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George Timothy Clooney (born May 6, 1961) is an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. Clooney has balanced his performances in big-budget blockbusters with work as a producer and director behind commercially riskier projects, as well as social and liberal political activism. On January 31, 2008, the United Nations named Clooney a "Messenger of Peace."

Early life

Clooney was born in Lexington, Kentuckymarker. His mother, Nina Bruce (née Warren), was a former pageant queen; his father, Nick, is a journalist, anchorman, game show, and American Movie Classics host, and an aspiring politician from the state of Kentuckymarker. Clooney was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He has an older sister, Adelia (also known as Ada), and his cousins include actors Miguel and Rafael Ferrer, who are the sons of his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, and actor José Ferrer. He is also related to another singer, Debby Boone, who married José and Rosemary's son, Gabriel Ferrer. From an early age, Clooney would hang around his father's sets, often participating in shows, where he proved to be a crowd favorite.

Clooney began his education at the Blessed Sacrament School in Fort Mitchell, Kentuckymarker. Spending part of his childhood in Ohiomarker, he attended St. Michael's School in Columbusmarker, St. Susanna School in Masonmarker, Ohio. In middle school, Clooney developed Bell's palsy, a debilitating condition that partially paralyzes the face. The malady went away within a year. "That was the worst time of my life," he told the Mirror in 2003. "You know how cruel kids can be. I was mocked and taunted, but the experience made me stronger."

His parents eventually moved to Augustamarker, Kentucky, where Clooney attended Augusta High School. He has stated that he earned all As and a B in school, and was an enthusiastic baseball and basketball player. He had considered a career in Law at this time, but later retracted. He tried out with the Cincinnati Reds in 1977 to play professional baseball, but was not offered a contract. He did not pass the first round of player cuts. He attended Northern Kentucky Universitymarker from 1979 to 1981 and, very briefly, the University of Cincinnatimarker, but did not graduate from either. He had such odd jobs as selling mens' suits and cutting tobacco.

Career

Early roles

His first major role came in 1984 in the sitcom E/R (not be confused with ER, which was a decade later). He played a handyman on the series The Facts of Life. He played Bobby the detective on one episode of The Golden Girls. His first significant break was a semi-regular supporting role in the sitcom Roseanne, playing Roseanne Barr's overbearing boss Booker Brooks, followed by the role of a construction worker on Baby Talk and then as a sexy detective on Sisters. In 1988, Clooney also played a role in Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

Initial success

Clooney achieved stardom when he was selected to play Dr. Doug Ross, opposite Anthony Edwards's and Noah Wyle's character on the hit NBC drama ER from 1994 to 1999 and returned for a guest spot in the show's 15th and final season. Clooney was also partnered with Deborah Leoni in their production company Mirador Entertainment.

Clooney began in movies while appearing in ER, his first major Hollywood role being From Dusk till Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriguez. He followed its success with One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer and The Peacemaker with Nicole Kidman, the latter being the initial feature length release from Dreamworks SKGmarker studio. Clooney was then cast as the new Batman (succeeding Val Kilmer, who in turn, had succeeded Michael Keaton) in Batman & Robin, which was a moderate box office success, but a critical failure (with Clooney himself calling the film "a waste of money"). In 1998, he starred in Out of Sight, opposite Jennifer Lopez. This was the first of many collaborations with director Steven Soderbergh. He also starred in Three Kings during the last weeks of his contract with ER.

In 1999, Clooney left the cast of ER to pursue his film career, returning only for two cameo appearances in the 6th and again in its 15th and final season.

Movie career

After leaving ER, Clooney starred in major Hollywoodmarker successes, such as The Perfect Storm and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. In 2001, he teamed up with Soderbergh again for Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the 1960s Rat Pack film of the same name. To this day, it remains Clooney's most commercially successful movie, earning more than $444 million worldwide. The film spawned two sequels starring Clooney, Ocean's Twelve in 2004 and Ocean's Thirteen in 2007. In 2001, Clooney founded the production studio Section Eight with Steven Soderbergh. Clooney is generally considered Chief Actor.

