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Natalie Portman – Hollywood's Wunderkind
Natalie's grandparents on her father's side, the Edelsteins, came to America from Poland, then part of the Russian Empire, in the beginning of the XX century. They could not visit (or settle) in their historic motherland of Israel. Their dream was made real by their grandchildren – they moved to Jerusalem, where the future actress would be born.
It is said that Portman's grandparents on her mother's side were originally from Kishinev, Moldova, also part of the Russian Empire of the time, but this notion is still open to debate.
Her career started at a very early age. She started taking dancing lessons at the age of four, which later would play a big role in her career: in 2010 she skillfully portrayed a ballerina in Black Swan, earning accolades from critics for both her outstanding acting and natural performance (although debates still persist as to how much of the dancing in the movie she did herself), plus won an Oscar and a Golden Globe!
When Natalie was just 10, talent scouts from Revlon offered her a career in modeling and advertising. The girl, being intelligent beyond her years and possessing foresight to be envied, declined the lucrative offer, saying that she'd rather pursue a career of dancing and acting. Very soon, this decision would prove to be a wise one...
At the age of 12 she went to the casting for Luc Besson's Leon: The Professional (1993) and got the now-classic role of the underage companion of a killer. A string of other roles followed, including the one of Padmé Amidala in the financially (though not critically) successful Star Wars prequel trilogy (1997), as well as in Closer (2004), with the latter bringing her an Oscar nomination and her first Golden Globe award.
In 2009, during the filming of Black Swan, Natalie became enamored with ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied, who worked as the choreographer for the picture. Soon she announced her pregnancy and plans to marry Millepied, plans that would be fulfilled the following year. In 2011 she gave birth to her son Aleph Portman-Millepied and announced new plans, which are yet to be fulfilled: moving to France and acquiring French citizenship in addition to the American and Israeli ones!
The young actress did not concentrate on cinema alone – she performed on Broadway, playing the role of Anne Frank in an adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank (1997).
Natalie has been a political and social activist of note, campaigning against poverty and for human rights all across the globe; while taking part in various humanitarian programs by UN, she made trips to some of the poorest and dangerous countries in Africa, South America and Asia.
In addition to being a successful movie star, Natalie Portman achieved success in self-development and scholarly subjects: she holds a psychology degree from Harvard and even studied under the famous lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
"Queen of Hearts: Natalie Portman" by James L. Dickerson (2002)
"Natalie Portman: The Prodigy Comes of Age" by Andrew Collins, The Observer (January 2, 2011)

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