- 02:05 AM, Feb 06
A Harvard-degree holder, Natalie Portman is an intelligent actress. Born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, she is the only child of a doctor father and an artist mother, who also acts as her agent. Is a smart straight-A student, she was born diligent and does concern about getting a good education. "I loved school so much that most of my classmates considered me a dork," she said. "I'm going to college. I don't care if it ruins my career. I'd rather be smart than a movie star." Early in her life, Nat left her homeland for Washington, DC where she attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. After a few more moves, her family finally settled in New York and lived there until she graduated from Long Island High School 1999 with honors, which then allowed her to study at Harvard and graduated in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Raised in Long Island, Nat was discovered by a Revlon model scout in a pizza parlor at the age of 11 who immediately offered her an opportunity to model. Decided that she would rather pursue a career in acting, the young girl did ask for a contract which led to her getting an agent first and then auditioned for Luc Besson's 1994 film "Léon" (aka The Professional). Concerning her young age she was initially turned down for the role of Mathilda, a girl who asks a hit man, Jean Reno's role, to train her as an assassin to avenge her brother's death and falls in love with him in the process, but Besson who saw something in her decided to give her a go. Her debut in the flick, indeed, earned her positive notices which later on granted her roles in such films, as "Heat" (1995), "Beautiful Girls" (1996) and "Mars Attacks!" (1996).
It was not until the year of 1999 that Nat gained her worldwide fame through her portrayal of Queen Amidala in the highly anticipated $431 million grossing "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace". Released early that year, the flick became the highest grossing film of the year and the second highest grossing film out of the Star Wars series. Following this, the young lady then was billed to star in the critically acclaimed drama "Anywhere But Here" (1999), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting