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From Hollywood wild child to Academy Award winner to U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to acclaimed filmmaker, actress Angelina Jolie underwent a series of metamorphoses over the course of her much-storied life and career. Both strikingly beautiful and exceedingly talented, Jolie - who was the daughter of Jon Voight - earned her first acclaim in the television movie "Gia" (HBO, 1998). She quickly developed a reputation for her outrageous off-camera antics, leading to a tabloid fascination that blossomed with her high-profile marriage to Billy Bob Thornton. After winning the Oscar for "Girl, Interrupted" (1999) and starring in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001), Jolie transformed herself into a celebrity humanitarian, traveling to war-torn parts of the world like Cambodia and Darfur. Around that time, she adopted an orphaned child from Cambodia, setting a precedent for other high-profile adoptions from Ethiopia and Vietnam. After splitting with Thornton in 2005, she became a tabloid fixture after beginning an affair with co-star Brad Pitt while filming "Mrs. and Mrs. Smith" (2005) with Pitt, leading to his scandalous divorce from Jennifer Aniston and the tabloid perception of Jolie as a homewrecker. Soon dubbed...
From Hollywood wild child to Academy Award winner to U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to acclaimed filmmaker, actress Angelina Jolie underwent a series of metamorphoses over the course of her much-storied life and career. Both strikingly beautiful and exceedingly talented, Jolie - who was the daughter of Jon Voight - earned her first acclaim in the television movie "Gia" (HBO, 1998). She quickly developed a reputation for her outrageous off-camera antics, leading to a tabloid fascination that blossomed with her high-profile marriage to Billy Bob Thornton. After winning the Oscar for "Girl, Interrupted" (1999) and starring in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001), Jolie transformed herself into a celebrity humanitarian, traveling to war-torn parts of the world like Cambodia and Darfur. Around that time, she adopted an orphaned child from Cambodia, setting a precedent for other high-profile adoptions from Ethiopia and Vietnam. After splitting with Thornton in 2005, she became a tabloid fixture after beginning an affair with co-star Brad Pitt while filming "Mrs. and Mrs. Smith" (2005) with Pitt, leading to his scandalous divorce from Jennifer Aniston and the tabloid perception of Jolie as a homewrecker. Soon dubbed "Brangelina," the ever-growing family - the couple had six children in total - were a constant fascination around the world. (After marrying in 2014, Jolie filed for divorce in September 2016.) Throughout, Jolie continued to star in a wide variety of films like "The Good Shepherd" (2006), "A Mighty Heart" (2007), "Changeling" (2008), "Wanted" (2008) and "Salt" (2010). With high-profile voice acting roles in hits like "Kung Fu Panda" (2008) and its sequels, as well as the title role in the skewed fairy tale "Maleficent" (2014), Jolie maintained her status as one of Hollywood's most bankable actresses, while moving into a respected career as a director with efforts like "In the Land of Blood and Honey" (2011), the biopic "Unbroken" (2014) and the marriage drama "By the Sea" (2015).
The daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, Angelina Jolie (Voight) was born on Jun. 4, 1975 in Los Angeles. Like her older brother by two years, director James Haven (Voight), Jolie seemed destined for a career in the arts. At the age of 11, she began studying at the famed Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City. Even before commencing her formal training, Jolie made her screen debut as a tyke in a bit part in the Hal Ashby-directed comedy "Lookin' to Get Out" (1982). The experience briefly turned young Angelina off of show business - she even briefly considered going into funeral directing for a time - but she eventually bounced back.
With two extremely photogenic parents, it came as no surprise that Jolie inherited gorgeous good looks, most strikingly her lush lips. Her comeliness allowed her to segue back into show business, first as a professional model, and later as an actress in music videos. In addition to appearing in five student films directed by her older brother, Jolie became a member of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Theatre Company, where she honed her craft alongside such veteran players as Holly Hunter, Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. Jolie made her return to the screen playing a heroic human/machine hybrid in the direct-to-video sci-fi actioner "Cyborg II: Glass Shadows" (1993), but the entry went virtually unnoticed by critics. Luckily, her flashy role as Kate (a.k.a. 'Acid Burn') in the cyber-thriller "Hackers" (1995) garnered her more attention and better notices. Jolie's chemistry with rising young British actor Jonny Lee Miller eventually culminated in their wedding in 1996. Though the two would divorce just three years later, Jolie and Miller would remain close friends even after their break-up.
