biography, filmography, films, DVDs
Article added on March
Biography of Julia Roberts
Julie Fiona Roberts was born in
1967 in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1972, her family moved to Smyrna, Georgia, where Julia grew up.
She attended Fitzhugh Lee Elementary School,
Griffin Middle School and Campbell High School in Smyrna.
Julia is the daughter of Walter Roberts, a vacuum cleaner salesman,
an actor and a writer. Her mother Betty was a church secretary
and an actress. They founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop
in the 1960s. Julia's sister Lisa (*1965) and her brother Eric (*1956) are
actors too. Julia also has a half-sister, Nancy Motes. Julia's parents, Walter and Betty,
married in 1955 and divorced in 1971 when Julia was 4. The father stayed
with her brother Eric in Atlanta. Julia moved with her sister Lisa and
her mother to Smyrna. Her father worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman, her
mother Betty as a secretary. Julia's father died of cancer
when she was 9.
After graduating from Campbell High School in 1985,
Julia moved to New York where she joined her older sister Lisa in order to
pursue an acting career. At first, she worked as a model. Her first big
screen part came in 1986 with the western Blood Red. Her brother
Eric had already made several films and been nominated for an Oscar for
his role in Andrei Konchalovsky's Runaway Train with Rebecca
DeMornay and Jon Voight. In Blood Red, Julia only played a small
part as the sister of her brother Eric who was the leading man. Dennis
Hopper, Giancarlo Giannini and Burt Young were the other main members of
the cast. The film was directed by Peter Masterson and released in the US
in 1988. In Germany, the film was only released on video, as late as
Julia's acting debut before an audience came
in 1987 with the TV series Crime Story. She played a sexually
abused teenager. The producer Michael Mann later also gave her a part in
an episode of his Miami Vice TV series, where she played a
gangster's secretary who gets involved with Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson).
During the next year and a half, the former "Miss Panthera" from
Smyrna auditioned for TV commercials and film parts. After an appearance
in the TV series Spenser: For Hire, she was finally
offered larger roles.
Julia's first bigger part was in 1987 with Satisfaction,
a film considered to be the vehicle to stardom for the leading woman of the sitcom Family
Ties, Justine Bateman. The teenager comedy was nothing to be proud of.
On the set, the 20-year old Julia fell in love with fellow actor Liam
Neeson - twice her age - with whom she lived some time in Venice.
Also in 1987, Julia shot Baja Oklahoma,
a cable TV movie in which she played the wild daughter of Lesley Ann
Warren and Mystic Pizza, which marked Julia's breakthrough on the
big screen. Released in 1988, the movie was set in a pizzeria in Mystic, a
small East-Coast town in Connecticut and tells the story of three young
women. It is the type of low budget film which lets the studios test
new directing and acting talents. Donald Petrie's debut film is no
masterpiece but it made several times what it had cost. Her role as
a Portuguese waitress was the beginning of Julia Roberts' career.
One year later, Steel Magnolias made Julia
"America's Sweetheart". As the daughter of Sally Field, she
convinced to the point that she won a Golden Globe and deserved an Oscar
nomination as Best
Supporting Actress in 1990. With Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Daryl
Hannah and Olympia Dukakis, the film united a series of female stars.
Sally Field became a good friend who subsequently helped Julia in
In 1990, Pretty Woman was released.
The film made over $178 million, more than twice as much as Steel
Magnolias which had already been a major commercial success. In the
role of the prostitute Vivian Ward opposite Richard Gere, Julia got a
second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress - and she became a
superstar. Initially, Pretty Woman was thought as social drama without
a happy ending. But with the Disney subsiduary Buena Vista buying the rights
and Garry Marshall as director, the concept was completely changed. Vivian
was no longer a drug addicted whore. Instead, the movie became a romantic
fairy-tale for adults.
With the psycho-thriller Sleeping With The Enemy and
Flatliners, her commercial success continued. For both films, she
had been cast before the success of Pretty Woman. The former
director of advertising films, Joel Schumacher, used stereotype
repetitions in Flatliners. There are too many death experiences
without substantial changes. Still, the movie was a success. Julia's
co-star, Kiefer Sutherland, became her new boyfriend. He separated from his
wife and child. Kiefer was in the shadow of Julia and - as the press
reported - began to consume excessive amounts of alcohol. They were officially engaged in
March 1991 and the wedding was planned for June 14. But there was also
a photograph in the press showing Sutherland with an unknown woman. It was
revealed that she was a stripper. Three days before the wedding, Julia
cancelled it. Jason Roberts, who had starred beside Kiefer Sutherland in
Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys, became Julia's new boyfriend.
In 1991, the tearjerker Dying Young
with Julia was a failure. Joel Schumacher's movie about a woman working
for a rich young man with cancer proves once more that the director would
have done better to stick with his advertising job. He tries to sell a story -
instead of telling one.
Julia Roberts' next film was Steven Spielberg's Peter Pan adaptation
with Robin Williams as the leading man. Although Hook made over
$100 million, it received justified harsh comments by critics. Julia in
the role of Tinkerbell, the tiny good fairy who brings Peter Pan back to
Neverland, was able to convince critics with her natural charms, whereas
director Steven Spielberg got a fair share of criticism.
