Scarlett Johansson

3.4050433412316 (1269)
Posted by bender 03/10/2009 @ 21:07

Tags : scarlett johansson, actors and actresses, entertainment

News headlines
Scarlett Johansson's directorial debut nixed in 'New York, I Love You' - Entertainment Weekly
EW has confirmed that Scarlett Johansson's first directorial effort, a movie short starring Kevin Bacon, has been left on the cutting room floor of the upcoming anthology film New York, I Love You. But, contrary to the many Internet rumors,...
Scarlett Johansson Lights a Candle for Rwanda - People Magazine
Scarlett Johansson takes a break from filming Iron Man 2 to "remember those who died and those who survived" the Rwandan genocide 15 years ago. After visiting the country in last year to increase AIDS awareness in African nations, the newly married...
Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow & Sam Jackson's Nick Fury Make ... - MTV.com
“Scarlett's first day on set in the Black Widow outfit,” the director wrote today. “You've never heard a crew get so quiet so fast.” Scarlett Johansson's involvement in the movie as Natasha Romanoff has already been well publicized — but the character...
Tired of Tabloid Body Watching? So's Scarlett Johansson - About - News & Issues
The publications out to make a quick buck with headlines about people's changing bodies pushed award-winning actress Scarlett Johansson too far. When the rumor mill started churning out false accounts of her supposedly extreme workout and eating regime...
Scarlett Johansson has best breasts in Hollywood - Kansas City Star
In what was no doubt a contest of the utmost historical significance, Access Hollywood has deemed actress (and vocalist on an awful album of Tom Waits covers) Scarlett Johansson to have the best breasts in Hollywood. Rounding out the list are Salma...
Scarlett Johansson: Fever Chart - Film.com
Actress Scarlett Johansson at the opening of the photo exhibition 'Extreme Beauty in Vogue' on March 2, 2009 in Milan. - Getty Images When Scarlett Johansson was the most ambitious eight-year-old you ever saw, Laurence Fishburne, who got his TV start...
Megan Fox takes a dig at Scarlett Johansson! - India.com
Just two days ago we reported just how immature and childish Megan Fox thinks Zach Efron and Robert Pattinson are, the Transformers hottie now takes a dig at Scarlett Johansson! "I don’t want to have to be like a Scarlett Johansson - who I have...
New Line Cinema - New York Times
Bradley Cooper and Scarlett Johansson in “He's Just Not That Into You,” timed for date nights. By MICHAEL CIEPLY LOS ANGELES — Last February, the New Line Cinema unit of Warner Brothers scored an unexpected hit when “He's Just Not That Into You” piled...
Jackman, Weisz and Pattinson are Unbound Captives - CMR
Serge: Scarlett Johansson (actress)actually is a clone from original person,who has nothing with acting career.Clone... Allison: You are right, you are no dance expert. The real dance experts think differently. Your opinion is worth....
May 4: Scarlett Johansson, The HD Hottie - TVPredictions.com (press release)
Today's 'HD Hottie' is Scarlett Johansson, who stars tonight in high-def in Ghost World at 6:05 pm ET on HDNet Movies. The 24-year-old actress, who was born in New York, began as a child actress, appearing in such movies as Ghost World and The Horse...

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson in Kuwait 02 (looking left).jpg

Scarlett I. Johansson (born November 22, 1984) is an American actress and singer. Johansson rose to fame with her role in 1998's The Horse Whisperer and subsequently gained critical acclaim for her roles in Ghost World, Lost in Translation (for which she won a BAFTA), and Girl with a Pearl Earring, the latter two earning her Golden Globe Award nominations in 2003.

On May 20, 2008, Johansson debuted as a vocalist on her first album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, with cover versions of Tom Waits songs.

Johansson was born in New York City. Her father, Karsten Johansson, is a Danish-born architect, and her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was a screenwriter and director. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, a producer, comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from the Bronx. Johansson's parents met in Denmark, where her mother lived with Johansson's maternal grandmother, Dorothy, a former bookkeeper and schoolteacher. Johansson has an older sister, Vanessa, who is also an actress; an older brother, Adrian; a twin brother, Hunter (whose only film, Manny & Lo, starred Scarlett); and a half-brother, Christian, from her father's re-marriage.

Johansson grew up in a household with "little money" with a mother who was a "film buff". Johansson began her theater training by attending and graduating from Professional Children's School in Manhattan in 2002. She attended P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village for elementary school.

Johansson began acting during childhood, after her mother began taking her to auditions. She made her film debut in 1994's North. After appearing in several films during the late 1990s, including a very brief appearance in the Mandy Moore video for her single "Candy", Johansson garnered praise and widespread attention for her performance in 1998's The Horse Whisperer and 2001's Ghost World.

She won the "Upstream Prize" for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in 2003's Lost in Translation. The same year, she was nominated for two Best Actress awards at the Golden Globes, one for drama (Girl with a Pearl Earring) and one for comedy (Lost in Translation). She was also nominated for Best Actress for both films at the BAFTAs, and won Best Actress for Lost in Translation.

Johansson was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2004. In the same year, she starred in the films The Perfect Score, In Good Company and A Love Song for Bobby Long, the last of which earned her a third Golden Globe Award nomination. Johansson was involved for a short time with the film Mission: Impossible III, but was not officially cast because of scheduling conflicts, although a falling out with the film's star, Tom Cruise, had been both widely reported and publicly denied. She was replaced by Keri Russell.

In July 2005, Johansson starred with Ewan McGregor in Michael Bay's The Island, making her debut as a female lead in a mainstream action film. In the same year, she starred in the Woody Allen-directed drama Match Point, which opened in December. Johansson received her fourth Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role, but lost to Rachel Weisz.

Johansson next appeared in 2007's The Nanny Diaries, starring alongside Laura Linney, and 2008's The Other Boleyn Girl, opposite Natalie Portman and Eric Bana. She has filmed her third Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, in Spain.

Johansson played femme fatale Silken Floss in Frank Miller's noir comedy adaptation of Will Eisner's comic The Spirit. The film was released in US theaters on December 25th, 2008. In 2009, she had a role as a yoga instructor in He's Just Not That Into You. Johansson will also portray Mary, Queen of Scots in a film.

In 2005, Johansson was considered for the role of Maria in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End revival of The Sound of Music, though the role ultimately went to newcomer Connie Fisher after she won BBC's talent show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Released May 8, 2006, Johansson sang the track "Summertime" for Unexpected Dreams – Songs from the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs recorded by Hollywood actors. She also performed with The Jesus And Mary Chain for a special Coachella Reunion Show in Indio, California in April 2007.

In 2007, she appeared as the leading lady in Justin Timberlake's music video for "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around," nominated in August 2007 for video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards. The filming of the video took place in Los Angeles. The video sparked rumours of a romance between Johansson and Timberlake.

In 2009, Johansson covered Jeff Buckley's Last Goodbye for the soundtrack of He's Just Not That Into You.

Johansson does not discuss her personal life with the press, saying "it's nice to have everybody not know your business." This has not stopped Johansson from sharing "select" opinions and personal details. Johansson's ex-boyfriend (and member of the band Steel Train), Jack Antonoff, wrote lyrics that refer to Johansson in the song "Better Love." Antonoff alludes to Johansson in the song "2 O'clock." She has been linked to many famous men, including Derek Jeter, Benicio del Toro, Jared Leto, Justin Timberlake and her Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett. They dated for about two years until the end of 2006, with Hartnett citing their busy lives as the reason for the split.

She started dating Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds in 2007, and on May 5, 2008, it was reported that the two were engaged.

On September 27, 2008, Johansson and Reynolds were married at a quiet ceremony outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Johansson has expressed a concern about the potential conflict between the nature of human beings and the concept of monogamy. However, she has also stated "contrary to popular belief... not promiscuous" and that she works "really hard" when she's in a relationship "to make it work in a monogamous way." She gets tested for HIV twice a year, and has said "it's part of being a decent human" and it is "disgusting" and "irresponsible" when people do not do so.

Johansson is close to her twin brother Hunter, and often gives him advice on women and dating.

Johansson appeared on the cover of the March 2006 issue of Vanity Fair in the nude alongside actress Keira Knightley and fashion designer Tom Ford. In March 2006, she topped the U.S. edition of FHM's poll of the sexiest women alive (in the UK edition Johansson was third). In 2007, Maxim named Johansson #3 in their Hot 100 issue. In November 2006, Johansson was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire. In February 2007, she was named the "Sexiest Celebrity" of the year by Playboy.

Johansson is a Global Ambassador for the aid and development agency, Oxfam. On March 14, 2008, a UK-based bidder by the name of Bossnour paid £20,000 for a 20 minute date with Johansson on an online auction for Oxfam on eBay. The bidder paid for a hair and make up treatment and the chance to accompany Johansson on her July premiere of He's Just Not That Into You.

She is a fan of the children's television show SpongeBob Squarepants. She supplied the voice of Mindy the Mermaid in The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie.

Together with Michael Caine, she co-hosted the 2008 Nobel Peace Concert.

Johansson is a Democrat. In 2004, she campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. She was quoted as saying of George W. Bush's re-election, " disappointed. I think it was a disappointment for a large percentage of the population." Johansson campaigned for Barack Obama in Iowa on January 2, 2008; her efforts were targeted at small groups of younger voters, including Cornell College students and students at St. Paul Central in Minnesota on Super Tuesday. Johansson appeared in the 2008 music video for Black Eyed Peas front man Will.i.am's song, "Yes We Can", directed by Jesse Dylan. The song was inspired by Obama's speech following the 2008 New Hampshire primary. According to the FEC's website, she donated the maximum allowed amount of $2300 to the Obama campaign on May 8, 2008.

Johansson has also taken part in the anti-poverty campaign ONE which was organized by U2 lead singer Bono.

