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ANGELINA JOLIE - On Movies and Motherhood by Kaya Morgan

Ranked as one of the top 25 stars of 2004, no other actress combines physical beauty and natural talent more provocatively than Angelina Jolie. With the 20th Century Fox cinematic release of Angelina Jolie coupled with superstrar Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, fans are all hot and bothered again over Angelina's exotic combination of beauty, talent and deadly charm. In this latest sexy, action, adventure film, we are once again mesmerized with her ability to portray a picture-perfect suburban housewife and owner of a temp agency married to a shipping industry executive (Pitt), who are both undercover assassins hopping the world and killing for hire until each finds out that the next target is their own spouse.

In just a few short years, Jolie has become one of the highest-paid and sought after actors in the entertainment industry. Having earned three Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, there's no question she is a gifted performer. And, although most people would say that Angelina's lips make her sexy, we think it's her cat eyes that really make her male fans want to roll over and purr….

Born June 4, 1975 , the daughter of former actress Marcheline Bertrand and Oscar Award winner Jon Voight, Jolie admits that her mother influenced her at a young age by frequently taking her to theatrical performances. Yet, it was her father that engineered her first screen debut at age 5 in the Hal Ashby-directed comedy Looking to Get Out , an obscure film starring and written by father Jon. Seriously bitten by the acting bug by age 11, she began studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute where she staged numerous theatrical productions while flirting with the idea of becoming a funeral director. She says, “There's something about death that is comforting. The thought you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate your life now.”

If rules were made to be broken, Angelina was made to break them. Striking out on her own at age 16, she worked as a professional model in London , New York and Los Angeles , appearing in music videos for Meatloaf, Lenny Kravitz, the Lemonheads and the Rolling Stones. But her inner search continued, “I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but I knew I could know. I loved some kind of expression. I wanted so much to try to explain things to somebody. I'm very good at trying to explore different emotions, listen to people and feel things.”

So her desire to act brought her back to study film at New York University until she headed for Los Angeles to continue studies in a more formal setting at the Met Theatre Group alongside such esteemed alumni as Ed Harris and Holly Hunter. During the same time, Angelina played a series of roles in five student films directed by brother James Haven (Voight) during his studies at the University of Southern California , School of Cinema .

While working on her second film, Hackers (1995), she met and subsequently married British actor, Jonny Lee Miller. Her wild, bad girl image began emerging when she showed up for the wedding dressed in black rubber pants and white shirt with the groom's name written in her own blood across the back. A sign of things to come, the marriage was short lived when they divorced only a year later.

A slew of films followed – small scale, character driven Indies including Without Evidence (1995), Mojave Moon (1996), Foxfire (1996), Love Is All There Is (1996), Playing God (1997), and on the small screen in a handful of exceptional productions including as a Texas pioneer in the 1997 CBS historical miniseries True Women. Then, later in 1997, she gained the respect of critics with her impassioned and intense portrayal of Cornelia Wallace in the TNT miniseries, George Wallace earning her a Golden Globe, and an Emmy nomination. Her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and a Screen Actors Guild Award came in 1998 for the HBO film, Gia for her dazzling portrayal of a drug-addicted, out of control New York model diagnosed with AIDS. But she really pushed her emotional and physical boundaries to the limits as the seductive sociopath in Girl, Interrupted (2000) for which her dramatic skills finally garnered an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Angelina describes how she confronts acting by saying, “Acting is not pretending or lying. It's finding a side of yourself that's the character and ignoring your other sides. And there's a side of me that wonders what's wrong with being completely honest.” Jolie has starred in edge-of-your-seat thrillers like The Bone Collector (1999) and Taking Lives (2004); as a tough young car thief in Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000); or, in a kick-ass portrayal of the lissome Laura Croft in the blockbuster hits Tomb Raider (2001) and Laura Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (2003) where this seductive action hero did her own stunts; then switching her image with a role as Catherine the Great in Oliver Stone's Alexander (2004), or in the challenging all-green-screen film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004).

Angelina hasn't known how to tread the middle of the road if it was marked with fluorescent paint. Her unconventional lifestyle has kept her squarely in the tabloids with admissions of bisexuality and wild S/M sex, discussions about her dagger collection; her much publicized break with father, Jon Voight; the controversial kiss with brother Jamie at the 2000 Academy Awards; and her anniversary gift of matching grave plots along with the added notoriety surrounding the vial of blood she once wore around her neck while married to actor Billy Bob Thornton (2000-2002).

Although with looks like hers, she may not ever need to go under the plastic surgeon's knife, she has adorned that voluptuous body with a series of tattoos including the letter H on the inside of her left wrist, A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages (Tennessee Williams) on her left forearm, a dragon on her left arm, the Chinese character for death on the back of her left shoulder, two pointy black tribals on the lower parts of her back, Quod me nutrit me destruit (Latin for “What nourishes me destroys me”) several inches below her navel, a tilted Latin cross on her lower left abdomen, and a large Asian tiger on her back. She has gone on record as saying that a positive effect of the large number of tattoos on her body has resulted in filmmakers being more creative when plotting any nude or love scenes.

Although Angelina Jolie may be eccentric, she's also highly intelligent and has a heart of pure gold. As a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees since 2001, her altruistic nature doesn't receive much press coverage. It's a little known fact that she gives away one-third (millions) of her income to a host of humanitarian causes, and has donated over $3.2 million alone to protect north-western Cambodia's 100 Elephants Forest, home to the country's rare wild tigers and elephants along with funding a well and 12 school buildings. She has even won praise from former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell who said, “We are so thankful that there are beautiful souls like Angelina. People who so selflessly turn their compassion into action and not just words.”

Today, this once controversial, most un-Hollywood type actress seems to have finally discovered a normal life. One that revolves around being a mother to her adopted Cambodian son, Maddox, whom Angelina enthusiastically admits is the one true joy of her life. “I'm a mother now, and that's a lot crazier than anything else I've done in my life,” she says. She has recently expanded their family with a sister for Maddox from Ethiopia. They live just outside London in Oxfordshire, England, a place she discovered while filming The Cradle of Life.

For resume and more stories by writer Kaya Morgan click the link.

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