More film work readily followed for Jolie, initially in small-scale character-driven indies. In an indifferently received adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel "Foxfire" (1996), Jolie played a mysterious outsider named Legs Sadovsky who helps some other teenage girls stand up for their rights. In Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna's romantic comedy-drama "Love Is All There Is" (1996), Jolie displayed a humorous and innocent light as half of a pair of star-crossed lovers divided by their families' feud. That same year, the actress appeared in the high-minded suspense drama "Without Evidence," playing a drug-addicted teen, and "Mojave Moon," opposite Danny Aiello. Next came "Playing God" (1997), in which Jolie essayed a woman torn between her gangster boyfriend (Timothy Hutton) and a discredited doctor (David Duchovny) in his employ. While the films remained largely unseen by most moviegoers, Jolie received strong notices for each of these projects.
Unlike many feature stars, Jolie showed no compunction about working on the small screen. During the late 1990s, the actress appeared in a handful of made-for-TV productions that allowed her to strut her stuff on her own terms. In 1997, Jolie received top notices for her co-starring turn alongside Annabeth Gish and Dana Delaney as Texas pioneers in the 1997 CBS historical miniseries, "True Women." Jolie then portrayed Cornelia Wallace, the politician's first wife, in the biographical miniseries "George Wallace" (TNT, 1997). But it was her dazzling turn as another real-life figure - the late supermodel Gia Carangi - that catapulted Jolie into the public consciousness. Jolie's brave, sensitive performance as the drug-addicted, AIDS-stricken title character in HBO's excellent biopic "Gia" (1998) brought the beauty widespread critical acclaim. For her efforts, Jolie was twice Emmy-nominated in the supporting category for "George Wallace," which she lost to co-star Mare Winningham, and in the leading category for "Gia," which she ended up losing to Ellen Barkin. Fortunately, Jolie received more-than-adequate consolation for her Emmy losses by picking up two back-to-back Golden Globe Awards for both performances.
After this spate of acclaimed television appearances, Jolie found her way back into films, landing roles that showcased her acting strengths. In 1998, Jolie received special notice for her work in the comedy-drama "Playing By Heart" (1998), as Joan, an outgoing club kid smitten with the sullen Keenan (Ryan Phillippe). Vivid and engaging, Jolie easily held her own among an ensemble cast featuring such luminaries as Gena Rowlands and Sean Connery. The following year, the actress joined John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton in Mike Newell's comedy about air traffic controllers, "Pushing Tin" (1999). Jolie later got her feet wet in the increasingly crowded crime-drama pond playing a tough rookie cop assisting a quadriplegic detective (Denzel Washington) in "The Bone Collector" (1999), a serial killer thriller directed by Philip Noyce. Jolie rounded out the year by landing the co-starring role of disturbed Lisa Rowe in "Girl, Interrupted." Based on author Susanna Kaysen's best-selling memoir of her own two-year stay in a psychiatric hospital, Jolie's showy turn as the sociopathic inmate netted Jolie a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
But public respect would come neither immediately nor easily for Jolie, even after winning Hollywood's highest honor. Far more interested in her girl-gone-wild ways, the tabloids tended to dismiss her talents in favor of her more unorthodox personal life. Among the gossip fodder were her exotic tattoos, extensive collection of knives and her past "cutting" experiences, her provocative revelations, and her intimations of a profoundly edgy sex life. The tabloids also made much hay out of Jolie's close relationship with her look-alike brother, James Haven - a bond which raised many eyebrows after Jolie planted a passionate kiss on his lips in plain view of paparazzi. It did not help matters when she declared she was "in love with her brother" upon accepting the Oscar. Media saturation would reach a boiling point in mid-2000, when Jolie became the fifth wife of her "Pushing Tin" co-star, the equally eccentric and significantly older actor Billy Bob Thornton. A match made in tabloid heaven, the couple's constant declarations of love and devotion to each other was capped by the wacky revelation that the two wore vials of one another's blood around each other's necks and had sex in the car on the way to the "Pushing Tin" premiere.
