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Julia Roberts Bio
Julia Roberts (born October 28, 1967) is an American actress and producer. She became a Hollywood star after headlining the romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990), which grossed US$464 million worldwide. She has won three Golden Globe Awards (out of eight nominations), and has been nominated for four Academy Awards for her film acting, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Erin Brockovich (2000).
Her films Mystic Pizza (1988), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Hook (1991), The Pelican Brief (1993), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Notting Hill (1999), Runaway Bride (1999), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Ocean’s Twelve (2004), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Valentine’s Day (2010), Eat Pray Love (2010), and Mirror Mirror (2012) have collectively brought box office receipts of over US$2.6 billion, making her one of the most successful actresses in terms of box office receipts.
Roberts was the highest-paid actress in the world throughout the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s. Her fee for 1990’s Pretty Woman was US$300,000; in 2003, she was paid an unprecedented US$25 million for her role in Mona Lisa Smile (2003). As of 2010, Roberts’s net worth was estimated to be US$140 million. She has been named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” eleven times, tied with Halle Berry.
Roberts made her first big screen appearance in the film Satisfaction (1988), alongside Liam Neeson and Justine Bateman, as a band member looking for a summer gig. She had previously performed a small role opposite her brother, Eric, in Blood Red (she has two words of dialogue), filmed in 1987, although it was only released in 1989. Her first television appearance was as a juvenile rape victim in the initial season of the series Crime Story with Dennis Farina, in the episode titled “The Survivor”, broadcast on February 13, 1987. Her first critical success with moviegoers was her performance in the independent film Mystic Pizza in 1988; that same year, she had a role in the fourth season finale of Miami Vice. In 1989, she was featured in Steel Magnolias, as a young bride with diabetes, and received both her first Academy Award nomination (as Best Supporting Actress) and first Golden Globe Award win (Motion Picture Best Supporting Actress) for her performance.
Roberts became known to worldwide audiences when she starred with Richard Gere in the Cinderella/Pygmalionesque story, Pretty Woman, in 1990. Roberts won the role after Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Karen Allen, and Daryl Hannah (her co-star in Steel Magnolias) turned it down. The role also earned her a second Oscar nomination, this time as Best Actress, and second Golden Globe Award win, as Motion Picture Best Actress (Musical or Comedy). Her next box office success was the thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, playing a battered wife who escapes her abusive husband, played by Patrick Bergin, and begins a new life in Iowa. She played Tinkerbell in Steven Spielberg‘s Hook in 1991, and also played a nurse in the 1991 film, Dying Young. This work was followed by a two-year hiatus, during which she made no films 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?” She was offered the role of Annie Reed in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), but turned it down.
Roberts co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Pelican Brief (1993), based on John Grisham‘s 1992 novel of the same name. In 1996, she appeared in season 2 of Friends (episode 13 “The One After the Superbowl“). She had a relationship with cast member Matthew Perry at the time. According to an audience member, Roberts said to Perry about their on-screen kiss, “I’m glad we rehearsed this over the weekend.” She was offered the role of Lucy Eleanor Moderatz in While You Were Sleeping (1995), but turned it down.
Roberts co-starred with Liam Neeson in Michael Collins (1996). Over the next few years, she starred in Stephen Frears‘ Mary Reilly (1996), followed by My Best Friend’s Wedding in 1997. In 1998, she appeared on Sesame Street opposite the character Elmo, demonstrating her ability to change emotions. She was offered the role of Viola de Lesseps in Shakespeare in Love (1998), but turned it down. She starred in the films Stepmom (1998), alongside Susan Sarandon, Notting Hill (1999), with Hugh Grant, and, also in 1999, in Runaway Bride, her second film with Richard Gere. Roberts was a guest star on the Law & Order television series episode “Empire” with series regular Benjamin Bratt (at that time her boyfriend). She earned a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. In 2000 she played the lead role of real-life environmental activist Erin Brockovich in the film Erin Brockovich.
In December 2000, Roberts, who had been the highest paid actress through the 1990s, became the first actress to make The Hollywood Reporter‘s list of the 50 most influential women in show business since the list had begun in 1992.
In 2001, Roberts received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Erin Brockovich. Roberts’ acceptance speech for the award went over the allowed time limit, but did not mention the real-life Brockovich, for which Roberts later apologized, saying she forgot. While presenting the Best Actor Award to Denzel Washington the following year, Roberts made a gaffe, saying she was glad that Tom Conti wasn’t there; she meant the conductor, Bill Conti, who had tried to hasten the conclusion of her Oscar speech the previous year, but instead named the Scottish actor.
