Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, to a Jewish family. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie’s agent.
She left Israel for Washington, D.C., when she was still very young. After a few more moves, her family finally settled in New York, where she still lives to this day. Natalie graduated with honors, and her academic achievements allowed her to attend Harvard University.
She was discovered by an agent in a pizza parlor at the age of 11. She was pushed towards a career in modeling but she decided that she would rather pursue a career in acting.
Natalie was featured in many live performances, but she made her powerful film debut in the movie Léon: The Professional (1994) (aka “Léon”). Following this role Natalie won roles in such films as Heat(1995), Beautiful Girls (1996), and Mars Attacks! (1996).
Natalie Portman Facts
- Her full name is Neta-Lee Hershlag and later became Natalie Portman.
- Natalie has been a a a vegetarian since she was just 8 years old.
- She took a liking to acting after spending three summers at the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Camp.
- Natalie had to miss the premiere of the 1999 “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” so she could study for her high school final exams.
- Portman graduated with honors from Harvard College in 2003 with an A.B. in psychology. She once said, I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruined my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”
- Natalie is a near genius, with an IQ score of 140.
- She’s multi-lingual – she can speak Hebrew, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
- Natalie Portman won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for her role in the drama, ‘Closer.’
- Natalie Portman gave birth to their son Aleph Portman-Millepied in June 2011
- In July 2013, Portman announced she had chosen an adaptation of Israeli author Amos Oz’s autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness as her directorial feature debut. Portman will also star in the film and was a co-writer on the script.