Her off-screen quirks notwithstanding, the actress continued portraying tough young women on the big screen. In the car heist thriller "Gone in 60 Seconds" (2000), Jolie crackled in scenes opposite notorious scene-stealing star Nicolas Cage. Jolie's next project was as the flesh-and-blood embodiment of the titular adventuress in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001). The film also marked Jolie's first adult collaboration with her father, Jon Voight, who played her character's father in the film. Shortly after their onscreen pairing, however, Voight made a series of disparaging comments regarding his daughter's mental emotional stability (or lack thereof) to the entertainment newsmagazine "Access Hollywood" (syndicated, 1996- ). Outraged by the insult, Jolie immediately responded by painting Voight as a philandering, self-righteous hypocrite who cheated on her mother. The resulting rift between father and daughter would last for several years and several on-camera pleas by Voight to give him another chance.
After her next two starring roles, opposite Antonio Banderas in the noir "Original Sin" (2001) and in the dramatic vehicle "Life or Something Like It" (2002), failed to impress either critics or audiences, Jolie took a significant hiatus from film, but continued to make headlines in her personal life, divorcing Thornton in 2003 and adopting a baby boy from a Cambodian orphanage, whom she named Maddox.
The actress returned to familiar territory for her comeback screen vehicle, the sequel "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003). "Cradle of Life" was followed by a turn in the political/romantic drama "Beyond Borders" (2003). After this came a starring role in the thriller "Taking Lives" (2004), in which Jolie played an FBI profiler caught up in dangerous and erotic intrigue. Signing up for another purely commercial vehicle, the actress adopted another rich accent as she cheekily played the eye patch-sporting Captain Frankie Cook, the leader of an all-female amphibious attack squadron, in the retro action-adventure "Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow" (2004). Cast opposite Jude Law and fellow Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, Jolie joined the CGI-laden action-adventure battling giant robots in an Art Deco environment. Jolie then lent her voice to the finny femme fatale, Lola, in DreamWorks' CGI-animated underwater underworld opus "A Shark's Tale" (2004). Finally, Jolie closed out the year with a bizarrely seductive turn as Alexander's mother, Olympias, who raises her son to believe in his impressive destiny, in Oliver Stone's historical epic "Alexander the Great" (2004).
Jolie's profile as both a movie star and public figure rose to even more epic proportions when she co-starred with the equally lovely Brad Pitt in the Doug Liman-helmed actionfest "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (2005). The actors played a bored married couple who are actually rival assassins, each hired to kill the other. Almost from the get-go, rumors abounded of an on-set romance between Jolie and Pitt, innuendo that contributed to Pitt's subsequent split from his high-profile marriage to actress Jennifer Aniston. Though both Pitt and Jolie initially refuted the rumors, the two later took a coy stance after being photographed together numerous times. The intense media and public interest in their possible romance propelled "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" to huge box office receipts, thanks in large part to their palpable onscreen chemistry. Needless to say, the "are they or aren't they?" nature of the Jolie-Pitt coupling captivated star watchers and quickly became the most written about celebrity story of 2005, even prompting the coining of the term "Brangelina."