Scarlett Johansson sold a used tissue on eBay to raise funds for a hunger charity, USA Harvest.

To the top



Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Vicky cristina barcelona.jpg

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a 2008 film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film features well-known stars Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson, and less-well-known British actress Rebecca Hall.

The plot centers around two American women, Vicky and Cristina, spending a summer in Barcelona, where they meet an artist who is attracted to both of them while still enamored of his mentally and emotionally unstable ex-wife María Elena. The film was shot in Avilés, Barcelona, and Oviedo, and was Allen's fourth consecutive film shot outside of the United States.

The film premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, then received a rolling worldwide general release that started in August 2008 in the USA, and continued in various countries each month until the June 2009 release in Japan.

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) visit Barcelona for the summer, staying with Vicky's distant relative Judy (Patricia Clarkson) and her husband, Mark Nash (Kevin Dunn). A narrator (voice of Christopher Evan Welch), present throughout the film, describes the two friends: Vicky is practical and traditional in her approach to love and commitment, and is engaged to the reliable but unromantic Doug (Chris Messina). She is in Barcelona getting her masters in "Catalan identity". Cristina, on the other hand, is a nonconformist, spontaneous but unsure of what she wants from life or love.

At an art exhibition, they notice the artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Cristina is impressed with him at first sight, and grows intrigued when Judy and Mark tell the girls that the artist has suffered a publicly violent relationship with his ex-wife. Later that night, the girls notice him across the room in a restaurant. He approaches their table and quickly invites them to join him to the city of Oviedo, in the small plane he flies himself, to spend a weekend sight-seeing, drinking wine, and, Juan Antonio hopes, making love. Cristina accepts the brazen offer almost at once, but Vicky refuses, strongly resenting his assumption that the two of them would agree to go to bed with him after less than five minutes' acquaintance. She eventually decides to accompany her friend anyway, mainly as she says "to protect Cristina from making a big mistake".

At the end of their first day, Juan Antonio asks both women to come to his room. Vicky refuses, but Cristina agrees, though she falls ill before any love making happens. For the remainder of the weekend, Vicky and Juan Antonio are forced together while Cristina recuperates. During their trip, he tells her about his ex-wife and his tumultuous relationship with her and takes her to visit his father an old poet, making Vicky change her negative first impression of him. After more wine over dinner and an intimate guitar concert, Vicky succumbs to his charms and the two make love.

The next day, Juan takes them back to Barcelona. Vicky, feeling guilty, does not mention the incident to Cristina, and the two begin to grow apart, Vicky throwing herself into her Catalan culture studies and Cristina taking up photography. Soon Juan Antonio is dating Cristina. Meanwhile, Doug unexpectedly telephones Vicky, suggesting that they get married in Spain. She agrees, with unspoken misgivings, and he flies to meet her. Cristina and Juan Antonio grow closer and move in together.

One night, Cristina and Juan Antonio are woken up by a call, learning that Juan's ex-wife María Elena (Penélope Cruz) has attempted to kill herself. With nowhere else to go, Juan Antonio brings her home, and she moves into the guest room. Though initially María Elena distrusts Cristina, she soon develops a fondness for her and her photography.

Cristina soon realizes that the ex-spouses are still in love, and María Elena confides that their relationship was always loving but unstable because they were missing something, a mystery element neither of them figured out. María Elena now suggests that the missing link is in fact, Cristina, and the three become polyamorous. Cristina discloses the events of her life to Vicky, who appears secretly jealous of her friend's relationship with Juan Antonio, and to Doug, who disapproves.

As the summer winds to a close, Vicky realizes that she is unsatisfied in her married life, and is still attracted to Juan Antonio. She learns that Judy is also unhappy in her marriage, and confides in the older woman. Judy, who sees Vicky as a younger version of herself, decides to bring Juan Antonio and Vicky together. Meanwhile, Cristina becomes restless and announces she is leaving Juan Antonio and María Elena. Maria does not take the news well and breaks down. Cristina spends the last weeks of the summer in France. With their "missing link" gone, Juan Antonio and María Elena break up again.

Attempting to pair up Juan Antonio and Vicky, Judy arranges for them both to be at a party. Juan Antonio begs Vicky to meet him the next day. After lying to Doug, Vicky, against her better judgment, goes to Juan's home for lunch, after which Juan tries to seduce her again. She is on the point of consenting when María Elena bursts in with a gun and begins firing wildly. As Juan Antonio tries to take the gun from his sobbing wife, Vicky is accidentally shot in the hand, wounding her slightly. Vicky shouts at both of them, saying they are insane and she could never live like this, and leaves.

When Cristina returns from France, Vicky confesses the entire story to her. Cristina says she never knew that Vicky felt that way about Juan Antonio, and she (Cristina) wishes she could have helped her. Doug never learns the true version of events. As the three Americans return to the USA, Vicky goes back to her married life and Cristina remains where she started, not knowing what she wants, but knowing what she doesn't. Since Vicky chooses to live her rigidly planned (a "perfect") life, and Cristina chooses to live without making predetermined plans, they end where they began.

In 2007, controversy arose in Catalonia because the film was partially funded with public money: Barcelona's city hall provided one million euros and the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) half a million, or ten percent of the film's budget.

This is the third time Johansson and Allen have worked together, following Match Point and Scoop. This film also marks the second time Johansson and Hall worked together, the first one being The Prestige.

The Spanish actor Joan Pera, who dubbed Allen's voice in his previous films, makes a cameo appearance.

As of February 2009, the film has grossed $88,106,417 worldwide; in relation to its $20 million budget, it is one of Allen's most profitable films.

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Woody Allen won his first Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay and was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Penélope Cruz won numerous honors for her performance, including: the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Goya Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.

To the top



Eight Legged Freaks

Eightleggedfreaks.jpg

Eight Legged Freaks is a 2002 horror/comedy film directed by Ellory Elkayem and stars David Arquette, Kari Wührer, Scarlett Johansson and Doug E. Doug. The plot concerns a collection of spiders that are exposed to nuclear waste, causing them to grow to gigantic proportions.

In the quiet mining town of Prosperity, Arizona, an exhausted trucker carrying a cargo of toxic waste swerves off the road to avoid killing a rabbit, loosening one of the barrels, which rolls down the sandy slopes and into a swamp where a small population of insects live. Nobody notices this and the toxins begin polluting the pond and the surrounding area. By next week, an exotic spider collector named Joshua has been making regular visits to the site, where he collects crickets for his spiders. Although the bugs have ingested the toxins, he is oblivious since the insects seem unaffected.

Days later, a young boy named Mike Parker is riding on his bicycle down to the man's spider collection store to visit Joshua. Joshua is excited to show him how much larger his spiders have grown, and declares that he finally received his newest spiders from Brazil: an enormous female Orb Weaver named Consuela and around a dozen males, who bring live food to Consuela to earn her trust and the right to mate. After Mike leaves, Joshua is bitten by an escaped Tarantula and is driven into a frenzy and falls on a group of glass spider cages. He is soon wrapped and the spiders make their home in his store, growing larger and larger before heading into his backyard.

Mike attempts to return but is stopped by his mother, Sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wührer) and Deputy Pete pulling the toxic barrel out of the pond. Sam scolds Mike, reminding him that the spiders are dangerous and he shouldn't be seeing Joshua. Sam forces Mike to get in the car, however Sam has to stop a group of motorcyclists who are speeding and give them a ticket. Sam's daughter Ashley (Scarlett Johansson) is riding on the back seat of one of the motorcycles with her boyfriend Bret, who is the mayor's stepson. Bret is given a ticket and Ashley is subsequently driven home by her mother and teased by Mike.

Wade, the Mayor of Prosperity, is holding a town meeting in the mall (which is ironically placed, seeing as few people live in the town) about whether they should sell the mines and relocate. Chris McCormick, whose father owned the mines before he died ten years ago, shows up and stands against Wade's proposition. Chris also sparks a romance with Sam.

Mike sneaks out on foot and finds Joshua and the spiders missing, although he sees an enormous spider shadow in the mines and tells Chris that the spiders have grown to enormous sizes, based on a giant spider leg he found at the mine entrance, as well as Joshua's web-laden boot. Chris is understandably skeptical despite the evidence. Meanwhile the mines have reopened with the miners searching for a famous gold load, dismissed by many as a myth seeing as the witness of this gold was a dying man, McCormick's father. They are soon consumed by the orb weaver family, who have made the mines their home. Seeing as the entire town is connected in some way to the mines, spiders show up in many different places. Pete's cat is eaten by a growing specimen (though from the imprints made on the wall the cat puts up a good fight against the spider), some ostriches from Wade's private ostrich farm are eaten by large trapdoor spiders, and Chris' skepticism is overcome when his Aunt Gladys and her dog are abducted by a male orb weaver in her basement. He also finds an even bigger leg. Ashley breaks up with Bret, who soon after witnesses his entire motorcycle gang being attacked and killed by jumping spiders, with himself surviving after fleeing into the mines. Sheriff Sam Parker is also skeptical, and is convinced Chris and Mike are delusional. However, her skepticism fades when she witnesses a giant spider attempting to abduct Ashley in her room. The spider is shot, but the threat enlarges as Mike concludes that the spiders come out at night to feed, and the whole town is in danger.