He made his directorial debut in the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, an adaptation of the autobiography of TV producer Chuck Barris. Though the movie didn't do well at the box office, Clooney's direction was praised among critics and audiences alike.

In 2005, Clooney starred in Syriana, which was based loosely on former Central Intelligence Agency agent Robert Baer and his memoirs of being an agent in the Middle East. The same year he directed, produced, and starred in Good Night, and Good Luck., a film about 1950s television journalist Edward R. Murrow's famous war of words with Senator Joseph McCarthy. Both films received critical acclaim and decent box-office returns despite being in limited release. At the 2006 Academy Awards, Clooney was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Good Night, and Good Luck, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Syriana. He became the first person in Oscar history to be nominated for directing one movie and acting in another in the same year. He would go on to win for his role in Syriana.

Clooney appeared in The Good German, a film-noir directed by Soderbergh. The film is set in post-World War II Germany.
Clooney also received the American Cinematheque Award in October 2006, an award that honors an artist in the entertainment industry who has made "a significant contribution to the art of motion pictures". On January 22, 2008, Clooney was nominated for Best Actor for his role in Michael Clayton, but lost to Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood.

After the success of Good Night, and Good Luck, Clooney said he planned to devote more of his energy to directing. He said that the directing industry is "a great industry to grow old in." Clooney directed the film Leatherheads, in which he also stars. Clooney is self-deprecating in interviews, telling STV in April 2008 that Leatherheads, one of his lightest movies, is a "cry for peace." In the same interview, when asked about reconciling George Clooney the actor and George Clooney the director, he said "there's a lot of ego there... so I just take it out on the actors."

Clooney next co-starred with Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare At Goats, which was directed by his friend Grant Heslov and released in November 2009. Also in 2009, Clooney will star in Up in the Air, set for a December release. It was directed by Juno helmer Jason Reitman.

Clooney is represented by Bryan Lourd, Co-Chairman of Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Other ventures

South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, invited Clooney to play a role in the show as the voice of Stan Marsh's gay dog Sparky in the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", a role with no dialogue except normal dog noises. He later appeared in the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Despite their history, the show's creators, Parker and Stone, lampooned Clooney for his outspoken political views in their feature film Team America: World Police. However, Clooney later said that he would have been offended if he hadn't been made fun of in the film. He was also mentioned in the episode "Smug Alert!", which mocks his acceptance speech at the 78th Academy Awards.

On July 8, 2005, news reports said that Clooney would be working with Cindy Crawford's husband Rande Gerber to design and build a new casino hotel in Las Vegas. On August 29, the same year, Clooney officially announced his involvement with the Las Ramblas Resort project. However, the project never came to fruition, and the property on which the resort was to be built was sold in June 2006.

After serving as pitchman outside the US for products like Fiatmarker, Nespresso and Martini vermouth, Clooney lent his voice to a series of Budweiser ads beginning in 2005 (which were still running as of September 2007). In September 2007, Clooney defended his work when asked by an Italian journalist, Alex Meenehan, how he reconciled advertising multinational companies' products with the purpose of Michael Clayton, the film he was currently introducing in the Venice Films Festival.

In August 2006, Clooney and Grant Heslov started a new company: Smokehouse Pictures. Heslov was the president of television at Section Eight Productions, Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh's production company. Clooney is creating and producing a television series for Showtime titled The Fall of Bob. It is a half-hour, single-camera black comedy-drama about a man who is committing suicide while a lengthy flashback occurs of what happened before his death.

Clooney is one of only two people to have been given the title of "Sexiest Man Alive" twice by People Magazine, first in 1997 and again in 2006.

In July 2008, Clooney was declared the worst Batman portrayed onscreen. "Batman should be obsessed and blindered […] but Clooney is all cool, ironic detachment and self-awareness." No comment has been heard from the actor. However, he has publicly criticized his own portrayal of Batman several times.