Taking a page from the playbook of the late Audrey Hepburn, Jolie began using her celebrity status to bring attention to such humanitarian causes as the plight of violence-torn nations, something she began doing around the time she made "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." As their relationship gradually emerged in the public eye, Pitt began to accompany Jolie on her missions of mercy to third world nations and grew ever more attached to her son, Maddox. Away from the screen, Jolie expressed a dedication and commitment to increasing awareness and aid to counties devastated by internal and external conflicts, disease and deprived conditions. In 2001, after the actress made several trips to the war-torn nations of Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Pakistan, Jolie was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It was during one of these trips that in 2005, she adopted an infant daughter from an Ethiopian orphanage whom she named Zahara. Later that year, surprising the world at large, Pitt petitioned to adopt the two children as his own. A year later, on May 27, 2006, Jolie and Pitt welcomed their firstborn child into the world, daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Clearly serious about starting a family, in March 2007, Jolie and Pitt made headlines once again by adopting a fourth child, a three-year-old boy from Vietnam whom they named Pax. And no one was surprised when the couple gave birth to twins Vivienne and Knox in 2008.
Returning to the big screen, Jolie next starred as Marianne Pearl, the wife of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, in the drama "A Mighty Heart" (2007). Though Jolie's casting initially sparked a furor of controversy among minority groups, as Marianne Pearl was of Afro-Cuban/Dutch ancestry, her portrayal was rooted in dignity and reflected a tragic truthfulness free of exploitative sentimentality. Unfortunately, the serious film was released during the summer box office season, rendering it lost amidst all the big-budget special effect movies. Also that year, Jolie became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, then received the International Rescue Committee's annual Freedom Award for her contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom.
Back on the big screen, Jolie starred in the high-action comic book thriller, "Wanted" (2008), playing a supersensory assassin who mentors an office-bound wimp (James McAvoy), turning him into a highly skilled member of a centuries-old order of hit men. Following a leading voice role as Tigress in the blockbuster animated family comedy "Kung Fu Panda" (2008), Jolie starred in "Changeling" (2008), a period thriller inspired by true events directed by Clint Eastwood. Jolie's performance earned her nominations at both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards for Best Actress. Despite her continued acclaim for her accomplishments, Jolie was forced to continually contend with tabloid stories about herself, her family and her relationship with Brad Pitt. In early 2010, Jolie and Pitt sued the British tabloid News of the World for reporting that they were about to break up after the paper refused to either apologize or retract its story. Several months later, the lawsuit was settled with the tabloid issuing a public apology and paying an undisclosed sum for damages, which was donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
Meanwhile, Jolie returned to blockbuster prominence as the star of "Salt" (2010), a fast-paced spy thriller in which she played a dedicated CIA agent forced to go on the run after she is accused of being a Russian mole. A box-office hit during a busy summer, "Salt" was notable for being originally written for a male lead. She next starred in another espionage thriller, "The Tourist" (2010), playing a mysterious British woman who pulls an unwitting American (Johnny Depp) vacationing in Italy into a whirlwind of intrigue and danger. After once again voicing Tigress in "Kung Fu Panda 2" (2011), she made her directorial debut with "In the Land of Blood and Honey" (2011), a love story between a Serbian soldier (Gora Kostic) and a Bosnian prisoner (Zana Marjanovic) that played out against the backdrop of the Bosnian War. Also in 2011, Jolie was recognized for her decade of service as the U.N.'s Goodwill Ambassador, while the following year she and Pitt announced their official engagement in April. (Pitt and Jolie got married in Chateau Miraval, France, on August 23, 2014.) Things remained relatively quiet for Jolie in the following months, until May of 2013, when she made a surprising revelation in a New York Times op-ed piece: She had undergone a preventive double mastectomy due to her high risk of developing breast cancer. The tone of her writing was strong and reassuring, and she continued to prepare for future projects. Jolie's next big screen appearance came with the title role in the revisionist fairy tale "Maleficient" (2014), retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty from the villain's point of view. This was followed by her next directorial effort, the biopic "Unbroken" (2014), about Olympian and World War II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini, based on the best-selling biography by Laura Hillenbrand. This was followed by a much more intimate film, the '70s-set relationship drama "By the Sea" (2015) whose story of a couple's crumbling marriage was made that much more pointed by the fact that Jolie and Pitt played the lead roles. After months of rumors about the state of the couple's own marriage, Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016.
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