"I don't care a lot about my looks; I don't even have a personal stylist. It is unmanly and unsexy if you always worry about it." George Clooney
One of Hollywood’s most eligible hunks, actor George Clooney gained initial fame as pediatrician Dr. Doug Ross on the NBC medical drama series “ER” (1994-1999). He later graced the silver screen and gathered more recognition while acting in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), One Fine Day (1996), Batman & Robin (1997), The Peacemaker (1997), Out of Sight (1998), Three Kings (1999), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, Clooney won a Golden Globe), The Perfect Storm (2000) and Intolerable Cruelty (2003). The actor, who played Danny Ocean in Ocean's Eleven (2001) and Ocean's Twelve (2004), also tried his hand in directing. He helmed and acted in 2002's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and 2005's Good Night, and Good Luck.
Of Irish-American decent, George Clooney, who stands at 5' 11" tall, was the second man, after Richard Gere, to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine. He was named People Magazine’s "Sexiest Man Alive" and "Best Dressed Male Television Star" in 1997. One of People (USA) magazine’s "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" (1996), Clooney was also on People Magazine's "Top 50 Bachelors" (2002) and “10 Top Sexiest Men” (2003) lists.
"I don't like to share my personal life... it wouldn't be personal if I shared it." George Clooney
On a more personal note, Clooney, who was once married to actress Talia Balsam and says will never get married again nor have any children, was linked to several beauties. He once dated Lisa Snowdon (British model and TV presenter, b. 1974; dated 2000 to June 2005), Traylor Howard (actress; b. June 14, 1966; dated in 2000), Brooke Langton (actress; b. November 27, 1970; dated in 1999), Celine Balitran, (French model; b. October 31, 1974; 1996-1999), Kimberly Russell (actress, model; together briefly mid-1995), DeDee Pfeiffer (actress; sister of Michelle Pfeiffer), Denise Crosby (actress), Renee Zellweger (actress; reportedly dated in mid-90s; both sides deny relationship) and Kelly Preston (1987-1989).
Clooney admirers will soon watch him in the upcoming films Syriana, Michael Clayton and The Good German.
Childhood and Family:
In a family fully familiar with the spotlight, George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky to TV anchor father Nick Clooney (b. January 13, 1935) and former first runner-up Miss Kentucky, Nina Bruce Clooney. His uncle is actor Jose Ferrer (b. January 8, 1912; died on January 26, 1992), his aunt is jazz singer Rosemary Clooney (b. May 23, 1928; died on June 29, 2002 from complications of lung cancer) and his cousin is actor Miguel Ferrer (b. February 7, 1955). George also has one sister, Ada Zeidler (accountant; b. 1959).
George Clooney enrolled at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He studied acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse and later with Milton Katselas. On December 15, 1989, he tied the knot with actress Talia Balsam (born on January 1, 1960), but they divorced in September 1993. A Dallas Mavericks fan, Clooney has a black pot bellied pig named Max (a gift from then-girlfriend Kelly Preston) and two bulldogs called Lou and Bud.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
"It's not about an opening weekend. It's about a career; building a set of films you're proud of, period." George Clooney
Initially desiring to be a professional baseball player, George Clooney, who first appeared on TV in his father's local Cincinnati talk show "The Nick Clooney Show" at age 5, worked as a floor manager on his father's TV show (1974-1979) and once worked as tobacco cutter. After failing to join the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, 21-year-old Clooney packed for Los Angeles, where he lived with his aunt, Rosemary Clooney, and became her handyman and chauffeur. He became interested in acting when his cousin Miguel Ferrer gave him a part as an extra in the feature film And They're Off. He also received his first professional job for a stereo commercial and made his film acting debut in the unreleased movie Grizzly II--The Predator (some sources mentioned it was filmed in 1984, others in 1987), starring Charlie Sheen.
Clooney became a TV series regular as a young orderly named Ace (1984-1985) in the CBS medical sitcom "E/R" (with Elliott Gould, Mary McDonnell and Jason Alexander). He followed it up with the reoccurring role of carpenter George Burnett (1985-1986) on the hit NBC comedy "The Facts of Life" and an appearance on the NBC movie Combat High (1986). The next year, Clooney played Tom Bennett in the failed NBC comedy pilot "Bennett Brothers" and portrayed a drug dealer in a production of "Vicious" at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
After appearing in Bill Froehlich's horror comedy Return to Horror High (1987), Clooney costarred with John Astin and Anthony Starke in John De Bello's horror satire The Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988). He also played the reoccurring role of Booker, the male chauvinist boss, on the ABC’s "Roseanne" from November 1988 to October 1991.
In the early 1990s, Clooney appeared in Red Surf and Knights of the Kitchen Table (TV). He was also cast in the ABC movie and brief-running detective series "Sunset Beat" and the ABC sitcom "Baby Talk," playing a construction worker named Joe. After refusing Quentin Tarantino's request to read for a role in Reservoir Dogs, Clooney was seen in Unbecoming Age, "Bodies of Evidence" (TV Series, as Det. Ryan Walker (1992-1993), Without Warning: Terror in the Towers (TV) and The Harvest. He then played Detective James Falconer (1993-1994), a married policeman who becomes involved with Teddy Reed (Sela Ward), on NBC series "Sisters."
1994 was Clooney breakout year. He snagged the regular role of pediatrician Dr. Douglas Ross on the NBC huge hit medical drama series "ER" and stayed on the series until 1999. Thanks to the breakthrough role, Clooney won Screen Actors Guild Awards several times (shared with the series cast members). He hosted "Saturday Night Live" and guest starred in an episode of the popular series "Friends" in February of 1995. In the following year, Clooney established Maysville Pictures (formerly Left Bank Productions), named for the Kentucky town in which he grew up.
