Natalie Portman has a beauty that can be either glamorous or appealingly understated. She also has
brains and an Ivy League education in psychology.
Portman was born in Jerusalem in 1981, but was raised in New York from the age of 3. Her father was
a doctor; her mother, an artist. At age 12, she co-starred in Luc Besson's "The Professional" with Jean Reno and Gary
Oldman. She was part of impressive ensemble casts in 1995's "Heat" and in three 1996 films: "Mars Attacks!",
"Everyone Says I Love You" and "Beautiful Girls". 1997 brought "The Diary of Anne Frank" on Broadway, where she stayed
until mid-'98. After voicing a part in "The Prince of Egypt", she took the part of Queen Amidala in "The Phantom Menace"
(1999) and became a superstar. 1999 also brought her first major award nomination, at the Golden Globes for "Anywhere
But Here". 2000 brought the chick flick "Where The Heart Is", which had a fine cast (including Ashley Judd, Stockard
Channing, and an appearance by Sally Field) but was too much of a Wal-Mart commercial for my tastes. Since then, she's
reprised the role of Amidala in "Attack of the Clones" (2002), and has also appeared in the acclaimed "Cold Mountain" (2003)
and Zach Braff's well-reviewed indie film "Garden State" (2004).