Sam contacts Pete and tells him to bring all guns in the police station's possession and, after a scuffle with some jumping spiders, they travel to the trailer of an eccentric UFO enthusiast named Harlan (Doug E. Doug), knowing he has a radio station that he operates from within his trailer. As Sam broadcasts the threat over the radio with Harlan standing by in disbelief, a giant tarantula assaults the trailer. As the town listens to the broadcast, they at first scoff because of Harlan's reputation, but soon hear the screams of the people within the trailer as the tarantula overturns it. They escape as the arachnid struggles to its eight feet. As the town is assaulted by vicious spiders, Sam tells everybody to get to the mall because it has concrete walls and steel doors. The mayor, who happens to be near the mall seems to be happy that everyone is coming to his mall, but this joy is replaced with terror once he learns the reason. The main characters make it in safely, and the children and wounded people are told to go down to the basement as the able-bodied townsfolk hold off the spiders. Wade sneaks into the mines and encounters Bret before being abducted by orb weavers. Meanwhile, Harlan and Chris climb onto the roof and ascend the radio mast and try to get a signal to call the police, but are believed to be pranksters and are forced to fend for themselves. Harlan jumps from the roof after the spiders enter the mall and lands in some bushes, where he meets up with Pete. The two run from spiders as Chris meets up with Sam Parker and goes down to the basement with the remaining townsfolk. Ashley is reunited with Bret, who finds Wade and frees him. Chris expresses his love for Sam, then goes to look for his Aunt Gladys in the mines. He finds Gladys and the gold his father was searching for, but is confronted by a massive Consuela. He uses Bret's motorcycle to escape, and blows up the spiders and the mines utilizing Gladys' smoking addiction and the high concentrations of methane gas. The police finally arrive (brought by Pete and Harlan) after the danger has subsided, having not believed the stories of the spiders, instead believing Harlan's alternate story of invading aliens.

As the story ends, Harlan is heard making a radio report about the spiders. He concludes that the town has decided to cover up the whole incident, but have let Harlan continue broadcasting the incident, knowing nobody will believe him. He also mentions Chris reopening the gold mines and putting everyone back to work, but tells us "that is another story altogether." As the camera pans in on his mouth, it is clear that he now has three gold teeth.

The film was originally titled 'Arach Attack' or 'Arac Attack' (under which it was released in Europe and other countries around the world) but the similarity to 'Iraq Attack' made the title seem inappropriate near the start of the Iraq War. In contrast, a joke in a commercial for 1990 spider movie Arachnophobia, which premiered during the buildup to the first Gulf War, showed a gentleman at a screening mispronouncing the name of the movie as 'Iraqiphobia'.

The title 'Eight Legged Freaks' is a line that Arquette ad-libbed in the movie.

Director Ellory Elkayem got the idea from his 1997 short film 'Larger than Life', which also handled a spider-fighting storyline.

To the top



David Bowie

David Bowie performing at Rock In Chile Festival, 27 September 1990

David Bowie (IPA: ; born David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947) is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. Active in five decades of rock music and frequently reinventing his music and image, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He has been cited as an influence by many musicians. Bowie is also known for his distinctive baritone voice. Although he released an album and numerous singles earlier, David Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in the autumn of 1969, when the Apollo program-inspired "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK singles chart. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era as the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single "Starman" and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona epitomised a career often marked by musical innovation, reinvention and striking visual presentation.

In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single "Fame", co-written with John Lennon, and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer identified as "plastic soul". The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low—the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. Arguably his most experimental works to date, the so-called "Berlin Trilogy" albums all reached the UK Top Five.

After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes" and its parent album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He paired with Queen for the 1981 UK chart-topper "Under Pressure", but consolidated his commercial—and, until then, most profitable—sound in 1983 with the album Let's Dance, which yielded the hit singles "Let's Dance", "China Girl", and "Modern Love".

In the BBC's 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie ranked 29. Throughout his career he has sold an estimated 136 million albums, and ranks among the ten best-selling acts in UK pop history. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time.

David Bowie (then David Jones) was born in Brixton, London. Bowie's parents, Margaret Mary "Peggy" (née Burns), of Irish descent, and Hayward Stenton "John" Jones, were married shortly after his birth. When he was six years old, his family moved from Brixton to Bromley in Kent, where he attended Bromley Technical High School.

When Bowie was fifteen years old, his friend, George Underwood, wearing a ring on his finger, punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl. Bowie was forced to stay out of school for eight months so that doctors could conduct operations to repair his potentially blinded eye. Doctors could not fully repair the damage, leaving his pupil permanently dilated. As a result of the injury, Bowie has faulty depth perception. Bowie has stated that although he can see with his injured eye, his colour vision was mostly lost and a brownish tone is constantly present. Each iris has the same blue colour, but since the pupil of the injured eye is wide open, the hue of that eye is commonly mistaken to be different. Despite the fight, Underwood and Bowie remained good friends, and Underwood went on to do the artwork for Bowie's earlier albums.

Bowie's interest in music was sparked at the age of nine when his father brought home a collection of American 45s, including Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and, most particularly, Little Richard. Upon listening to "Tutti Frutti", Bowie would later say, "I had heard God". His half-brother Terry introduced him to modern jazz and Bowie's enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a plastic saxophone for Christmas in 1959. Graduating to a real instrument, he formed his first band in 1962, the Konrads. He then played and sang in various blues/beat groups, such as The King Bees, The Manish Boys, The Lower Third and The Riot Squad in the mid-1960s, releasing his first record, the single "Liza Jane", with the King Bees in 1964. His early work shifted through the blues and Elvis-inspired music while working with many British pop styles.

During the early 1960s, Bowie was performing either under his own name or the stage name "Davie Jones", and briefly even as "Davy Jones", creating confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees. To avoid this, in 1966 he chose "Bowie" for his stage name, after the Alamo hero Jim Bowie and his famous Bowie knife. During this time, he recorded singles for Parlophone under the name of The Manish Boys and Davy Jones and for Pye under the name David Bowie (and The Lower Third), all without success.

Bowie released his first album in 1967 for the Decca Records offshoot Deram, simply called David Bowie. It was an amalgam of pop, psychedelia, and music hall. Around the same time he issued a novelty single, "The Laughing Gnome", which utilised sped-up Chipmunk-style vocals. None of these releases managed to chart, and he would not cut another record for two years. His Deram material from the album and various singles was later recycled in a multitude of compilations.

Influenced by the dramatic arts, he studied with Lindsay Kemp—from avant-garde theatre and mime to Commedia dell'arte—and much of his work would involve the creation of characters or personae to present to the world. During 1967, Bowie sold his first song to another artist, "Oscar" (an early stage name of actor-musician Paul Nicholas). Bowie wrote Oscar's third single, "Over the Wall We Go", which satirised life in a British prison. In late 1968, his then-manager, Kenneth Pitt, produced a half-hour promotional film called Love You Till Tuesday featuring Bowie performing a number of songs, but it went unreleased until 1984.

Bowie's first flirtation with fame came in 1969 with his single "Space Oddity," written the previous year but recorded and released to coincide with the first moon landing. This ballad told the story of Major Tom, an astronaut who becomes lost in space, though it has also been interpreted as an allegory for taking drugs. It became a Top 5 UK hit. Bowie put the finishing touches to the track while living with Mary Finnigan as her lodger. Finnigan and Bowie joined forces with Christina Ostrom and the late Barrie Jackson to run a Folk Club on Sunday nights at The Three Tuns pub in Beckenham High Street, south London. This soon morphed into the Beckenham Arts Lab and became extremely popular. In August 1969, The Arts Lab hosted a Free Festival in a local park, later immortalised by Bowie in his song "Memory of a Free Festival". In 1969 and 1970, "Space Oddity" was used by the BBC during both its Apollo 11 moon landing coverage and its coverage of Apollo 13.

The corresponding album, his second, was released in November 1969 and originally titled David Bowie, which caused some confusion as both of Bowie's first and second albums were released with that name in the UK. In the U.S. the same album originally bore the title Man of Words, Man of Music to overcome that confusion. In 1972, the album was re-released on both sides of the Atlantic by RCA Records as Space Oddity, a title it has kept until today.

In 1970, Bowie released his third album, The Man Who Sold the World, rejecting the acoustic guitar sound of the previous album and replacing it with the heavy rock backing provided by Mick Ronson, who would be a major collaborator through to 1973. Much of the album resembles British heavy metal music of the period, but the album provided some unusual musical detours, such as the title track's use of Latin sounds and rhythms. The original UK cover of the album showed Bowie in a dress, an early example of his androgynous appearance. In the U.S., the album was originally released in a cartoonish cover that did not feature Bowie.

His next record, Hunky Dory in 1971, saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of "Space Oddity", with light fare such as the droll "Kooks". Elsewhere, the album explored more serious themes on tracks such as "Oh! You Pretty Things" (a song taken to UK #12 by Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone in 1971), the semi-autobiographical "The Bewlay Brothers", and the Buddhist-influenced "Quicksand". Lyrically, the young songwriter also paid unusually direct homage to his influences with "Song for Bob Dylan", "Andy Warhol", and "Queen Bitch", which Bowie's somewhat cryptic liner notes indicate as a Velvet Underground pastiche. As with the single "Changes", Hunky Dory was not a big hit but it laid the groundwork for the move that would shortly lift Bowie into the first rank of stars, giving him four top-ten albums and eight top ten singles in the UK in eighteen months between 1972 and 1973.

The Ziggy Stardust character became the basis for Bowie's first large-scale tour beginning in 1972, where he donned his famous flaming red mullett and wild outfits. The tour featured a three-piece band representing the "Spiders from Mars": Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, and Mick Woodmansey on drums. This was Bowie’s first tour to visit the US, making his first appearance on 22 September 1972 at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. The album made #5 in the UK on the strength of the #10 placing of the single "Starman". Their success made Bowie a star, and soon the six-month-old Hunky Dory eclipsed Ziggy Stardust, when it peaked at #3 on the UK chart. At the same time the non-album single "John, I’m Only Dancing" (not released in the U.S. until 1979) peaked at UK #12, and "All the Young Dudes", a song he had given to, and produced for, Mott the Hoople, made UK #3.

