|Birthday: May 6, 1961|
|Place of Birth: Lexington, KY, USA|
After ten years spent working on network television shows, actor George Clooney rocketed to celebrity super stardom with his interpretation of the appealing, but distressed pediatrician Doug Ross on the celebrated hospital series, "ER" (1994- ). Thanks to his celebrity status, he made the leap to feature films while still working on “ER,” swiftly cementing himself as a major Hollywood sexy celebrity, with leading roles in “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996), “Batman & Robin” (1997) and “Out of Sight” (1998).
When he left the restrictions of television for big screens of Hollywood, he rose above sheer celebrity to become one of the most important actors of his generation, while becoming an Academy Award winning entertainer, risk-taking director and socially aware advocate. A legendary devoted bachelor who stayed away from marriage after failing earlier as a husband, George maintained a constant flood of lady friends during his career, though romance proved tricky with his celebrity standing.
While extremely successful, Clooney would not to fall victim to the temptations of fame. From not wearing makeup on screen, to cutting his own hair and refusing to surgically modify his look, he worked hard to stick to his principles, while under pressure to safeguard an air of his pre-fame life.
George was born on May 6, 1961 and reared in the tiny Kentucky town of Augusta. His father, Nick – brother of famous songster and actress Rosemary – was a local talk show host before becoming a news anchor. His mother, Nina, was a beauty queen. he grew up on the production lots of his father's shows, sporadically acting as a commercial salesmen and ensemble sketch player, before later working as a stage and set manager. With aspirations of becoming a proficient baseball player, he was asked to audition for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977 when he was just seventeen years old. But his attempt was not good enough, and he failed to make the team.
As an alternative, he enlisted at Northern Kentucky University, where he began to party, chase women and sometimes show up for class. Not that he was completely careless – he took small jobs to pay his way through school, selling women’s shoes and men’s suits. After falling out of NKU, his cousin, artist Miguel Ferrer, chose Kentucky to make a low budget sports flick about horseracing. George was cast in a tiny part due to his handsome appeal, and became instantaneously addicted to the movie and film making industry.
In 1982, with cash saved up from working on a tobacco plantation, he jumped into his ramshackle 1977 Monte Carlo and drove to Los Angeles, California in three days without stopping. He finally made it to Beverly Hills, where he lived with Rosemary, doing small jobs around the estate and driving his aunt and her legendary friends around town. He then took a job cleaning a movie theater – the money he used to bankroll his first theater class. His first acting role was a Japanese television commercial for Panasonic, followed by a part on the police show “Riptide” (1983-1986). He hastily made the transition from television roles to moderate shock films like "Grizzly II - The Predator" (1984), “Return to Horror High” (1986) and "Return of the Killer Tomatoes" 1988). But at least he was finally acting, doing what he loved and getting paid.
He continued going on auditions, taking whatever role came his way (by the time he was a celebrity, he had participated on over fifteen unsold pilot productions). His first fulltime series role was as a young medical doctor working in an emergency room in the hit sitcom "E/R" (1984-85). He worked on a never-ending run of horrible recurring roles, playing a carpenter on "The Facts of Life" (1979-1988) during the 1985-1986 season; a astute warehouse foreman on "Roseanne" (1988-1997) for the 1988-89 season; and a construction worker on the sitcom "Baby Talk" (1990-1992), which he dumped after arguing with the show's producer. After playing a police detective on "Bodies of Evidence" (1992-93), he continued with law enforcement roles, but switched to drama, starring as the married cop who falls for Teddy during the 1993-94 season of "Sisters".
When he finally attained stardom on "ER,” he took his early success in stride. As film opportunities flooded in, and he began branching out as an actor, using roles in assorted films. He teamed with Quentin Tarantino, fighting vampires in the action thriller adventure "From Dusk Till Dawn" with Salma Hayek (1996), then showed his boyish appeal along side Michelle Pfeiffer in the romantic comedy "One Fine Day" (1996). In a heroic, but eventually damaging role, he inherited the “Batman” franchise from Val Kilmer, making a surprisingly average Bruce Wayne and Batman in Joel Schumacher's "Batman & Robin" (1997). He received some pretty bad reviews and even joked about his role in the farce. His other big flop from that year, "The Peacemaker” with Nicole Kidman also proved second-rate.
Despite a hard year at the box office, the actor was labeled “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine in 1997, a time when he was publicly battling the paparazzi for their bounty hunter procedures, especially after Princess Diana’s death in France while being chased in her limo by paparazzi. The first rays of his activist side emerged when he organized a celebrity boycott of “Entertainment Tonight” in revenge for another Paramount show, “Hard Copy” (1986-1999), that used this new method of intrusive paparazzi. He was joined by celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Madonna in an effort that proved successful, “Hard Copy” toned down its dangerous policy.
Back on the movie screen, he firmly established himself as a bona fide sexy celebrity in his next project, "Out of Sight" with Jennifer Lopez (1998), directed by Steven Soderbergh. As Elmore Leonard's smart-alecky, but weak escaped con, Jack Foley, he romanced a federal marshal while on his way to steal a load of diamonds from a crooked businessman (Albert Brook). Both Clooney and Lopez entranced critics with their sizzling onscreen chemistry, while he earned praise for the easy-going charm and intelligence of his laid-back, debonair bank robber. Despite good reviews, however, few came to the theaters making “Out of Sight” a box office failure.
After a cameo as a platoon leader in Terrence Malick's nostalgic military film, "The Thin Red Line" (1998), his big screen fortunes changed considerably with "Three Kings" with Mark Wahlberg (1999), a surprisingly political Hollywood action movie set during the Gulf War that gave a cautionary reminder about the responsibility related with America's role as policeman of the world. He showed his resolve as an action adventure star with his role as career military man Major Archie Gates, though not without problems. Even with high critical applause for the film, he later said the enormous tension of working with Russell. He later told Playboy magazine in 2000 that working on the film “was truly, without exception, the most awful encounter of my life.”
The now famous movie star next rejoined with "Three Kings" co-star Mark Wahlberg for Wolfgang Petersen's film variation of Sebastian Junger's best selling story, "The Perfect Storm" (2000), playing Captain Billy Tyne of the unlucky fishing boat, Andrea Gail. A top rate tale of men in the clutch of nature's rage, "The Perfect Storm" solidified George as a first rate Hollywood screen legend and sexy celebrity.
Also in 2000, he starred as escaped criminal Ulysses Everett McGill in the Coen brothers' over-the-top silly movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" with Holly Hunter, based somewhat on Homer's Odyssey. Back behind the camera, he acted as producer on "Rock Star" (2001), a silly comedy about a rock band singer pulled into the world of his heavy metal idols. He kept his career in motion with a starring role in Steven Soderbergh's star studded ensemble success, "Ocean's Eleven" (2001) opposite Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Bernie Mac, among others. As heist leader Danny Ocean, a prisoner preoccupied with robbing a casino kingpin and winning back his ex-wife from him, his comic charisma was on full blast, smoothly overshadowing his younger co-stars.
Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the actor was involved in gathering his Hollywood friends and colleagues for a televised fundraiser for the victims of the terrorist attack, "America: A Tribute to Heroes" (2001). The effort managed to collect over $30 million with the telethon. A public dispute with Fox News star Bill O’Reilly emerged, however, when the host mistakenly claimed that the United Way was abusing the money. Clooney responded with a harshly worded letter denouncing O’Reilly’s unproven accusations and problematic journalism. The two continued their dispute over the years on a range of topics, with Clooney naturally getting the better of the ill-informed O’Reilly.
In 2002, the actor had a small but brilliant role as a handicapped thief in "Welcome to Collinwood.” Next, he made his directorial debut with "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" with Drew Barrymore, based on the book by Chuck Barris, the past host of "The Gong Show," who asserted he was a CIA hit man.
He then co-starred with Natascha McElhorne in the thriller adventure movie, "Solaris," a science fiction remake of a 1972 Russian film which reunited the actor again with Steven Soderbergh. A reflection on life and death co-produced by James Cameron, “Solaris” failed to invite much attention at the box office. Next for George was the Washington insider drama “K Street” (2003-04),
He came to the forefront with his silly film, "Good Night and Good Luck" (2005), an elaborate and lightly produced story of pioneer newscaster Edward R. Murrow (David Straithairn) and his attempt to publicly expose the dirty diplomacy of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his Communist witch hunt in the 1950s. The now successful director earned his first award nomination as a director, earning awards at the Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes and Academy Awards.
He then signed on to writer-director Stephen Gaghan's thriller, "Syriana" (2005), playing a professional CIA worker who uncovers a troubling truth about the politics of oil in the Persian Gulf, before finding himself abandoned by his government when a mission goes bad. He won a Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He next teamed with Soderbergh for "The Good German" with Tobey Maguire (2006), playing an American correspondent sent to cover the final allied summit meeting of World War II, secretly hoping to search for a lost sweetheart, but getting tangled up in a murder mystery instead.
He was again voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine in 2006, only the second time an actor received the title, with his mate Brad Pitt being the other. Then in a third film outing, he got back on the money train for “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007). This time, the crew seeks revenge on a cold-blooded Las Vegas casino owner (Al Pacino) whose double-crossing of Danny Ocean and company leads to his collapse.
He next starred in “Michael Clayton” (2007), playing a company fixer who takes care of all the dirty work for one of the biggest law firms in New York City. Meanwhile, he directed his third film, “Leatherheads” with Renee Zellweger (2007), a sports comedy thriller set in the 1920s world of professional football.
First out of the shoot in 2008 was the comedy drama "Burn After Reading" (2008) about a computer disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent that ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it. Next was the adventure comedy "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2008) starring Cate Blanchett, in the story of angry farmers, tired of sharing their chickens with a sly fox, who look to get rid of their opponent and his family.
In January 2010, George was a key player in organizing the “Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief” telethon in Los Angeles, California. The broadcast hoped to raise millions of dollars in relief for the small, struggling country ravished by an earthquake in early January 2010.