Personal life

Girlfriends and marriage

Clooney has been married once, to Talia Balsam (1989–93). He had a five-year on/off relationship with British model Lisa Snowdon. Later on, his girlfriend was Sarah Larson; at that time, Clooney said that he would never marry. In early 2009, an Indian newspaper speculated that Clooney was secretly dating Fatima Bhutto, the granddaughter of Former Prime Minister of Pakistanmarker Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and also the niece of slain former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto. Later in 2009, Clooney began dating Elisabetta Canalis.

2007 motorcycle accident

On September 21, 2007, Clooney and girlfriend Sarah Larson were injured in a motorcycle accident in Weehawkenmarker, New Jersey. Clooney's motorcycle was hit by a car. The driver of the car reported that Clooney attempted to pass on the right, while Clooney stated that the driver signaled left and then decided to make an abrupt right turn and clipped the motorcycle. Clooney suffered a broken rib, road rash, and brain injury with complications resulting from a punctured dura. He was treated and released from the Palisades Medical Centermarker in North Bergenmarker, New Jersey. On October 9, 2007, more than two dozen hospital staff members were suspended without pay for looking at Clooney's medical records in violation of federal law. Clooney himself quickly issued a statement on the hospital records matter, saying no one should be punished. He said "This is the first I've heard of it. And while I very much believe in a patient's right to privacy, I would hope that this could be settled without suspending medical workers."

Pets

Clooney had a 280-pound Vietnamese black-bristled pot-bellied pig, named Max, that had lived with him for eighteen years. He initially gave him as a gift to former live-in girlfriend Kelly Preston but she let him keep Max after their break-up. Max died on December 1, 2006. He also had two bulldogs, named Bud and Lou, after the famous comedy team Abbott and Costello. Both of the dogs have since died, one from a rattlesnake bite.

Leatherheads controversy

It was reported on April 4, 2008 in Variety that Clooney had quietly resigned from the Writers Guild of America over controversy surrounding Leatherheads. Clooney, who is the director, producer, and star of the film, stated that he had contributed in writing, "all but two scenes," of the film and requested a writing credit, alongside Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly, who had been working on the project for 17 years. In an arbitration vote, Clooney lost 2–1 and ultimately decided to withdraw from the union over the decision. Clooney is now technically a "financial core status" nonmember, meaning he loses his voting rights, and cannot run for office or attend membership meetings, according to the WGA's constitution. He must continue to pay his dues, but gets a break on "non-germane" WGA activities, such as political and lobbying efforts. His decision is also irrevocable. Beforehand, Clooney was an active member of the WGA, even receiving an Academy Award-nomination for writing Good Night and Good Luck. He is currently writing two screenplays with Grant Heslov.

Charlton Heston controversy

Michelle Solomon wrote in her article Celebrity Chatter: Up-Close With George Clooney, published in Staff Writer (2/3/03) "On the same day we spoke, headlines had just broke that Clooney was at a dinner for film awards and made what some people perceived as an inappropriate remark about Charlton Heston. As first reported by syndicated columnist Liz Smith, Clooney was speaking at a National Board of Review event and said: "Charlton Heston announced again today that he is suffering from Alzheimer's." Recounting this, Clooney said, "It was a joke,... They got the quote wrong. What I said was 'The head of the NRA announced today ...' (Filmmaker) Michael Moore had just gotten an award. Anyway, Charlton Heston shows up with guns over his head after a school shooting and then says in the documentary it's because of ethnic diversity that we have problems with violence in America. I think he's going to have to take whatever hits he gets. It was just a joke. That was someone else trying to make a bigger story." When asked if the actor went too far with his remarks, Clooney responded by saying, "I don't care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Associationmarker; he deserves whatever anyone says about him."