Around the same time Bowie began promoting and producing his rock and roll heroes, two of whom he met at the popular New York hangout Max's Kansas City: former Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed, whose solo breakthrough Transformer was produced by Bowie and Ronson; and Iggy Pop, whose band, The Stooges, signed with Bowie's management, MainMan Productions, to record their third album, Raw Power. Though he was not present for the tracking of the album, Bowie later performed its much-debated mix. Bowie sang back-up vocals on both Reed's Transformer, and Iggy's The Idiot.

The Spiders From Mars came together again on Aladdin Sane, released in April 1973 and his first #1 album in the UK. Described by Bowie as "Ziggy goes to America", all the new songs were written on ship, bus or trains during the first leg of his US Ziggy Stardust tour. The album's cover, featuring Bowie shirtless with Ziggy hair and a red, black, and blue lightning bolt across his face, has been described as being as "startling as rock covers ever got." Aladdin Sane included the UK #2 hit "The Jean Genie", the UK #3 hit "Drive-In Saturday", and a rendition of The Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together". Mike Garson joined Bowie to play piano on this album, and his solo on the title track has been cited as one of the album's highlights.

Bowie's later Ziggy shows, which included songs from both Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, as well as a few earlier tracks like "Changes" and "The Width of a Circle", were ultra-theatrical affairs filled with shocking stage moments, such as Bowie stripping down to a sumo wrestling loincloth or simulating oral sex with Ronson's guitar. Bowie toured and gave press conferences as Ziggy before a dramatic and abrupt on-stage "retirement" at London's Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973. His announcement—"Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show that we'll ever do. Thank you."—was preserved in a live recording of the show, filmed by D. A. Pennebaker and belatedly released under the title Ziggy Stardust - The Motion Picture in 1983 after many years circulating as an audio bootleg.

Pin Ups, a collection of covers of his 1960s favourites, was released in October 1973, spawning a UK #3 hit in "Sorrow" and itself peaking at #1, making David Bowie the best-selling act of 1973 in the UK. By this time, Bowie had broken up the Spiders from Mars and was attempting to move on from his Ziggy persona. Bowie's own back catalogue was now highly sought: The Man Who Sold the World had been re-released in 1972 along with the second David Bowie album (Space Oddity). Hunky Dory's "Life on Mars?" was released as a single in 1973 and made #3 in the UK, the same year Bowie's novelty record from 1967, "The Laughing Gnome", hit #6.

1974 saw the release of another ambitious album, Diamond Dogs, with a spoken word introduction and a multi-part song suite ("Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)"). Diamond Dogs was the product of two distinct ideas: a musical based on a wild future in a post-apocalyptic city, and setting George Orwell's 1984 to music. Bowie also made plans to develop a Diamond Dogs movie, but didn't get very far. Bowie had originally planned on writing a musical to 1984, but his interest waned after encountering difficulties in licensing the novel. He used some of the songs he had written for the project on Diamond Dogs. The album—and an NBC television special, The 1980 Floor Show, broadcast at around the same time—demonstrated Bowie headed toward the genre of soul/funk music, the track "1984" being a prime example. The album spawned the hits "Rebel Rebel" (UK #5) and "Diamond Dogs" (UK #21), and itself went to #1 in the UK, making him the best-selling act of that country for the second year in a row. In the US, Bowie achieved his first major commercial success as the album went to #5.

To follow on the release of the album, Bowie launched a massive Diamond Dogs tour in North America from June to December 1974. Choreographed by Toni Basil, and lavishly produced with theatrical special effects, the high-budget stage production broke with contemporary standard practice for rock concerts by featuring no encores. It was filmed by Alan Yentob for the documentary Cracked Actor. The documentary seemed to confirm the rumours of his cocaine abuse, featuring a pasty and emaciated Bowie nervously sniffing in the backseat of a car and claiming that there was a fly in his milk. Bowie commented that the resulting live album, David Live, ought to have been called "David Bowie Is Alive and Well and Living Only In Theory," presumably in reference to his addled and frenetic psychological state during this period. Nevertheless the album solidified his status as a superstar, going #2 in the UK and #8 in the US. It also spawned a UK #10 hit in a cover of "Knock on Wood". After the opening leg of the tour, Bowie mostly jettisoned the elaborate sets. Then, when the tour resumed after a summer break in Philadelphia for recording new material, the Diamond Dogs sound no longer seemed apt. Bowie cancelled seven dates and made changes to the band, which returned to the road in October as the Philly Dogs tour.

For Ziggy Stardust fans who had not discerned the soul and funk strains already apparent in Bowie's recent work, the "new" sound was considered a sudden and jolting step. 1975's Young Americans was Bowie's definitive exploration of Philly soul—though he himself referred to the sound ironically as "plastic soul." It contained his first #1 hit in the US, "Fame", co-written with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon (who also contributed backing vocals). It was based on a riff Alomar had developed while covering The Flares' 1961 doo-wop classic "Foot Stompin'", which Bowie's band had taken to playing live during the Philly Dogs period. One of the backing vocalists on the album is a young Luther Vandross, who also co-wrote some of the material for Young Americans. The song "Win" featured a hypnotic guitar riff later taken by Beck for the track/live staple "Debra" off his Midnite Vultures album. Despite Bowie's unashamed recognition of the shallowness of his "plastic soul," he did earn the bona fide distinction of being one of the few white artists to be invited to appear on the popular "Soul Train." Another violently paranoid appearance on ABC's The Dick Cavett Show (1974 5 December) seemed to confirm rumours of Bowie's heavy cocaine use at this time. Young Americans was the album that cemented Bowie's stardom in the U.S.; though only peaking there at #9, as opposed to the #5 placing of Diamond Dogs, the album stayed on the charts almost twice as long. At the same time, the album achieved #2 in the UK while a re-issue of his old single "Space Oddity" became his first #1 hit in the UK, only a few months after "Fame" had achieved the same in the US.

Station to Station (1976) featured a darker version of this soul persona, called "The Thin White Duke". Visually the figure was an extension of Thomas Jerome Newton, the character Bowie portrayed in The Man Who Fell to Earth. Station to Station was a transitional album, prefiguring the Krautrock and synthesizer music of his next releases, while further developing the funk and soul music of Young Americans. By this time, Bowie had become heavily dependent on drugs, particularly cocaine; many critics have attributed the chopped rhythms and emotional detachment of the record to the influence of the drug, to which Bowie claimed to have been introduced in America. Bowie refused to relinquish control of a satellite, booked for a worldwide broadcast of a live appearance preceding the release of Station to Station, at the request of the Spanish Government, who wished to put out a live feed regarding the death of Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco. His sanity—by his own later admission—became twisted from cocaine: he overdosed several times during the year. Additionally, Bowie was withering physically after having lost an alarming amount of weight.

Nonetheless, there was another large tour, The 1976 World Tour, which featured a starkly lit set and highlighted new songs such as the dramatic and lengthy title track, the ballads "Wild Is the Wind" and "Word on a Wing", and the funkier "TVC 15" and "Stay". The core band that coalesced around this album and tour—rhythm guitarist Alomar, bassist George Murray, and drummer Dennis Davis—would remain a stable unit through the 1970s. The tour was highly successful but also entrenched in controversy, as the media claimed that Bowie was advocating fascism, an issue later shown to have arisen from the misunderstanding of an anti-fascist message.

Bowie's interest in the growing German music scene, as well as his drug addiction, prompted him to move to West Berlin to dry out and rejuvenate his career. Sharing an apartment in Schöneberg with his friend Iggy Pop, he co-produced three more of his own classic albums with Tony Visconti, while aiding Pop with his career. With Bowie as a co-writer and musician, Pop completed his first two solo albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life. Bowie joined Pop's touring band in the spring, simply playing keyboard and singing backing vocals. The group performed in the UK, Europe, and the US from March to April 1977.

The brittle sound of Station to Station proved a precursor to Low, the first of three albums that became known as the "Berlin Trilogy". Low was recorded with Brian Eno as an integral collaborator but, despite widespread belief, not the album's producer. Journalists often mistakenly give Eno production credits on the trilogy but, in fact, Bowie and Tony Visconti co-produced, with Eno co-writing some of the music, playing keyboards, and developing strategies.

Partly influenced by the Krautrock sound of Kraftwerk and Neu! and the minimalist work of Steve Reich, Bowie journeyed to Neunkirchen near Cologne to meet the famed German producer Conny Plank. Bowie and his team persevered, however, and recorded new songs that were relatively simple, repetitive and stripped-down, a perverse reaction to punk rock, with the second side almost wholly instrumental. (By way of tribute, proto-punk Nick Lowe recorded an EP entitled "Bowi".) The album provided him with a surprise #3 hit in the UK when the BBC picked up the first single, "Sound and Vision", as its 'coming attractions' theme music. The album was produced in 1976 and released in early 1977.

The Low sessions also formalised Bowie's three-phase approach to making albums. Much of the band were present for the first five days only, after which Eno, Alomar and Gardiner remained to play overdubs. By the time Bowie wrote and recorded the lyrics everybody but Visconti and studio engineers had departed. The next record, "Heroes", was similar in sound to Low, though slightly more accessible. The mood of these records fit the zeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city that provided its inspiration. The title track, a story of two lovers who met at the Berlin Wall, is one of Bowie's most-covered songs.

Also in 1977, Bowie appeared on the Granada music show Marc, hosted by his friend and fellow glam pioneer Marc Bolan of T.Rex, with whom he had regularly socialised and jammed before either achieved fame. He turned out to be the show's final guest, as Bolan was killed in a car crash shortly afterward. Bowie was one of many superstars who attended the funeral.

For Christmas 1977, Bowie joined Bing Crosby, of whom he was an ardent admirer, at the ATV Television Studio in Herts England to do "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy", a version of "Little Drummer Boy" with a new lyric. The resultant video in a Christmas seasonal setting was actually recorded during a late summer heatwave with the air conditioning breaking down. The two singers had originally met on Crosby's Christmas television special two years earlier (on the recommendation of Crosby's children—he had not heard of Bowie) and performed the song. One month after the record was completed, Crosby died. Five years later, the song would prove a worldwide festive hit, charting in the UK at #3 on Christmas Day 1982. Bowie later remarked jokingly that he was afraid of being a guest artist, because "everyone I was going on with was kicking it", referring to Bolan and Crosby.

