|Famous For: Star Wars Prequel Trilogy||Currently Known For: Actress, Director, and Producer|
Currently Known For Actress, Director, and Producer
“I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruined my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” When it comes to having it all from beauty and brains to talent, fortune and fame, Natalie Portman reigns queen with a stellar career as an award-winning actress, producer and director. Born in Jerusalem in 1981 to a middleclass family where her father was a fertility specialist and gynecologist and her mother a homemaker, Portman and her parents moved to Washington, D.C. when she was three years old. Eventually moving to Connecticut before settling on Long Island in 1990, Portman’s parents placed a strong emphasis on education and enrolled her at Syosset High School where she learned to speak fluent Hebrew.
In addition to her studies, Portman was highly involved in dance and was studying ballet when a Revlon talent agent asked her to model for the company when she was only 10 years old. Ultimately knowing she wanted to focus on acting, the young Portman turned down the offer and continued to hone her skills at theater camps. By 1994, she wowed audiences as she made her feature film debut as an orphan child in Leon: The Professional.
Balancing both her schoolwork with her blossoming career as an actress with films like Heat and Beautiful Girls, Portman was still in high school when she was cast as Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. With filming starting in 1997 and taking two years to complete, Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace was finally released in May 1999 but there was a notable absence in the theater as Portman skipped opening night to study for her high school finals.
Never losing focus on her commitment to education, Portman’s hard work continued to pay off as she enrolled at Harvard in the fall of 1999 to study psychology. Once again balancing school and work, she starred in the second Star Wars film and even opened the New York City production of The Seagull in 2001. By 2003, she had her bachelor’s degree in hand as she transitioned back into acting with an award-winning performance in the 2004 drama Closer and Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith in 2005.
Spending the next decade in a string of blockbusters and independent hits including V for Vendetta, The Other Boleyn Girl, Thor and Black Swan, Portman has over 50 film credits to her name with 87 award nominations and 60 wins including an Academy Award and two Golden Globes. To top it off, she’s even shown her talent behind the camera after directing three films and producing eight projects with two more in the works. And, while some criticize her for being an overachiever, her work ethic is definitely paying off with the Harvard graduate currently worth $55 million and counting!
However, just because she brought in $15 million in 2015 alone doesn’t mean she’s quick to spend her hard-earned dollar. In fact, the actress is quite frugal compared to Hollywood standards and lives in a classic 1930s home on Linwood Drive in Los Angeles, California that she purchased for $3.25 million. Although the property stretches across 5,000 square feet, Portman’s home pales in comparison to her neighbors with only four bedrooms, two guestrooms and two bathrooms. With that being said, it’s still absolutely exquisite from its lush greenery that adds privacy and charm to the beautifully manicured lawn and sparkling swimming pool perfect for relaxing after a long day of filming.
Beyond her beautiful home and the occasional shopping spree where she might splurge on jewelry or designer clothes, Portman doesn’t spend a fortune on anything, not even her cars. Joining the ranks of her fellow celebrity friends and A-list neighbors, the noted animal rights advocate is often spotted cruising around in her environmentally conscious Toyota Prius. No shocker there, right? So, what exactly does she do with the rest of her hard-earned cash?
Aside from standing apart as a Harvard graduate and award-winning actress, Portman is known for her inherent drive to help others and is, undeniably, a philanthropist at heart. Over the course of her career, she has donated millions of dollars to those in need from supporting Syrian refugees to building a girls’ school in Kenya with nonprofits like Food Bank for New York City, the Legacy of Hope Foundation, The Lunchbox Fund and dozens of others.
On top of donating a nice chunk of change each year, the Thor star also helped launch FINCA’s Village Banking Campaign that brought financial services to over one million families by establishing 100,000 banks in some of the poorest villages in the world. But, her contributions don’t stop there. An avid advocate of environmental causes, animal rights and antipoverty movements, Portman puts her heart on the line each day as she works as a Free the Children ambassador promoting the “Power of a Girl” campaign. We can’t think of a better role model!