Heston himself commented, "It just goes to show that sometimes class does skip a generation," referring to Clooney's late aunt, Rosemary Clooney. Heston further commented on the Clooney joke: "I don't know the man—never met him, never even spoken to him, but I feel sorry for George Clooney—one day he may get Alzheimer's disease. I served my country in World War II. I survived that—I guess I can survive some bad words from this fellow". Clooney said he subsequently apologized to Heston in a letter, and that he received a positive response from Heston's wife.

Politics and advocacy

Clooney is a self-described political liberal. Speaking about the Iraq war: "You can't beat your enemy anymore through wars; instead you create an entire generation of people seeking revenge. These days it only matters who's in charge. Right now that's us—for a while at least. Our opponents are going to resort to car bombs and suicide attacks because they have no other way to win.... I believe (Rumsfeld) thinks this is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing anymore. We can't beat anyone anymore."

Clooney is noted for his public criticisms of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. On January 16, 2006, during his acceptance speech for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Syriana, Clooney paused to sarcastically thank Abramoff before adding, "Who would name their kid Jack with the word ‘off’ at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up!"

There has been movement to try to convince Clooney to run for political office in his home state of Kentuckymarker, including talk of a Clooney candidacy for US Senate against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2008. In response, Clooney has said: "Run for office? No. I've slept with too many women, I've done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties." Clooney supported President Barack Obama during Obama's campaign run in the 2008 presidential election.

Save Darfur

Clooney is named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for "using star power to illuminate the crisis in Darfur." After making his first trip to Darfur in 2006, Clooney made the TV special A Journey to Darfur with his father Nick, and advocated for action in the US. Author Ishmael Beah writes: "He has used his fame to speak wholeheartedly for those who cannot speak, with genuine concern and insight and a deep commitment and selflessness that is rare but does not have to be."

Clooney is active in advocating a resolution of the Darfur conflict. His efforts include an episode of Oprah and speaking at the Save Darfur rally in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2006.

In 2006, he was involved in several events to highlight the issue. In April, he spent ten days in Chad and Sudan with his father to make a film in order to show the dramatic situation of Darfur's refugees. In September, he spoke in front of the Security Council of the UN with Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel to ask the UN to find a solution to the conflict and to help the people of Darfur. In December, he made a trip to China and Egypt with Don Cheadle and two Olympic winners to ask both governments to pressure Sudan's government.

In 2006, Clooney and his father, journalist Nick Clooney, travelled to Darfur and filmed a documentary, A Journey to Darfur, which was broadcast on American cable TV as well as in the UK and France. In 2008, it was released on DVD with the proceeds from its sale being donated to the International Rescue Committee.

Clooney is involved with Not On Our Watch, an organization that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities, along with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub. He narrated and was co-executor producer of the documentary Sand and Sorrow.

On March 25, 2007, he sent an open letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel, calling on the European Union to take "decisive action" in the region in the face of Omar al-Bashir's failure to respond to the UN resolutions. Clooney appeared in the documentary film Darfur Now, a call to action film for people all over the world to help stop the ongoing crisis in Darfur. The film was released on November 2, 2007.

On December 13, 2007, Clooney and fellow actor Don Cheadle were presented with the Summit Peace Award by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Rome. In his acceptance speech Clooney said that he and Cheadle "Don and I…stand here before you as failures. The simple truth is that when it comes to the atrocities in Darfur…those people are not better off now than they were years ago."

On January 18, 2008, the United Nations announced Clooney's appointment as a United Nations messenger of peace, effective from January 31. In February 2009, he visited Goz Beida, Chad with NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Filmography

Actor

Year Film Role Notes
1984–85 E/R Mark "Ace" Kolmar
1985 Streethawk Kevin Stark
1985–86 The Facts of Life George Burnett
1987 Return to Horror High Oliver
Grizzly II: The Predator Uncredited
Combat Academy Maj. Biff Woods
Murder, She Wrote Kip Howard Episode: "No Laughing Murder"
The Golden Girls Detective Bobby Hopkins Episode: "To Catch a Neighbor"
1988 Return of the Killer Tomatoes Matt Stevens
1988–91 Roseanne Booker Brooks 11 episodes
1989 Red Surf Remar
1992 Unbecoming Age Mac
1993 The Harvest Lip Synching Transvestite
1993–94 Sisters Detective James Falconer
1994–99 ER Dr. Doug Ross 106 episodes

Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Drama Series, 1995, 1996

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama, 1995, 1996, 1997
1995 Friends Dr. Michael Mitchell Episode: "The One with Two Parts, Part Two"
1996 From Dusk till Dawn Seth Gecko MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance

Saturn Award for Best Actor
One Fine Day Jack Taylor
Curdled Seth Gecko Uncredited; only photo shown
1997 Full-Tilt Boogie Himself Documentary
The Peacemaker Thomas Devoe
Batman & Robin Bruce Wayne/Batman
South Park Sparky the Dog Voice only; episode: "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride"
1998 The Thin Red Line Captain Bosche
Out of Sight Jack Foley
Waiting for Woody Himself Comedic short
1999 Three Kings Major Archie Gates
The Book That Wrote Itself Himself
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Doctor Gouache Voice only
The Limey Archive footage, uncredited
2000 The Perfect Storm Billy 'Skip' Tyne
Fail Safe Col. Jack Grady
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Ulysses Everett McGill Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

Nominated — Empire Award for Best Actor

Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2001 Ocean's Eleven Danny Ocean Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Dressed

Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Spy Kids Devlin
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind CIA Officer Jim Byrd Also director
Solaris Chris Kelvin Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Welcome to Collinwood Jerzy Also producer
Starbuck Holger Meins Documentary
2003 Intolerable Cruelty Miles Massey
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Devlin
2004 Ocean's Twelve Danny Ocean Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck Fred Friendly Golden Osella for Best Screenplay

Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay

Nominated — Academy Award for Writing

Nomination — BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominated — BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Writer

Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay

Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director

Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Director

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay

Nominated — Gotham Award for Best Cast

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay

Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Syriana Bob Barnes Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
2006 The Good German Jake Geismar
2007 Michael Clayton Michael Clayton National Board of Review Award for Best Actor

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay

Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role

Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor

Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama

Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor

Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Darfur Now Himself
Ocean's Thirteen Danny Ocean
2008 Leatherheads Jimmy "Dodge" Connelly Co-writer (uncredited)
Burn After Reading Harry Pfarrer
2009 ER Dr. Doug Ross Final season
Fantastic Mr. Fox Mr. Fox Voice only
The Men Who Stare At Goats Lyn Cassady
Up in the Air Ryan Bingham Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2011 Farragut North In development
The American Jack Announced


Director

Year Title Notes
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Nominated — Golden Bear

Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising New Director
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Foreign Film

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Original Screenplay

Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay

Pasinetti Award for Best Film

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Director

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Direction

Nominated — Bodil Award for Best American Film

Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director

Nominated — David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film

Nominated — Directors Guild of America Award for Best Director

Nominated — Empire Award for Best Director

Nominated — Golden Lion

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture

Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Director

Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director

Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Director

Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Unscripted 5 episodes
2008 Leatherheads
2011 Farragut North


Producer

Year Title Notes
1999 Kilroy (TV) also writer
2000 Fail Safe Executive producer
2001 Rock Star Executive producer
2002 Insomnia Executive producer
Welcome to Collinwood Executive producer
Far from Heaven Executive producer
2003 K Street Executive producer, 10 episodes
2004 Criminal
2005 The Jacket
Unscripted 5 episodes
The Big Empty Executive producer
Syriana Executive producer
Rumor Has It... Executive producer
2006 A Scanner Darkly Executive producer
Pu-239 Executive producer
2007 Michael Clayton Executive producer
Sand and Sorrow Executive producer

Documentary
Wind Chill Executive producer
2008 Leatherheads
2009 The Informant! Executive producer
Playground Executive producer
Men Who Stare At Goats


References

External links




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