Bowie and his band embarked on an extensive world tour in 1978 (including his first concerts in Australia and New Zealand) which featured music from both Low and Heroes. A live album from the tour was released as Stage the same year. Songs from both Low and Heroes were later converted to symphonies by minimalist composer Phillip Glass. 1978 was also the year that saw Bowie narrating Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

1979's Lodger was the final album in Bowie's so-called "Berlin Trilogy", or "triptych" as Bowie calls it. It featured the singles "Boys Keep Swinging", "DJ" and "Look Back in Anger" and, unlike the two previous LPs, did not contain any instrumentals. The style was a mix of New Wave and world music, which included pieces such as "African Night Flight" and "Yassassin". A number of tracks were composed using the non-traditional Bowie/Eno composition techniques: "Boys Keep Swinging" was developed with the band members swapping their instruments while "Move On" contains the chords for an early Bowie composition, "All The Young Dudes", played backwards. This was Bowie's last album with Eno until 1. Outside in 1995.

In 1980, Bowie did an about-face, integrating the lessons learnt on Low, Heroes, and Lodger while expanding upon them with chart success. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) included the #1 hit "Ashes to Ashes", featuring the textural work of guitar-synthesist Chuck Hammer, and revisiting the character of Major Tom from "Space Oddity". The imagery Bowie used in the song's music video gave international exposure to the underground New Romantic movement and, with many of the followers of this phase being devotees, Bowie visited the London club "Blitz"—the main New Romantic hangout—to recruit several of the regulars (including Steve Strange of the band Visage) to act in the video, renowned as being one of the most innovative of all time.

While Scary Monsters utilised principles that Bowie had learned in the Berlin era, it was considered by critics to be far more direct musically and lyrically, reflecting the transformation Bowie had gone through during his time in Germany and Europe. By 1980 Bowie had divorced his wife Angie, stopped the drug use of the "Thin White Duke" era, and radically changed his concept of the way music should be written. The album had a hard rock edge that included conspicuous guitar contributions from King Crimson's Robert Fripp, The Who's Pete Townshend, and Television's Tom Verlaine. As "Ashes to Ashes" hit #1 on the UK charts, Bowie opened a three-month run on Broadway starring in The Elephant Man on 23 September 1980.

In 1981, Queen released "Under Pressure", co-written and performed with Bowie. The song was a hit and became Bowie's third UK #1 single. In the same year Bowie made a cameo appearance in the German movie Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, the real-life story of a 13 year-old girl in Berlin who becomes addicted to heroin and ends up prostituting herself. Bowie is credited with "special cooperation" in the credits and his music features prominently in the movie. The soundtrack was released in 1982 and contained a version of "Heroes" sung partially in German that had previously been included on the German pressing of its parent album. The same year Bowie appeared in the BBC's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play Baal. Coinciding with transmission of the film, a five-track EP of songs from the play was released as David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht's Baal, recorded at Hansa by the Wall the previous September. It would mark Bowie’s final new release on RCA, as 1983 saw him change record labels from RCA to EMI America. In April 1982, Bowie released "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" with Giorgio Moroder, for director Paul Schrader's film Cat People.

Bowie scored his first truly commercial blockbuster with Let's Dance in 1983, a slick dance album co-produced by Chic's Nile Rodgers. The title track went to #1 in the United States and United Kingdom. The album also featured the singles "Modern Love" and "China Girl", the latter causing something of a stir due to its suggestive promotional video. "China Girl" was a remake of a song which Bowie co-wrote several years earlier with Iggy Pop, who recorded it for The Idiot. In an interview by Kurt Loder, Bowie revealed that the motivation for recording "China Girl" was to help out his friend Iggy Pop financially, contributing to Bowie's history of support for musicians he admired. Let's Dance was also notable as a stepping stone for the career of the late Texan guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on the album and was to have supported Bowie on the consequent Serious Moonlight Tour. Vaughan, however, never joined the tour after various disputes with Bowie. Vaughan was replaced by the Bowie tour veteran Earl Slick. Frank and George Simms from The Simms Brothers Band appeared as backing vocalists for the tour.

Bowie's next album was originally planned to be a live album recorded on the Serious Moonlight Tour, but EMI demanded another studio album instead. The resulting album, 1984's Tonight, was also dance-oriented, featuring collaborations with Tina Turner and Iggy Pop, as well as various covers, including one of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". Critics labeled it a lazy effort, dashed off by Bowie as an attempt to simply recapture the chart success of Let's Dance, partially due to the fact most of the tracks were either covers or rerecordings of earlier material. Yet the album bore the transatlantic Top Ten hit "Blue Jean" whose complete video - the 21-minute short film "Jazzin' for Blue Jean" - reflected Bowie's long-standing interest in combining music with drama. This video would win Bowie his only Grammy to date, for Best Short Form Music Video. It also featured "Loving the Alien", a remix of which was a minor hit in 1985. The album also has a pair of dance rewrites of "Neighborhood Threat" and "Tonight", old songs Bowie wrote with Iggy Pop which had originally appeared on Lust for Life.

In 1985, Bowie performed several of his greatest hits at Wembley for Live Aid. At the end of his set, which comprised "Rebel Rebel", "TVC 15", "Modern Love" and 'Heroes', he introduced a film of the Ethiopian famine, for which the event was raising funds, which was set to the song "Drive" by The Cars. At the event, the video to a fundraising single was premièred – Bowie performing a duet with Mick Jagger on a version of "Dancing in the Street", which quickly went to #1 on release. In the same year Bowie worked with the Pat Metheny Group on the song "This Is Not America", which was featured in the film The Falcon and the Snowman. This song was the centrepiece of the album, a collaboration intended to underline the espionage thriller's central themes of alienation and disaffection.

In 1986, Bowie contributed several songs to as well as acted in the film Absolute Beginners. The movie was not well reviewed but Bowie's theme song rose to #2 in the UK charts. He also took a role in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth, as Jareth, the Goblin King who steals the baby brother of a girl named Sarah (played by Jennifer Connelly), in order to turn him into a goblin. Bowie wrote five songs for the film, the script of which was partially written by Monty Python's Terry Jones.

Bowie's final solo album of the 80s was 1987's Never Let Me Down, where he ditched the light sound of his two earlier albums, instead offering harder rock with an industrial/techno dance edge. The album, which peaked at #6 in the UK, contained hit singles "Day In, Day Out", "Time Will Crawl", and "Never Let Me Down". Bowie himself later described it as "my nadir" and "an awful album".

Bowie decided to tour again in 1987, supporting the Never Let Me Down album. The Glass Spider Tour was preceded by nine promotional press shows before the 86-concert tour actually started on 30 May 1987. In addition to the actual band, that included Peter Frampton on lead guitar, five dancers appeared on stage for almost the entire duration of each concert. Taped pieces of dialogue were also performed by Bowie and the dancers in the middle of songs, creating an overtly theatrical effect. Several visual gimmicks were also recreated from Bowie's earlier tours. Critics of the tour described it as overproduced and claimed it pandered to then-current stadium rock trends in its special effects and dancing. However, fans that saw the shows from the Glass Spider Tour were treated to many of Bowie's classics and rarities, in addition to the newer material.

In August 1988, Bowie portrayed Pontius Pilate in the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ.

In 1989, for the first time since the early 1970s, Bowie formed a regular band, Tin Machine, a hard-rocking quartet, along with Reeves Gabrels, Tony Sales, and Hunt Sales. Tin Machine released two studio albums and a live record. The band received mixed reviews and a somewhat lukewarm reception from the public, but Tin Machine heralded the beginning of a long-lasting collaboration between Bowie and Gabrels.

The original album, Tin Machine (1989), was a success, holding the number three spot on the charts of the UK. Tin Machine launched its first world tour, featuring a now unshaven David Bowie and additional guitarist Eric Schermerhorn, that year. Despite the success of the Tin Machine venture, Bowie was mildly frustrated that many of his ideas were either rejected or changed by the band.

Bowie began the 1990s with a stadium tour, in which he played mostly his biggest hits. The Sound + Vision Tour (named after the Low single) was conceived and directed by choreographer Edouard Lock of the Quebec contemporary dance troupe La La La Human Steps, with whom Bowie collaborated and performed on stage and in his videos. Bowie vowed during the tour that he would never play his early hits again.

Though he surprised no one when he later reneged on that promise and also on the promise that his set in each country would be focused on the favourite hits voted by phone poll in that country - an idea quickly jettisoned when a campaign by the British magazine NME resulted in a landslide in favour of The Laughing Gnome, it is true that his later tours generally featured few of those hits, and when they appeared, they were often radically reworked in their arrangement and delivery.

Bowie's negative press-image continued when the cover of Tin Machine's second album became unusually controversial, due to the presence of naked statues as its cover art. The coverage only seemed to invite unrelated negative commentary about Bowie to further permeate the public discourse.

After the less successful second album Tin Machine II and the complete failure of live album Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby, Bowie tired of having to work in a group setting where his creativity was limited, and finally disbanded Tin Machine to work on his own.

In 1992 he performed his hits "Heroes" and "Under Pressure" (with Annie Lennox) at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. 1993 saw the release of the soul, jazz and hip-hop influenced Black Tie White Noise, which reunited Bowie with Let's Dance producer Nile Rodgers. The album hit the number one spot on the UK charts with singles such as "Jump They Say" (a top 10 hit) and "Miracle Goodnight".

Bowie explored new directions on The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), based on incidental music composed for a TV series. It contained some of the new elements introduced in Black Tie White Noise, and also signalled a move towards alternative rock. The album was a critical success but received a low-key release and only made number 87 in the UK charts.

