell John Bredemus (whose mother Eleanor Johnson was born in Sweden) and Elizabeth Ellen Billingsley. Her parents divorced when she was five, and her mother remarried. Her father died of cancer when Roberts was nine. Her elder brother Eric Roberts, from whom she is estranged, is also an actor. So is her niece, Emma Roberts, whom she would often take along on sets when she was younger.
Roberts wanted to be a vet as a child, but soon after graduating from Smyrna's Campbell High School, she headed to New York to join her sister and pursue a career in acting. Once there she signed with Clicks modeling agency and enrolled in acting classes.
While Julia Roberts was pregnant with Julia, she and her husband taught acting to the children of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. As a thank-you for their service, Mrs. King paid the hospital bill when Mrs. Roberts gave birth to Julia.
Julia Roberts made her film debut playing a supporting role opposite her brother, Eric, in Blood Red (she gets just two words dialog), which although completed in 1986 was not released until 1989. Roberts first caught the attention of moviegoers with her performance in the film Mystic Pizza in 1988. The following year she was featured in Steel Magnolias as a young bride battling diabetes, garnering her first Oscar nomination (as Best Supporting Actress) for her performance. She catapulted to worldwide fame when she co-starred with Richard Gere in the Cinderella story Pretty Woman in 1990.
The role also earned her a second Oscar nod, this time as Best Actress. Her next box office success was the thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, playing a battered wife who escapes her demented husband and starts a new life in Iowa. She played Tinkerbell in Steven Spielberg's Hook in 1991, which was followed by a two-year period of no acting roles other than a cameo appearance in Robert Altman's The Player (1992). In early 1993, she was the subject of a People magazine cover story asking, "What Happened to Julia Roberts?"
Later that year, Julia Roberts co-starred with
Denzel Washington in the
successful The Pelican Brief, based on the John Grisham novel. For the next
few years, she starred in a series of films that were critical and
commercial failures, primarily because she was cast in roles that strayed
too far from her film persona. She broke her losing streak with the hugely
popular comedy My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), and eventually regained her
earlier reputation as an actress who could open a movie and guarantee box
office success. She also starred with
Hugh Grant in the hugely popular 1999
film Notting Hill.
In 2001, she won critical acclaim and finally received a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich, who helped wage a successful lawsuit against energy giant Pacific Gas & Electric. Her acceptance speech was one of the longest in Oscar history and became fodder for late-night comedians. At the same time, Roberts's win created a mild uproar in the film community for beating out Ellen Burstyn for her wrenching portrayal of Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream. Roberts's win over Burstyn is frequently cited as an example of the Academy's tendency to award popularity over artistic merit.
Julia will appear in a Broadway play starting in March 2006. The play is called Three Days of Rain.
As of January 2006, Julia Roberts' films have grossed 2.09 billion at the American Box Office making her the biggest female movie star in history.
Roberts' personal life has often been in the spotlight, a fact that served as the basis of her (1999) film Notting Hill, a romantic comedy about a famous actress falling for an ordinary guy played by Hugh Grant. Her character, Anna Scott, was said to be closely modeled on Roberts herself. (When asked in one scene how much she was paid to appear in a movie, Scott replies "fifteen million dollars" — precisely the amount Roberts had received to appear in Notting Hill.)
Julia Roberts was engaged to actor Kiefer Sutherland in 1991 but ended the relationship just days before the wedding. Julia ran off to Europe with Jason Patric, and the two were eventually a couple after she and Kiefer broke up. She later eloped with country and western singer Lyle Lovett shortly after meeting him. The ceremony was noted by her being barefoot. They divorced in 1995, ostensibly due to their respective career demands keeping them apart, but they still remain friends. Julia also briefly dated Friends star Matthew Perry and Daniel Day-Lewis. For a time she lived with actor Liam Neeson and dated Benjamin Bratt from 1998 to 2001.
Roberts met her husband, cameraman Danny Moder, on the set of her movie The Mexican in 2000. He was already married to Vera Steimberg Moder, but they eventually divorced. Julia and Danny were married on July 4, 2002, in Taos, New Mexico. On November 28, 2004, they became the parents of twins, daughter Hazel Patricia and son Phinnaeus Walter.
Julia Roberts bought a penthouse in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood. She reportedly loves to shop anonymously, buying her own organic greens on weekends at the market in nearby Union Square. She splits her time between her homes in New York City, Malibu, California, and a 50-acre (20 hectare) retreat in Taos, New Mexico.
Julia Roberts is reportedly a fan of the long-running soap opera Days of our Lives.
Roberts has a production company called Red Om Films ("Moder" spelled backwards; formerly "Shoelace Productions") and has given of her time and resources to UNICEF as well as to other charitable organizations. She has made trips to Haiti, India, and other countries promoting peace, goodwill, and help for others in need.
Julia Roberts has been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" a record-setting eight times.
Although, in 2005, Julia Roberts did not star in any movie due to family reasons, she is still Hollywood's highest-paid actress (next to Reese Witherspoon), bringing in 20,000,000 (USD) for each film.
Julia Roberts will star in "Three Days of Rain"(her Broadway debut) starting in March.
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