Now being a household name, Clooney received more significant roles on the silver screen. He played one of the notorious Gecko brothers, with Quentin Tarantino, in Robert Rodriguez' From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and earned an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance. That same year, Clooney played a hard-driving newspaper columnist, opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, in Michael Hoffman's One Fine Day. He also won the title role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in Joel Schumacher’s sequel Batman & Robin (1997).
"They say I was a bad Batman, that it was my fault, that I buried the franchise. But the truth is, it was a big f---ing project. I was pretty intimidated in that world. I did the best I could in the situation I was given." George Clooney
Director Mimi Leder handed Clooney the lead role of a brash Special Forces Intelligence officer, opposite Nicole Kidman, in the big screen adaptation of the writings of investigative journalists Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, in The Peacemaker (1997) and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh cast him to play an escaped bank robber in his critically-acclaimed adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, Out of Sight (1998). Clooney then made a cameo appearance in Terrence Malick's WWII drama The Thin Red Line.
Clooney lent his voice to Sparky the dog on an episode of the Comedy Central animated series "South Park" (September 1997) and later provided his voice for Dr. Gouache/Dr. Doctor in its big screen version, Trey Parker's South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999). Clooney ended the 1990s by joining Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube to star in David O. Russell's highly-praised post Gulf War movie, Three Kings, and received a Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Action Team (shared with Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube). Behind the screen, he signed separate two-year development deals with CBS and Warner Bros and wrote and executive produced the HBO comedy series pilot "Kilroy." He also formed the production company Section Eight with Steven Soderbergh.
The new millennium saw Clooney executive produce and act on CBS’ adaptation of the Cold War novel by Harvey Wheeler and Eugene Burdick, the live, two-hour broadcast of Fail Safe, helmed by Stephen Frears. He also took home a Golden Globe for his starring role as prisoner Ulysses Everett McGill in the Coen brothers' film that is loosely based on Homer's epic poem The Odyssey, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (with John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson). On his performance in the film, Clooney mentioned, "Probably the best movie I'll ever be in, in my life."
Wolfgang Petersen then offered Clooney the starring role of a sword-fishing-boat captain in his adaptation of Sebastian Junger's book, The Perfect Storm (reunited with Mark Wahlberg). Afterward, Steven Soderbergh gave him the starring role of wry, charismatic robber Danny Ocean in his star-studded remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001, with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts) and Clooney later reprised his role in its 2004 installment, Ocean's Twelve.
"It was the easiest shoot ever for any actor, and we all knew it when we were doing it. We were like, ‘it's never going to be better than this.’ He [Steven Soderbergh] was in hell because it was a really complicated film to put together. We were like, ‘we're in Las Vegas, we go to work at one in the afternoon and we gotta be done by six at night.’ Six hours of work. Steven was editing all night." George Clooney (on making Ocean's Eleven (2001).
In writer-director Robert Rodriguez' family movie Spy Kids (2001), Clooney appeared as Devlin and reappeared in its next sequel, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). He was also busy behind the screen, executive-producing the true-story comedy "Rock Star" (starring Mark Wahlberg) and producing Marc Rocco's The Jacket, alongside Steven Soderbergh.
"Directing is really exciting. In the end, it's more fun to be the painter than the paint." George Clooney
Clooney made his feature directional debut with the biographical comedy Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002, starring Sam Rockwell, Clooney also played a supporting role), based on the book by Gong Show host Chuck Barris. The film presented Clooney Berlin International Film Festival and National Board of Review Awards. Being asked about his first directing project, Clooney admitted, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) bombed. But I can take it. Most of the films I've done haven't done particularly well. I'm surprised I'm continuing to work".
Back on the screen, Clooney played a small, but memorable, role as a crippled felon in the Russo brothers’ Cannes-screened crime comedy Welcome to Collinwood and starred in Steven Soderberg’s film adopted from Stanislaw Lem's novel, Solaris (both in 2002). Later that year, Clooney portrayed the lead role of Catherine Zeta-Jones' husband, a slick Beverly Hills divorce attorney, in the Coen brothers' feature Intolerable Cruelty.
As for directing, Clooney’s second directorial feature, Good Night, and Good Luck (2005, Clooney also acted as producer Fred Friendly), won critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival and was chosen to open the 43rd New York film festival. Commenting on the film that tells about the real-life conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the House Un-American Activities Committee, Clooney explained, “The Patriot Act is going to be voted on in October, so it’s an interesting time to be involved in a debate over whether fear should be used to take away some of our civil liberties.”
In June 2005, Clooney, who has his own film and television production company called Maysville Pictures, was honored at the 27 LA Film Festival for his long-time support of independent filmmakers and art-house cinema. As for his upcoming film projects, Clooney just completed Stephen Gaghan's geopolitical thriller, inspired by the real-life memoirs of CIA agent Robert Baer (played by Clooney), Syriana, alongside Matt Damon and Amanda Peet. He will also team with Steven Soderbergh again in his adaptation of Joseph Kanon's novel, The Good German, costarring with Cate Blanchett to portray post-war lovers, and will play the title role of a New York attorney in writer-director Tony Gilroy's thriller drama Michael Clayton.
"I don't believe in happy endings, but I do believe in happy travels, because ultimately...you die at a very young age, or you live long enough to watch your friends die. It's a mean thing, life."
- Berlin International Film Festival: Golden Berlin Bear, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, 2003
- National Board of Review: Special Achievement Award, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, 2002
- Golden Globe: Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 2000
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Action Team, Three Kings (shared with Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube), 2000
- Golden Camera (Germany): Film and TV – International, 2000
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, ER (shared award), 1999
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series, ER (shared award), 1998
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series, ER (award shared), 1997
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series, ER (award shared), 1996
- MTV Movie: Best Breakthrough Performance, From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996