The ambitious, quasi-industrial release Outside (1995), conceived as the first volume in a subsequently abandoned non-linear narrative of art and murder, reunited him with Brian Eno. The album introduced the characters of one of Bowie's short stories, and achieved chart success in both the UK and US. The album and its singles put Bowie back into the mainstream of rock music. In September 1995, Bowie began the Outside Tour with Gabrels returning as guitarist. In a move that was equally lauded and ridiculed by Bowie fans and critics, Bowie chose Nine Inch Nails as the tour partner; Trent Reznor also contributed a remix of the Outside song "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" for its single release. On 17 January 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the eleventh annual induction ceremony.

Receiving some of the strongest critical response since Let's Dance was Earthling (1997), which incorporated experiments in British jungle and drum 'n' bass and included a single released over the Internet, called "Telling Lies"; other singles included "Little Wonder" and "Dead Man Walking". There was a corresponding world tour. Bowie's track in the Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls, "I'm Afraid of Americans" was remixed by Trent Reznor for a single release. The video's heavy rotation (also featuring Reznor) contributed to the song's 16-week stay in the US Billboard Hot 100.

In 1998, David Bowie had reunited with Tony Visconti to record a song for The Rugrats Movie called "(Safe in This) Sky Life". Although the track was edited out of the final cut, and did not feature on the film's soundtrack album, the reunion led to the pair pursuing a new collaborative effort. "(Safe In This) Sky Life" was later re-recorded and released as a single b-side in 2002 where it was retitled "Safe". Amongst their earliest work together in this period, was a reworking of Placebo's track "Without You I'm Nothing", from the album of the same name - Visconti overseeing the additional production required when Bowie's harmonised vocal was added to the original version for a strictly limited edition single release.

1999 found Bowie composing the soundtrack for a computer game called "Omikron: The Nomad Soul". Bowie and his wife, Iman, made appearances as characters in the game. That same year, re-recorded tracks from the game and new music was released in the album 'hours...' featured "What's Really Happening", the lyrics for which were written by Alex Grant, the winner of Bowie's "Cyber Song Contest" Internet competition. This album presented Bowie's exit from heavy electronica, with an emphasis on more live instruments, and, through songs like "Thursday's Child" and "Survive", a thematic move into Bowie's sense of his own aging and sentimentality.

Plans surfaced after the release of 'hours...' for an album titled Toy, which would feature new versions of some of Bowie's earliest pieces as well as three new songs. Sessions for the album commenced in 2000, but the album was never released, leaving a number of tracks, some as yet unheard, on the editing floor. Bowie and Visconti continued collaboration with the production of a new album of completely original songs instead. The result of the sessions was the 2002 album Heathen, which had a dark atmospheric sound, and was Bowie's biggest chart success in recent years. 2002 also saw Bowie curate the annual Meltdown festival in London. Amongst the acts selected by Bowie to perform were Phillip Glass, Television and The Polyphonic Spree. Bowie himself played a show at the Royal Festival Hall which notably included a rare performance of his experimental opus Low in its entirety.

In 2003, a report in the Sunday Express named Bowie as the second-richest entertainer in the UK (behind Sir Paul McCartney), with an estimated fortune of £510 million. However, the 2005 Sunday Times Rich List credited him with a little over £100 million.

In September 2003, Bowie released a new album, Reality, and announced a world tour. 'A Reality Tour' was the best-selling tour of the following year. However, it was cut short after Bowie suffered chest pain while performing on stage at the Hurricane Festival in Scheeßel, Germany, on 25 June 2004. Originally thought to be a pinched nerve in his shoulder, the pain was later diagnosed as an acutely blocked artery; an emergency angioplasty was performed at St. Georg Hospital in Hamburg by Dr Karl Heinz Kuck.

He was discharged in early July 2004 and continued to spend time recovering. Bowie later admitted he had suffered a minor heart attack, resulting from years of heavy smoking and touring. The tour was cancelled for the time being, with hopes that he would go back on tour by August, though this did not materialise. He recuperated back in New York City.

In October 2004, Bowie released a live DVD of the tour, entitled A Reality Tour of his performances in Dublin on 22 November and 23 November 2003, which included songs spanning the full length of Bowie's career, although mostly focusing on his more recent albums.

Still recuperating from his operation, Bowie worked off-stage and relaxed from studio work for the first time in several years. In 2004, a duet of his classic song "Changes" with Butterfly Boucher appeared in Shrek 2. The soundtrack for the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou featured David Bowie songs performed in Portuguese by cast member Seu Jorge (who adapted the lyrics to make them relevant to the film's story). Most of the David Bowie songs featured in the film were originally from David Bowie (debut album), Space Oddity, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Diamond Dogs. Bowie commented, "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs acoustically in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with".

Despite hopes for a comeback, in 2005, Bowie announced that he had made no plans for any performances during the year. After a relatively quiet year, Bowie recorded the vocals for the song "(She Can) Do That", co-written by Brian Transeau, for the movie Stealth. Rumours flew about the possibility of a new album, but no announcements were made.

David Bowie finally returned to the stage on 8 September 2005, alongside Arcade Fire, for the US nationally televised event Fashion Rocks, his first gig since the heart attack. Bowie has shown interest in the Montreal band since he was seen at one of their shows in New York City nearly a year earlier. Bowie had requested the band to perform at the show, and together they performed the Arcade Fire's song "Wake Up" from their album Funeral, as well as Bowie's own "Five Years" and "Life on Mars?". He joined them again on 15 September 2005, singing "Queen Bitch" and "Wake Up" from Central Park's Summerstage as part of the CMJ Music Marathon.

Bowie contributed back-up vocals for TV on the Radio's song "Province" from their album Return to Cookie Mountain. He made other occasional appearances, as in his commercial with Snoop Dogg for XM Satellite Radio. He appeared on Danish alt-rockers Kashmir's 2005 release, No Balance Palace, sharing lead vocals with Kashmir singer Kasper Eistrup on the song "The Cynic". The album was was produced by Tony Visconti, who also arranged the contact. No Balance Palace also featured a spoken word performance by Lou Reed, making it the second project involving both Bowie and Reed in two years, since Reed's 2003 The Raven.

On 8 February 2006, David Bowie was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In November, Bowie performed at the Black Ball in New York for the Keep a Child Alive Foundation alongside his wife, Iman, and Alicia Keys. He duetted with Keys on "Changes", and also performed "Wild is the Wind" and "Fantastic Voyage".

For 2006, Bowie once again announced a break from performance, but he made a surprise guest appearance at David Gilmour's 29 May 2006 concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He sang "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb", closing the concert. The former performance was released, on 26 December 2006, as a single.

In May 2007, it was announced that Bowie would curate the High Line Festival in the abandoned railway park in New York called the High Line where he would select various musicians and artists to perform.

Bowie contributed backing vocals to two tracks - "Falling Down" and "Fannin' Street" - on Scarlett Johansson's 2008 album of Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head.

On 29 June 2008, Bowie released a new compilation entitled iSELECT. This CD was a collection of personal favourites compiled by Bowie himself and was available exclusively as a free gift with the British newspaper The Mail On Sunday. The compilation is notable in that it only contained one major hit single, "Life on Mars?", and concentrated on lesser-known album tracks.

Bowie's first major film role in The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976, earned acclaim. Bowie's character Thomas Jerome Newton is an alien from a planet that is dying from a lack of water. In 1979's Just a Gigolo, an Anglo-German co-production directed by David Hemmings, Bowie played the lead role of a Prussian officer Paul von Pryzgodski returning from World War I who is discovered by a Baroness (Marlene Dietrich) and put into her Gigolo Stable.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence impressed some critics. His next major film project, the rock musical Absolute Beginners (1986), was both a critical and box office disappointment. The same year he appeared in the Jim Henson cult classic, the dark fantasy Labyrinth (1986), playing Jareth, the king of the goblins. Jareth is a powerful, mysterious creature who has an antagonistic yet strangely flirtatious relationship with Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), the film's teenage heroine. Appearing in heavy make-up and a mane-like wig, Bowie sang a variety of new songs specially composed for the film's soundtrack. Bowie also played a sympathetic Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He was briefly considered for the role of The Joker by Tim Burton and Sam Hamm for 1989's Batman. Hamm recalls "David Bowie would be kind of neat because he's very funny when he does sinister roles". The role ended up going to Jack Nicholson.

Bowie portrayed a disgruntled restaurant employee opposite Rosanna Arquette in the 1991 film The Linguini Incident, and played mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). He took the small but pivotal role of Andy Warhol in Basquiat, artist/director Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. In 1998 Bowie also co-starred in an Italian film called Gunslinger's Revenge (renamed from the original Il Mio West). However, it was not released in the United States until 2005. In it he plays the most feared gunslinger in the region.

Before appearing in The Hunger, a TV horror serial based on the 1983 movie, Bowie was invited by musician Goldie to play the aging gangster Bernie in Andrew Goth's Brighton Rock inspired movie, Everybody Loves Sunshine. He played the title role in the 2000 film, Mr. Rice's Secret, in which he played the neighbour of a terminally ill twelve year old. In 2001, Bowie appeared as himself in the film Zoolander, volunteering himself to be a walkoff judge between Ben Stiller's character Zoolander, and Owen Wilson's character, Hansel.

In 2006, Bowie portrayed Nikola Tesla alongside Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan. It follows the bitter competition between two magicians around the turn of the century. Bowie has voice-acted in the animated movie Arthur and the Minimoys (known as Arthur and the Invisibles in the U.S.) as the powerful villain Maltazard. He also appeared as himself in an episode of Extras. Bowie (in the context of the show) improvised and sang a song mocking the main character Andy Millman, played by Ricky Gervais. He also lent his voice to the character "Lord Royal Highness" in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis". His latest project is a supporting role as Ogilvie in the new film, August, directed by Austin Chick (best known for writing and directing the 2002 romantic drama XX/XY), and starring Josh Hartnett and Rip Torn (with whom he also worked on The Man Who Fell to Earth).

