Angelina Jolie ( joh-LEE; born Angelina Jolie Voight, June 4, 1975) is an American actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and has been cited as Hollywood's highest-paid actress.
Jolie's first breakthrough came when she portrayed supermodel Gia Carangi in HBO's Gia (1998). The film chronicles the destruction of Carangi's life and career as a result of her addiction to heroin, and her decline and death from AIDS in the mid-1980s. Vanessa Vance of Reel.com retrospectively noted, Jolie gained wide recognition for her role as the titular Gia, and it's easy to see why.
Jolie is fierce in her portrayal—filling the part with nerve, charm, and desperation—and her role in this film is quite possibly the most beautiful train wreck ever filmed. For the second consecutive year, Jolie won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award. She also won her first Screen Actors Guild Award. In accordance with Lee Strasberg's method acting, Jolie preferred to stay in character in between scenes during many of her early films, and as a result had gained a reputation for being difficult to deal with.
While shooting Gia, she told her husband, Jonny Lee Miller, that she would not be able to phone him: I'd tell him: 'I'm alone; I'm dying; I'm gay; I'm not going to see you for weeks.' After Gia wrapped, she briefly gave up acting, because she felt that she had nothing else to give. She separated from Miller and moved to New York, where she took night classes at New York University to study directing and screenwriting. Encouraged by her Golden Globe Award win for George Wallace and the positive critical reception of Gia, Jolie resumed her career.
Following the previously filmed gangster film Hell's Kitchen (1998), Jolie returned to the screen in Playing by Heart (1998), part of an ensemble cast that included Sean Connery, Gillian Anderson, and Ryan Phillippe. The film received predominantly positive reviews, and Jolie was praised in particular; San Francisco Chronicle critic Peter Stack wrote, Jolie, working through an overwritten part, is a sensation as the desperate club crawler learning truths about what she's willing to gamble. She won the Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review. In 1999, Jolie starred in the comedy-drama Pushing Tin, alongside John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett.
The film met with mixed reception from critics, and Jolie's character—Thornton's seductive wife—was particularly criticized; writing for The Washington Post, Desson Howe dismissed her as a completely ludicrous writer's creation of a free-spirited woman who weeps over hibiscus plants that die, wears lots of turquoise rings and gets real lonely when Russell spends entire nights away from home. Jolie then co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector (1999), playing a police officer who reluctantly helps Washington's quadriplegic detective track down a serial killer. The film grossed $151.5 million worldwide, but was critically unsuccessful.
Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press concluded, Jolie, while always delicious to look at, is simply and woefully miscast. Jolie next took the supporting role of a sociopathic mental patient in Girl, Interrupted (1999), an adaptation of Susanna Kaysen's memoir of the same name. While Winona Ryder played the main character in what was hoped to be a comeback for her, the film instead marked Jolie's final breakthrough in Hollywood. She won her third Golden Globe Award, her second Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
For Variety, Emanuel Levy noted, Jolie is excellent as the flamboyant, irresponsible girl who turns out to be far more instrumental than the doctors in Susanna's rehabilitation.In 2000, Jolie appeared in her first summer blockbuster, Gone in 60 Seconds, which became her highest-grossing film to that point, earning $237.2 million internationally. She had a minor role as the mechanic ex-girlfriend of a car thief played by Nicolas Cage; The Washington Post writer Stephen Hunter criticized that all she does in this movie is stand around, cooling down, modeling those fleshy, pulsating muscle-tubes that nest so provocatively around her teeth.
Jolie later explained that the film had been a welcome relief after her emotionally demanding role in Girl, Interrupted.
7 million worldwide, and launched her global reputation as a female action star. Jolie next starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his mail-order bride in Original Sin (2001), the first of a string of films that were poorly received by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell questioned Jolie's decision to follow her Oscar-winning performance with soft-core nonsense. The romantic comedy Life or Something Like It (2002), though equally unsuccessful, marked an unusual choice for Jolie.
Salon's Allen Barra considered her ambitious newscaster character a rare attempt at playing a conventional women's role, noting that her performance doesn't get off the ground until a scene where she goes punk and leads a group of striking bus workers in singing 'Satisfaction'. Despite her lack of box office success, Jolie remained in demand as an actress; in 2002, she established herself among Hollywood's highest-paid actresses, earning $10–$15 million per film for the next five years.Jolie reprised her role as Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003), which was not as lucrative as the original, earning $156.5 million at the international box office.
She also starred in the music video for Korn's Did My Time, which was used to promote the sequel. Her next film was Beyond Borders (2003), in which she portrayed a socialite who joins an aid worker played by Clive Owen. Though unsuccessful with audiences, the film stands as the first of several passion projects Jolie has made to bring attention to humanitarian causes. Beyond Borders was a critical failure; Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times acknowledged Jolie's ability to bring electricity and believability to roles, but wrote that the limbo of a hybrid character, a badly written cardboard person in a fly-infested, blood-and-guts world, completely defeats her.