In 1992, Julia appeared in a small part as
Julia Roberts in Robert Altman's Hollywood satire The Player.
She is an innocent woman in a death cell, at the last moment rescued by
Bruce Willis. In 1993, Julia co-starred
Pelican Brief, beside Denzel Washington, one of her better films.
Julia had another celebrity
romance with singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett which, this time, ended in marriage.
Less than two years later, the two separated but are said to have remained close friends.
On the big screen, success became rare too. In the romantic thriller I
Love Trouble (1994) with Nick Nolte, she played not only a journalist,
but for the first time in her career, she had to show her comic side.
Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter was a commercial and artistic
failure. In the film, she played a fashion reporter. In the marital drama Something
To Talk About (1995), Julia unsuccessfully tried for the first time to
play a mother. In my eyes, Julia gave her best performance - together with
the Oscar winning performance of Erin Brockovich in 2000 - in Mary
Reilly. But at the box office, Stephen Frears version of Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde was a flop. The same happened to Neil Jordan's drama
about the Irish rebel Michael Collins (Liam Neeson). In both films,
Julia Roberts was far from her image as the romantic comedy star - and the
public did not appreciate it. But in Mary Reilly, as a modest
employee of Dr. Jekyll, Julia was able to show that she can play a complex
character. The film as such was no masterpiece. Therefore, Julia was not
even nominated for an Oscar. On the contrary, she received some
In 1996, she was part of Woody Allen's Everyone Says I
Love You. Although no commercial success in the US - none of Allen's films
have been - it was praised by critics. In 1997, Julia returned to her
former box-office glory. The romantic comedy My Best Friend's
Wedding opened to the highest-ever single weekend ticket sales for
such a film and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Since then, all her
films have become major box-office successes. Julia Roberts is the only
female superstar - a woman who can make a film a success by her simple
presence. Her hits include the thriller Conspiracy Theory
with Mel Gibson (1997), the family drama Stepmom (1998) with Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris,
in which Sarandon plays a woman dying from cancer who tries to educate
Roberts to raise her children, the
romantic comedy Notting Hill (1999) with Hugh Grant as a bookstore
owner, Runaway Bride (1999) with Richard Gere and Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich (2000).
Oscar for Best Actress with the title role
in Erin Brockovich, a film based on
true story. Julia plays a twice-divorced mother
of three young children with no money and no job: Erin Brockovich. Following a car accident in which
she is innocent, she
finds herself even worse off when her attorney fails to provide her any
financial justice. Erin decides to ask her attorney Ed
Masry (Albert Finney) to hire her at his law firm. While working for Masry,
Erin discovers medical records placed in real
estate files. She starts to investigate the dubious case and discovers a cover-up
involving contaminated water in a local community which is causing illnesses among its residents. Erin's insistence
makes her overcome the local residents initial opposition to her
involvement and wins her their trust. Going door to door, she signs up over 600
plaintiffs. With the help of a major law firm, Erin and Ed manage to get $333 million, the largest
settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history. It is the
classical story of the underdog fighting a powerful enemy as well as the
story of the American dream: You can make it if you really try hard.
has her own production company: Shoelace. Among its films are the remake of
Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief, the true story about an Australian outback odyssey From Alice to Ocean
and the remake of George Cukor's The
Photograph from the biography
in German by Meinolf Zurhorst: Julia Roberts. Heyne, Munich, 1999 (1992), 216 p.
This article is based on Zurhorst's book.
Get it from Amazon.de.
2001 The Mexican (released on March 2, 2001, it made over $58 million at
the US box office in March 2001 alone)
1999 Runaway Bride $152,149,000
1999 Notting Hill $116,006,000
1998 Stepmom $91,030,000
1997 My Best Friend's Wedding $126,805,000
1997 Conspiracy Theory $76,081,000
1996 Michael Collins $11,030,000
1996 Everyone Says I Love You $9,714,000
1996 Mary Reilly $5,600,000
1995 Something to Talk About $50,892,000
1994 Prêt-à-Porter $5,860,000
1994 I Love Trouble $30,806,000
1993 The Pelican Brief $100,768,000
1992 The Player $21,706,000
1991 Hook $119,654,000
1991 Sleeping with the Enemy $101,580,000
1991 Dying Young $33,669,000
1990 Flatliners $61,490,000
1990 Pretty Woman $178,406,000
1989 Steel Magnolias $83,759,000
1989 Mystic Pizza $12,793,000
1987 Satisfaction $8,253,000
1987 Baja Oklahoma
1986 Blood Red (released in 1988)
Awards, Oscars, Golden Globes
2001 Oscar Best Actress for Erin Brockovich.
1991 Oscar Nomination Best Actress for Pretty Woman.
1990 Oscar Nomination Best Supporting Actress for Steel Magnolias.
Globe Best Actress for Erin Brockovich (as well as National
Board of Review, People's Choice Awards and BAFTA film awards in London).
2000 Golden Globe Nomination Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion
Picture - Comedy/Musical for Notting Hill.
1998 Golden Globe Nomination Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion
Picture - Comedy/Musical for My Best Friend's Wedding in 1998.
1991 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion
Picture - Comedy/Musical for Pretty Woman.
1990 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a supporting
role in a Motion Picture for Steel Magnolias.