Julia Roberts (born October 28, 1967) is an American actress. Julia
Roberts became well known during the early 1990s after starring in the romantic
comedy Pretty Woman opposite Richard Gere, which grossed $463 million worldwide.
After receiving Oscar nominations for Steel Magnolias in 1990 and Pretty Woman
in 1991, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2001 for her performance
in Erin Brockovich. Her films, which also include romantic comedies such as My
Best Friend's Wedding, Mystic Pizza, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, and crime
films such as The Pelican Brief and Ocean's Eleven and Twelve have collectively
earned box office receipts of over $2 billion, making her the most successful
actress in terms of box office receipts.
Julia had become one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, topping the Hollywood Reporter's annual "power list" of top-earning female stars from 2002 to 2005, until 2006, when Nicole Kidman won the top spot. Her fee for 1990's Pretty Woman was $300,000; in 2003, she was paid an unprecedented $25 million for her role in Mona Lisa Smile. As of 2007, Roberts's net worth was estimated to be $140 million.
Julia was the first actress to appear on the cover of Vogue and the first woman to land the cover of GQ. She has been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" eleven times, tied with Halle Berry. In 2001 Ladies Home Journal ranked her as the 11th most powerful woman in America, beating out then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and first lady Laura Bush. Julia has a production company called Red Om Films, formerly Shoelace Productions ("Moder" spelled backwards, after her husband's last name).
This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references (ideally, using inline citations). Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. Find sources: "Julia Roberts" — news, books, scholar (March 2008)
Julia was born in Atlanta, Georgia at Crawford Long Hospital. Her father, Walter Grady Roberts, was a vacuum cleaner salesman, and her Minneapolis, Minnesota-born mother, Betty Lou Motes (née Bredemus), was a one-time church secretary and real estate agent. Her parents, one-time actors and playwrights, met while performing theatrical productions for the armed forces and later co-founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia off Juniper berry Street in Midtown; the two divorced in 1971. Her mother later married Michael Motes and had another daughter, named Nancy Motes who was born in 1976. Roberts's father died of cancer when she was ten. Her older brother, Eric Roberts, (from whom she was once estranged but reconciled since 2004) and sister, Lisa Julia Gillan, are also actors.
While Julia's mother was pregnant with Julia, she and her husband ran an acting school for children in Decatur, Georgia. The children of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King attended the school. As a thank-you for their service, Mrs. King paid the hospital bill when Mrs. Julia gave birth to Julia.
Julia moved to Smyrna, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) in 1972, where she attended Fitzhugh Lee Elementary School, Griffin Middle School and Campbell High School. She played clarinet in the band. Julia wanted to be a veterinarian as a child, but soon after graduating from Smyrna's Campbell High School, she headed to New York to join her sister Lisa Julia Gillan and pursue a career in acting. Once there, she signed with the Click modeling agency and enrolled in acting classes. She reverted to her original name "Julia Roberts" when she discovered that a "Julie Roberts" was already registered with the Screen Actors Guild. Her niece, Emma Roberts, whom Julia used to take to movie sets when she was a young girl, has joined her father and aunts in the acting business.
Julia made her film debut playing a supporting role opposite her brother, Eric, in Blood Red (she has just two words of dialogue), which, although filmed in 1987 was not released until 1989 (She was just about to have her 19th birthday during the filming). 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. She also once appeared on Sesame Street opposite the character Elmo, demonstrating her ability to change emotions. Julia first caught the attention of moviegoers with 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. The following year, she was featured in Steel Magnolias as a young bride battling diabetes and garnered her first Oscar nomination (as Best Supporting Actress) for her performance.
Julia became known to worldwide audiences when she co-starred with Richard Gere in the Cinderella/Pygmalionesque story Pretty Woman in 1990. Julia won the role after the first two choices for the part, Molly Ringwald and Meg Ryan both turned it down. 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, 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; which 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?"
In 1993, she co-starred with Denzel Washington in the successful The Pelican Brief, based on the John Grisham novel. She also starred alongside Liam Neeson in the 1996 film Michael Collins. Over 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, such as Stephen Frears' Mary Reilly (1996) for which she earned a Razzie Worst Actress nomination. She starred with Hugh Grant in the 1999 film Notting Hill. That same year, she also starred in Runaway Bride, the second film with the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere duo. Julia was a guest star on the Law & Order television series in an episode broadcast on May 5, 1999 entitled "Empire", with series regular Benjamin Bratt (at that time her boyfriend). Also in 1999, she starred in the critically panned film Stepmom alongside Susan Sarandon.
Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García, Roberts, cast of Ocean's Eleven along with director Steven Soderbergh in December 2001In 2001, Julia received the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich, who helped wage a successful lawsuit against energy giant Pacific Gas & Electric. While presenting the Best Actor Award to Denzel Washington the following year, she 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. Julia would team up with Erin Brockovich director Steven Soderbergh for three more films: Ocean's Eleven (2001), Full Frontal (2002), and Ocean's Twelve (2004). Later in 2001 she starred in the road gangster comedy The Mexican giving her a chance to work with long time friend Brad Pitt. In 2005, she was featured in the music video for the hit single "Dreamgirl" by the Dave Matthews Band.