The year 2004 saw the release of four films featuring Jolie. She first starred in the thriller Taking Lives as an FBI profiler summoned to help Montreal law enforcement hunt down a serial killer. The film received mixed reviews; The Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt concluded, Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour. Jolie made a brief appearance as a fighter pilot in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a science fiction adventure shot entirely with actors in front of a bluescreen, and voiced her first family film, the DreamWorks animation Shark Tale.
Her supporting role as Queen Olympias in Oliver Stone's Alexander, about the life of Alexander the Great, was met with mixed reception, particularly concerning her Slavic accent. Commercially, the film failed in North America, which Stone attributed to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, for a total revenue of $167.3 million.
Like her mother, Jolie has stated that she is part Iroquois, although her only known indigenous ancestors were 17th-century Hurons. After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother lived with their mother, who had abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. Her mother raised her Catholic, but did not require her to go to church. As a child, she often watched films with her mother and it was this, rather than her father's successful career, that inspired her interest in acting, though at age five she had a bit part in Voight's Lookin' to Get Out (1982).
When Jolie was six years old, Bertrand and her live-in partner, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. Jolie then decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions. Jolie first attended Beverly Hills High School, where she felt isolated among the children of some of the area's affluent families because her mother survived on a more modest income. She was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces.
Her early attempts at modeling, at her mother's insistence, proved unsuccessful. She then transferred to Moreno High School, an alternative school, where she became a punk outsider, wearing all-black clothing, going out moshing, and experimenting with knife play with her live-in boyfriend. She dropped out of her acting classes and aspired to become a funeral director, taking at-home courses to study embalming. At age 16, after the relationship had ended, Jolie graduated from high school and rented her own apartment, before returning to theater studies, though in 2004 she referred to this period with the observation, I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos.
As a teenager, Jolie found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she self-harmed, later commenting, For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me. She also struggled with insomnia and an eating disorder, and began experimenting with drugs; by age 20, she had used just about every drug possible, particularly heroin. Jolie suffered episodes of depression and twice planned to commit suicide—at age 19 and again at 22, when she attempted to hire a hitman to kill her. When she was 24, she experienced a nervous breakdown and was admitted for 72 hours to UCLA Medical Center's psychiatric ward.
Two years later, after adopting her first child, Jolie found stability in her life, later stating, I knew once I committed to Maddox, I would never be self-destructive again.Jolie has had a lifelong dysfunctional relationship with her father, which began when Voight left the family when his daughter was less than a year old. She has said that from then on their time together was sporadic and usually carried out in front of the press. They reconciled when they appeared together in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), but their relationship again deteriorated.
Jolie petitioned the court to legally remove her surname Voight in favor of her middle name, which she had long used as a stage name; the name change was granted on September 12, 2002. Voight then went public with their estrangement during an appearance on Access Hollywood, in which he claimed Jolie had serious mental problems. At that point, her mother and brother also broke off contact with Voight. They did not speak for six-and-a-half years, but began rebuilding their relationship in the wake of Bertrand's death from ovarian cancer on January 27, 2007, before going public with their reconciliation three years later.
Jolie began her professional film career in 1993, when she played her first leading role in the straight-to-video science-fiction sequel Cyborg 2, as a near-human robot designed for corporate espionage and assassination. She was so disappointed with the film that she did not audition again for a year. Following a supporting role in the independent film Without Evidence (1995), she starred in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995). The New York Times critic Janet Maslin wrote, Kate stands out.
That's because she scowls even more sourly than [her co-stars] and is that rare female hacker who sits intently at her keyboard in a see-through top. Hackers failed to make a profit at the box office, but developed a cult following after its video release.After starring in the modern-day Romeo and Juliet adaptation Love Is All There Is (1996), Jolie appeared in the road movie Mojave Moon (1996), of which The Hollywood Reporter said, Jolie, an actress whom the camera truly adores, reveals a comic flair and the kind of blatant sexuality that makes it entirely credible that Danny Aiello's character would drop everything just for the chance of being with her. In Foxfire (1996) she played a drifter who unites four teenage girls against a teacher who has sexually harassed them.
Jack Mathews of the Los Angeles Times wrote of her performance, It took a lot of hogwash to develop this character, but Jolie, Jon Voight's knockout daughter, has the presence to overcome the stereotype. Though the story is narrated by Maddy, Legs is the subject and the catalyst.In 1997, Jolie starred with David Duchovny in the thriller Playing God, set in the Los Angeles underworld. The film was not well received by critics; Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert noted that Jolie finds a certain warmth in a kind of role that is usually hard and aggressive; she seems too nice to be [a mobster's] girlfriend, and maybe she is.
Her next work, as a frontierswoman in the CBS miniseries True Women (1997), was even less successful; writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert Strauss dismissed her as horrid, a fourth-rate Scarlett O'Hara who relies on gnashed teeth and overly pouted lips. Jolie also starred in the music video for the Rolling Stones's Anybody Seen My Baby? as a stripper who leaves mid-performance to wander New York City.