Bowie met his first wife Angela Bowie in 1969. According to Bowie, they were "fucking the same bloke". Angie's sense of fashion and outrage has been credited as a significant influence in Bowie's early career and rise to fame. They married on 19 March 1970 at Bromley Register Office in Beckenham Lane, Kent, England where she permanently took his adopted last name. Their first son was born on 30 May 1971 and named Zowie (Zowie later preferred to be known as Joe/Joey, although now he has reverted to his legal birth name - "Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones"). They separated after eight years of marriage and divorced on 8 February 1980, in Switzerland. The marriage has been cited as one of convenience for both.

Bowie married his second wife, the Somali-born supermodel Iman Abdulmajid, in 1992. The couple have a daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones (known as Lexi), born 15 August 2000, and live in Manhattan and London.

Bowie outed himself in an interview with Melody Maker in January 1972, a move coinciding with the first shots in his campaign for stardom as Ziggy Stardust. In a 1976 interview with Playboy, Bowie said: "It's true - I am a bisexual. But I can't deny that I've used that fact very well. I suppose it's the best thing that ever happened to me." He distanced himself from that in a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, saying his earlier declaration of bisexuality was "the biggest mistake I ever made".

Interesting. I don’t think it was a mistake in Europe, but it was a lot tougher in America. I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners or be a representative of any group of people. I knew what I wanted to be, which was a songwriter and a performer, and I felt that became my headline over here for so long. America is a very puritanical place, and I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do.

In September 2007, he made a contribution of U.S.$10,000 to the NAACP for the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund to help with legal bills of six teenagers arrested and charged with crimes related to their involvement in the assault of a teenager in Jena.

Along with Eric Clapton Bowie has caused controversy for some radical political comments. He has been has been quoted as suggesting Britain was in need of a right-wing dictatorship in the 1980s and that Adolf Hitler was 'the first super-star'. Such comments were a major source of motivation behind the Rock Against Racism group. In more recent years Bowie has gone to great lengths to distance himself from such comments.

Bowie has previously declined the British honour Commander of the British Empire in 2000, and a knighthood in 2003.

To the top



Ewan McGregor

EwanMcGregorJuly06.jpg

Ewan Gordon McGregor (born 31 March 1971; pronounced /ˌjuːən məˈgrɛgər/) is a Scottish actor, singer, and adventurer who has had success in mainstream, indie and art house films. He is perhaps best known for playing the lead role in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, his portrayal of the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, his role as the romantic penniless writer, Christian, in the 2001 award-winning Moulin Rouge!, and his motorcycle adventures with friend Charley Boorman in Long Way Round and Long Way Down. He is due to appear in the upcoming films I Love You Phillip Morris and Amelia and will portray the camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Carlo Ventresca) in the film adaption of Angels & Demons, awaiting release in 2009.

Aside from his film work, McGregor has starred in theatre productions of Guys and Dolls. He also appeared in television series such as The Scarlet and the Black, Lipstick On Your Collar, Tales from the Crypt, and ER. He was ranked No. 36 in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

McGregor was born in the Perth Royal Infirmary, was brought up in the nearby small town of Crieff, Scotland, and went to the independent fee-paying school Morrison's Academy. His mother, Carol Diane (née Lawson), is a teacher and school administrator, and his father, James Charles Stuart McGregor, is a physical education teacher. His mother is the sister of actor Denis Lawson, the sister-in-law of the late actress Sheila Gish, and the step-aunt of the late Lou Gish. McGregor attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1988 to study drama. Six months before graduating, he won a leading role in Dennis Potter's six-part BBC series Lipstick on Your Collar, and has been working steadily ever since. McGregor made his feature film debut in 1993 in Bill Forsyth's Being Human. The following year, he earned widespread praise and won an Empire Award for his performance in the thriller Shallow Grave, which marked his first collaboration with director Danny Boyle. His major international breakthrough soon followed with the role of heroin addict Mark Renton in Boyle's film version of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting (1996).

In 1999, McGregor starred in the blockbuster Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, a role originally made famous by Sir Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars trilogy. He reprised his role for the subsequent prequels Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). McGregor took very special care (especially in Revenge of the Sith) in his portrayal to ensure that Obi-Wan's mannerisms, speech timings, and accents closely resemble Obi-Wan's "Alec Guinness Self". In appearing in the Star Wars films, he was continuing a family tradition of sorts: his uncle, Denis Lawson, had played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.

McGregor has been featured as the male romantic lead in Hollywood films such as Moulin Rouge! and Down With Love, and in the British film Little Voice. He received excellent reviews for his performance as an amoral drifter mixed up in murder in the Scottish film Young Adam (2003), which co-starred the acclaimed Scottish actress Tilda Swinton. McGregor was offered the lead role as James Bond in the 2006 reboot Casino Royale but he turned it down because he feared becoming typecast.

McGregor is one of the few major male actors to repeatedly do full-frontal nudity in many of his films, including Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine, The Pillow Book, and Young Adam. He also played gay and bisexual characters in Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book (1996) and Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine (1998).

In 2005, McGregor lent his voice to two successful animated features; the robot Rodney Copperbottom in Robots, which also featured the voices of Halle Berry and Robin Williams; and the lead character in Gary Chapman's Valiant, alongside Jim Broadbent, John Cleese and Ricky Gervais. Additionally in 2005, McGregor played two roles (one a clone of the other) opposite Scarlett Johansson in Michael Bay's The Island and then appeared in Marc Forster's Stay, a psychological thriller co-starring Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling.

McGregor has narrated the STV show JetSet, a Scottish series following the lives of student pilots and navigators at RAF Lossiemouth as they undergo a gruelling six-month course learning to fly the Tornado GR4—the RAF's primary attack aircraft. In theatre, he starred alongside Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge, and Jenna Russell in the original Donmar Warehouse production of Guys and Dolls in London at the Piccadilly Theatre. He played the leading role of Sky Masterson, made famous by Marlon Brando in the movie, and he received the LastMinute.com award for Best Actor in 2005. He was also nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. McGregor appears opposite Colin Farrell in Cassandra's Dream, and will co-star with Daniel Craig in Dan Harris' upcoming film adaptation of Glen Duncan's novel I, Lucifer.. He will also be featured along with Jim Carrey in the 2009 film I Love You Phillip Morris.

From December 2007 to February 2008, he starred as Iago in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello and Kelly Reilly as Desdemona, a role he will reprise on BBC Radio 3 in May 2008.

On 22 July 1995, in a village in France, McGregor married Eve Mavrakis, a French production designer, whom he met while filming a guest appearance on the British television series Kavanagh QC. They have two daughters together, Clara Mathilde (born February 1996) and Esther Rose (born 7 November 2001). In April 2006, McGregor and his wife adopted Jamiyan, a four-year-old girl from Mongolia (born June 2001). McGregor refuses to talk about his family in interviews; "because it's private." During the "fly-on-the-wall" filming of preparation for the Long Way Round and Long Way Down journeys, McGregor went to great lengths to keep his children and information that could reveal the location of his house away from the cameras. Unlike travelling companion Charley Boorman, whose daughters often appeared in front of the cameras, McGregor's children were not present at the send-off or any other filmed parts of either adventure.

McGregor confirmed in an interview with the Sunday Times magazine that he and his family have now moved to California, as living in America offers him greater privacy and he has been able to devote more time to motorcycling and learning to fly small aircraft.

A keen motorcyclist since his youth, McGregor undertook a marathon motorcycle trip with his friend Charley Boorman and cameraman Claudio von Planta in 2004. From mid-April to the end of July, they travelled from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Russia (including Siberia), Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Canada on BMW R1150GS Adventure motorcycles, for a cumulative distance of 22,345 miles (35,960 km). The trip formed the basis of a television series and a best-selling book, both called Long Way Round. En route the Long Way Round team took time out to see some of UNICEF's work in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. The Long Way Round team reunited in 2007 for another motorcycle trip from John o' Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa. The journey, entitled Long Way Down lasted from 12 May until 5 August 2007.

McGregor has taken paragliding lessons.

McGregor once criticized fellow Scottish actor Sean Connery, saying that he resented being told how to feel about Scotland "by someone who hadn't lived there in 25 years". However, he later apologised to Connery, after Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, for whose party Connery is an occasional spokesman, contacted him about the statement.

McGregor's brother, Colin, is a Tornado GR4 pilot in the Royal Air Force. Colin joined the motorcycle team during the early stages of the Long Way Down journey. His father Jim McGregor also rode on sections of both Long Way Round and Long Way Down, while his mother Carol surprised him in the latter stages of his African journey, serving him a can of Coca-Cola at a lodge in Malawi.

In an episode of Parkinson in 2007, McGregor claimed that he has given up alcohol after a period where he was arguably a functioning alcoholic, and that he has not had a drink in seven years. In 2008, he had a cancerous mole removed from underneath his right eye.

To the top



Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman.jpg

Natalie Portman (Hebrew: נטלי פורטמן‎; born Natalie Hershlag June 9, 1981) is an Israeli American actress. Portman began her career in the early 1990s, turning down the opportunity to become a child model in favor of acting. Her first role came in the 1994 independent film Léon. She became well known when she was cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Portman, who stated that she would "...rather be smart than be a movie star," completed a bachelor's degree in psychology at Harvard College while she was working on the Star Wars films.

In 2001, Portman opened in New York City's Public Theater production of Chekhov's The Seagull, alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In 2005, Portman received a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actress in the drama Closer. In May 2008, she served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury.

The 65th Venice International Film Festival's shorts competition began September 1, 2008, with Portman's directorial debut, Eve.