Roberts's two films released in 2006, The Ant Bully and Charlotte's Web, were both animated features for which she provided only voice acting. Her next film was Charlie Wilson's War, with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Mike Nichols and based on the book by former CBS journalist George Crile; it was released on December 21, 2007. Fireflies in the Garden, also starring Ryan Reynolds and Willem Dafoe is currently in post-production, with release set for 2009. It has also been announced that Julia will star in The Friday Night Knitting Club, based on the novel of the same name by Kate Jacobs. Her niece, Emma Roberts, is said to be considered for the role of her daughter.
Julia 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 dollars in ticket sales during its first week and was a commercial success throughout its limited run, most critics heavily criticized Roberts' performance. The New York Times' critic Ben Brantly, a self-proclaimed 'Juliaholic,' described her 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 production of “Greenberg's slender, elegant play,” writing that “it's almost impossible to discern its artistic virtues from this wooden and splintered interpretation, directed by Joe Mantello.” Three Days of Rain received two Tony Award nominations in stage design categories, but took home neither prize. Julia did, however, receive a Broadway.com audience award (a minor theatrical prize) for her performance.
Julia Roberts has brought to life some of the books from American Girl as movies and serves as Executive Producer, along with her sister Lisa. The company's product lines and services are focused on pre-teen-girl characters from various periods of American history, who are embodied as dolls and featured in narratives including books and movies. Its flagship line is a collection of historical 18-inch dolls that have books and accessories. Currently Julia Roberts has produced four movies.
Directors Robert Altman, Mike Nichols, Joel Schumacher, Steven Soderbergh, and Garry Marshall have repeatedly cast Julia in their films. But Steven Spielberg, after directing her in Hook (1991) for which she earned a Razzie Worst Supporting Actress nomination, never worked with her again. In a 1993 interview with Barbara Walters, Julia said that she was confused by Spielberg's recollection of working with her, as she only has positive memories of working on his film. In 1993, The New York Times wrote that Herbert Ross, the director of Steel Magnolias, criticized that Julia's acting was one-dimensional, despite the fact that she received her first Academy Award nomination for it. Although, Julia eventually called for a truce, the two never worked together again.
As of February 2007, Roberts's films have grossed $2,204,631,930 at the American box office making her the biggest female movie star in history and achieving this feat with only 31 films to her name. She 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 owing to her ability to attract filmgoers solely on the basis of her name's appearance above the title and without the support of a male co-star, something few other actresses have been able to do.
Roberts's personal life has often been in the spotlight. She has had widely reported romantic relationships with numerous famous men, including Liam Neeson, Dylan McDermott, Kiefer Sutherland, David Warmee, Lyle Lovett, Matthew Perry, and Benjamin Bratt. She was briefly engaged to McDermott, her Steel Magnolias co-star. She met Sutherland in 1990, when he was her co-star in Flatliners; he left his wife and children to move in with Roberts. In August 1990, Julia and Sutherland announced their engagement, with an elaborate studio-planned wedding scheduled for June 14, 1991. Julia broke the engagement three days before the wedding when she discovered Sutherland had been meeting with a stripper named Amanda Rice. Julia subsequently went to Ireland with Jason Patric, a friend of Sutherland's. On June 27, 1993, she married country singer Lyle Lovett; the couple had met only three weeks earlier. The wedding took place on 72-hours' notice and was held in Marion, Indiana, near where Lovett was appearing on tour with his band. Less than two years later, in March 1995, the couple separated, and subsequently divorced.
In 1998, Julia began dating Law & Order star Benjamin Bratt, and he was her escort for the March 25, 2001 Academy Awards ceremony at which she won her Oscar. Three months later, in June 2001, Julia and Bratt announced that they were no longer a couple. "It's come to a kind and tenderhearted end," she said of their relationship.
Julia met her current husband, cameraman Daniel Moder, on the set of her movie The Mexican in 2000 and they began an affair. Though at the time, Moder was married to Vera Steimberg Moder, he filed for divorce a little over a year later, and after it was finalized, he and Julia wed on Fourth of July 2002, at her ranch in Taos, New Mexico.On November 28, 2004, they became the parents of fraternal twins, daughter Hazel Patricia and son Phinnaeus "Finn" Walter. Their third child, son Henry Daniel Moder, was born on June 18, 2007, in Los Angeles.
Julia has given her time and resources to UNICEF as well as to other charitable organizations. In Spring 1995, Roberts, an enthusiastic supporter of UNICEF, asked if she could meet some of the relief agency's neediest recipients. On May 10, she arrived in Port-au-Prince, as she said, "to educate myself". The poverty she found was overwhelming. "My heart is just bursting", she said. UNICEF officials hoped that her six-day visit would trigger an outburst of giving: $10 million in aid was sought at the time.
In 2000, Julia narrated Silent Angels, a documentary about Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder, which was shot in Los Angeles, Baltimore and New York. The documentary was designed to help raise public awareness about the disease. In July 2006, Earth Biofuels announced Julia as a spokeswoman for the company and as chair of the company's newly formed Advisory Board promoting the use of renewable fuels.
This Julia Roberts Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub