Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Natalie Hershlag (stage name Natalie Portman; born 9 June, 1981) is an Israeli–American actress. The name "Portman" is taken from her grandmother's maiden name. Her ethnic background is Polish-Jewish.
She was born in Jerusalem but her family soon relocated to the United States, first Maryland, then Connecticut, before finally settling down in Long Island, New York. She was discovered in a pizza parlor at the age of eleven by an agent for Revlon, who wanted her to model. Soon thereafter she was introduced to acting talent scouts and made her movie début at the age of twelve playing a child who befriends a much older assassin in Luc Besson's movie Léon (aka "The Professional").
During her teen years Portman went on to star in the movie Beautiful Girls and had a minor role in Everyone Says I Love You. She was one of many celebrities who played themselves in the comedy Zoolander. Portman was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in 1999 for her role as Ann August in Anywhere But Here.
While pursuing her Bachelors degree in Psychology at Harvard she appeared in the Star Wars prequel trilogy of movies, which were filmed during her summer break from school. Among Star Wars fans she is known for playing the role of Padmé Naberrie in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and the soon to be released Revenge of the Sith.
After graduating from Harvard in 2003 Natalie had a small role as a young war widow in the Oscar winning movie Cold Mountain. That was followed in 2004 by starring roles in the successful independent movies Garden State and Closer, winning a Supporting Actress Golden Globe for her role as Alice in Closer. She was also nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar for the same role.
As of 2005 Portman is pursuing graduate studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Israeli Police chased her away from Jerusalem's Western Wall after protests by religious Jews who were praying at the holy site. She and actor Aki Avni were kissing next to the Wall for a movie called "Free Zone ." This was deemed to be immodest for the holy site. Men who were praying heckled the couple until police stepped in and suggested they return later. The site is under the authority of Orthodox Judaism and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch , who is responsible for the site, said the actors' conduct violated the code of conduct. 
Portman has been a vegetarian since she was eight years old.
Portman was interviewed for the August 2004 issue of Allure magazine; in that article, she was quoted as saying "Oh my God! I'm not black, but I know what it feels like!" This prompted her to follow up with a letter to their editor:
- I am writing to offer my most sincere apologies for not being as articulate as I could have been regarding my thoughts on W. E. B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk . My lack of eloquence, combined with my words being taken out of context, led to the printing of a statement of mine that I found personally offensive.
- Léon (1994)
- Developing (short) (1995)
- Heat (1995)
- Beautiful Girls (1996, directed by Ted Demme)
- Everyone Says I Love You (1996, written and directed by Woody Allen)
- Mars Attacks! (1996, directed by Tim Burton)
- Anywhere But Here (1999)
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Where the Heart Is (2000)
- Zoolander (2001)
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Cold Mountain (2003, written and directed by Anthony Minghella)
- Garden State (2004, written and directed by Zach Braff)
- True (2004, directed by Tom Tykwer)
- Closer (2004, directed by Mike Nichols)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- The Diary Of Anne Frank (1999)
- The Seagull (2001)
- Frontal Lobe Activation during Object Permanence a 2002 article (PDF) co-authored by Portman (as her real name: Hershlag)
- http://natalieportman.org – fan website
- http://natalieempire.com – Natalie Portman Empire, fan website
- http://natalieportman.com – fan website
- Natalie Portman Image Gallery
- http://portman-online.com – fan website
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