Roberts’ first film following Erin Brockovich was the romantic comedy America’s Sweethearts along with Billy Crystal, John Cusack, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Directed by Joe Roth, the Hollywood farce centers on a supercouple, Gwen and Eddie, who separate when she dumps him for another man. Roberts portrayed Gwen’s once-overweight sister and assistant who has been secretly in love with Eddie (Cusack) for years. Reviews of the film were generally unfavorable: critics’ felt that despite its famous cast, the movie lacked “sympathetic characters” and was “only funny in spurts.” A commercial success, it grossed over US$138 million worldwide however. Later in 2001 she starred in Gore Verbinski‘s road gangster comedy, The Mexican, giving her a chance to work with long-time friend Brad Pitt. The film’s script was originally intended to be filmed as an independent production without major motion picture stars, but Roberts and Pitt, who had for some time been looking for a project they could do together, learned about it and decided to sign on. Though advertised as a typical romantic comedy star vehicle, the film does not focus solely on the Pitt/Roberts relationship and the two shared relatively little screen time together. The Mexican earned $66.8 million at the U.S. box office.
In fall 2001, Roberts teamed with Erin Brockovich director Steven Soderbergh for Ocean’s Eleven (2001), a comedy-crime caper film and remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name, featuring an ensemble cast also including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. Roberts played Tess Ocean, the ex-wife of leader Danny Ocean (Clooney), originally played by Angie Dickinson, who is flirting with a casino owner, played by Andy Garcia. In preparation for her role, Roberts studied Dickinson’s performance by watching the original film at least seven times in order to get her part right. A success with critics and at the box office alike, Ocean’s Eleven became the fifth highest-grossing film of the year with a total of US$450 million worldwide.
In 2003, Roberts was cast in Mike Newell‘s drama film Mona Lisa Smile, also starring Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Julia Stiles. Roberts received a record US$25 million for her portrayal of a forward-thinking art history professor at Wellesley College in 1953 – the highest ever earned by an actress until then. The film garnered largely lukewarm reviews by critics, who found it “predictable and safe”.
In 2004, Roberts replaced Cate Blanchett in Mike Nichols‘s Closer, a romantic drama film written by Patrick Marber, based on his award-winning 1997 play of the same name. The film also starred Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. Also in 2004, the actress reprised the role of Tess Ocean in the sequel Ocean’s Twelve. That movie was deliberately much more unconventional than the first, epitomized by a sequence in which Roberts’ character impersonates the real-life Julia Roberts due to their strong resemblance. Though less favored than Eleven, the film became another major success at the box offices with a gross of US$363 million worldwide, mostly from its international run. Unlike all the male cast members, Roberts did not appear in the series’ third and final installment Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) due to script issues. In 2005, she was featured in the music video for the single “Dreamgirl” by the Dave Matthews Band; it was her first music video appearance.
Roberts appeared in The Hollywood Reporter‘s list of the 10 highest-paid actresses every year from 2002 (when the magazine began compiling its list) to 2005.
Roberts had two films released in 2006: The Ant Bully and Charlotte’s Web. Both films were animated features for which she provided voice acting. Her next film was Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Mike Nichols; it was released on December 21, 2007. Fireflies in the Garden (2008), also starring Ryan Reynolds and Willem Dafoe, was released at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2008 and was subsequently shown in European cinemas; it did not get a North American release until 2011.
Roberts made her Broadway debut on April 19, 2006 as Nan in a revival of Richard Greenberg‘s 1997 play Three Days of Rain opposite Bradley Cooper and Paul Rudd. Although the play grossed nearly US$1 million in ticket sales during its first week and was a commercial success throughout its limited run, her performance drew criticism. Ben Brantley of The New York Times described Roberts as being fraught with “self-consciousness (especially in the first act) [and] only glancingly acquainted with the two characters she plays.” Brantley also criticized the overall production, writing that “it’s almost impossible to discern its artistic virtues from this wooden and splintered interpretation, directed by Joe Mantello.” Writing in The New York Post, Clive Barnes declared, “Hated the play. To be sadly honest, even hated her. At least I liked the rain—even if three days of it can seem an eternity.”
In 2009, Lancôme announced that Roberts would become their global ambassador for their company.
Roberts starred with Clive Owen in the comedy-thriller Duplicity for which she received her seventh Golden Globe nomination. In 2010, she appeared in the ensemble romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, with Cooper, and starred in the film adaptation of Eat Pray Love. Eat Pray Love had the highest debut at the box office for Roberts in a top-billed role since America’s Sweethearts. Later in the year, she signed a five-year extension with Lancôme for GB£32 million (US$50 million). In 2011, she co-starred as Mercedes Tainot in the romantic comedy Larry Crowne opposite Tom Hanks, who directed and played the title role. The movie received generally bad reviews with only 35% of the 175 Rotten Tomatoes reviews giving it high ratings, although Roberts’s comedic performance was praised. Roberts appeared in the 2012 Tarsem Singh adaptation of Snow White, titled Mirror Mirror, playing Queen Clementianna, Snow White’s evil stepmother.
In 2013, Roberts appeared in August: Osage County, playing one of Meryl Streep‘s character’s three daughters. Her performance earned her nominations for the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Critics’ Choice Award and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, amongst other accolades. It was her fourth Academy Award nomination.