Portman was born Natalie Hershlag (Hebrew: נטלי הרשלג‎) in Jerusalem, Israel. Her father, Avner Hershlag, is an Israeli doctor specializing in fertility and reproduction (reproductive endocrinology). Her mother, Shelley Stevens, is an American homemaker who now works as her agent. Portman's maternal ancestors were Jews from Austria and Russia and her paternal ancestors were Jews who immigrated to Israel from Poland and Romania. Her paternal grandfather's parents died in Auschwitz and her Romanian-born great-grandmother was a spy for the British during World War II.

Portman's parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University where her mother was selling tickets. Her father returned to Israel, but the two corresponded and were married when her mother visited Israel a few years later. In 1984, when Portman was three years old, the family moved from Israel to the United States, where her father pursued his medical training. The family first lived in Washington, D.C., where she attended Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, but relocated to Connecticut in 1988, and then settled permanently in Long Island, New York, in 1990. Portman has said that although she "really love the States... my heart's in Jerusalem. That's where I feel at home." She is an only child and very close to her parents, who are often seen with her at her film premieres.

Although she says her family was not religious, Portman attended a Jewish elementary school, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Glen Cove, New York. She graduated from a public high school, Syosset High School. Portman skipped the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I so she could study for her high school final exams.

In June 2003, Portman graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology. At Harvard, Portman was Alan Dershowitz's research assistant (he thanks her in The Case for Israel) in a psychology lab. While attending Harvard, she was a resident of the Lowell House and wrote a response letter to the Harvard Crimson that was considered very well-written, in response to an anti-Israeli essay.

Portman pursued graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the spring of 2004. In March 2006, she appeared as a guest lecturer at a Columbia University course in terrorism and counterterrorism, where she spoke about her film V for Vendetta.

In addition to being bilingual in Hebrew and English, Portman has studied French, Japanese, German, and Arabic.

As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in professional scientific journals. Her 1998 high school paper on the "Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen" was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. In 2002, she contributed to a study on memory called "Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence" during her psychology studies at Harvard. Due to her scientific publications, Portman is among a very small number of professional actors with a defined Erdős–Bacon number.

Portman has been a vegetarian since childhood and is an advocate for animal rights. She does not eat animal products or wear fur, feathers, or leather. "All of my shoes are from Target and Stella McCartney," she says. It has been reported that she will appear alongside actress Elissa Sursara in a PETA PSA to support the group's anti-fur campaign at some point throughout 2009. In 2007, Natalie Portman traveled to Rwanda with Jack Hanna, to film a documentary titled Gorillas on the Brink. Later, at a naming ceremony, Portman named a baby gorilla Gukina, which means "to play." In 2007, she launched her own brand of vegan footwear. Portman has been an advocate of environmental causes since childhood, when she joined an environmental song and dance troupe known as World Patrol Kids.

Portman was involved with the 2004 presidential campaign of Democratic candidate John Kerry and has supported antipoverty activities. In 2004 and 2005, she traveled to Uganda, Guatemala, and Ecuador as the Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International, an organization that promotes micro-lending to help finance women-owned businesses in poor countries. In an interview conducted backstage at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia and appearing on the PBS program Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, she discussed microfinance. Host Fareed Zakaria said that he was "generally wary of celebrities with fashionable causes", but included the segment with Portman because "she really knew her stuff." In the "Voices" segment of the April 29, 2007, episode of the ABC Sunday Morning Program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Portman discussed her work with FINCA and how it can benefit women and children in Third World countries. In fall 2007, Portman visited several university campuses, including Harvard, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, New York University, and Columbia, to inspire students with the power of microfinance and to encourage them to join the Village Banking Campaign to help families and communities lift themselves out of poverty.

On the concept of the afterlife, she comments: "I don't believe in that. I believe this is it, and I believe it's the best way to live." She has said that she feels more Jewish in Israel and that she would like to raise her children in the Jewish religion: "A priority for me is definitely that I'd like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner... I get much more Jewish in Israel." During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Portman supported Senator Hillary Clinton for president, but said that she "likes Obama as well." She later campaigned for Obama during the general election.

Portman has had romantic links with actors including Gael García Bernal and Jake Gyllenhaal. In the May 2002 issue of Vogue, Portman called actor/musician Lukas Haas and musician Moby her close friends. She was linked to Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, but he claims they are friends. She reportedly dated Nat Rothschild, of the famous multi-billionaire banking family. After starring in the video for his song "Carmensita," she began dating Venezuelan folk singer Devendra Banhart.

Portman started dancing lessons at the age of four and she performed in local troupes. At the age of ten, a Revlon agent asked her to become a child model, but she turned down the offer, to focus on acting. In a magazine interview, Portman said that she was "...different from the other kids. I was more ambitious, I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid." Portman spent her school holidays attending theater camps. When she was ten, she auditioned for Ruthless!, a play about a girl who is prepared to commit murder to get the lead in a school play, and she was chosen as the understudy for Laura Bell Bundy. In 1994, she auditioned for the role of a child who befriends a middle-aged hitman in Luc Besson's film Léon (aka The Professional). Soon after getting the part, she took her grandmother's maiden name "Portman" as her stage name, in the interest of privacy; in the director's cut of the film on DVD she is credited as Natalie Hershlag. Léon opened on November 18, 1994, marking her feature film debut at age 13. That same year she appeared in the short film Developing, which aired on television.

During the mid-1990s, Portman had roles in the films Heat, Everyone Says I Love You, and Mars Attacks!, as well as a major role in Beautiful Girls. She was also the first choice to play Juliet in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, but producers felt her age wasn't suitable enough. In 1997, Portman played the role of Anne Frank in a Broadway adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. She initially turned down the lead role in the film Anywhere but Here, after learning it would involve a sex scene, but director Wayne Wang and actress Susan Sarandon demanded a rewrite of the script; Portman was shown a new draft, and she joined the project. The film opened in late 1999, and she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Ann August. Critic Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon called Portman "astonishing", and noted that "nlike any number of actresses her age, she's neither too maudlin nor too plucky." In the late 1990s, Portman was cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The first part, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, opened in early 1999, and the popularity of the film made Portman well known to audiences. She then signed on to play the lead role of a persevering teenaged mother in Where the Heart Is.

After filming Where the Heart Is, Portman moved into the dorms of Harvard University to pursue her bachelor's degree in psychology. She said in a 1999 interview that, with the exception of the Star Wars prequels, she would not act for the next four years in order to concentrate on studying. During the summer break, from June to September 2000, Portman filmed Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in Sydney, including additional production in London. In July 2001, Portman opened in New York City's Public Theater production of Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols, playing the role of Nina alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The play opened at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. That same year, she was one of many celebrities who made cameo appearances in the comedy Zoolander. In 2002, the film opened around the world. Portman was cast in a small role in the film Cold Mountain alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.

In 2004, Portman appeared in the independent movies Garden State and Closer. Garden State was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, and won Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. Her performance as Alice in Closer saw Portman win a Supporting Actress Golden Globe as well as a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

2005 saw the worldwide release of the final Star Wars prequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on May 19. The film was the highest grossing film of the year, and was voted Favorite Motion Picture at the People's Choice Awards. Shortly before the film's opening, Portman shaved her head for her role in the film adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel V for Vendetta, released in March 2006. Her shaved head was first seen publicly at the Revenge of the Sith premieres. "Making a dramatic change that isn't reversible is always a worthy experience", she said of the drastically different hairstyle, "and that sort of gave me the courage to do it." She kept her hair short for most of 2005, had a fauxhawk, and briefly sported a full mohawk in late August, saying that it was "kind of wonderful to throw vanity away for a bit". Also in 2005, Portman filmed Free Zone and director Miloš Forman's Goya's Ghosts. Forman had not seen any of her work, but thought she looked like a Goya painting so he requested a meeting.

Portman appeared on Saturday Night Live on March 4, 2006, hosting the show with musical guest Fall Out Boy and special guest star Dennis Haysbert. In a SNL Digital Short, she portrays herself as an angry gangsta rapper (with Andy Samberg as her Flavor Flav-esque partner in Viking garb) during a faux-interview with Chris Parnell, saying she cheated at Harvard University while high on pot and cocaine. The song, titled "Natalie's Rap", was released - alongside other sketches from the show - in 2009 on Incredibad, an album by the Lonely Island. In another sketch, she portrays a student named Rebecca Hershlag (her actual surname) attending a Bar Mitzvah, and in an installment of the recurring sketch The Needlers (also known as Sally and Dan, The Couple That Should Be Divorced), plays a fertility specialist (her father's profession).

Portman has commented on V for Vendetta's political relevance, and mentioned that her character, who joins an underground anti-government group, is "often bad and does things that you don't like" and that "Being from Israel was a reason I wanted to do this because terrorism and violence are such a daily part of my conversations since I was little." She said the film "doesn't make clear good or bad statements. It respects the audience enough to take away their own opinion". Both Goya's Ghosts and Free Zone received limited releases in 2006. Portman starred in the children's film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, which began filming in April 2006 and was released in November 2007; she has said that she was "excited to do a kids' movie." In late 2006, Portman filmed The Other Boleyn Girl, a historical drama in which she plays Anne Boleyn; Eric Bana and Scarlett Johansson co-starred in the film. She was also named one of the hottest women of film and TV by Blender Magazine.

In 2006, she filmed Wong Kar-wai's road movie My Blueberry Nights. She won acclaim for her role as gambler Leslie, because "or once she's not playing a waif or a child princess but a mature, full-bodied woman,...but she's not coasting on her looks;...She uses her appeal to simultaneously flirt with and taunt the gambler across the table". Portman voiced Bart Simpson's girlfriend Darcy in the episode "Little Big Girl" of The Simpsons' 18th season. She also appears in Paul McCartney's music video "Dance Tonight" from his 2007 album Memory Almost Full, directed by Michel Gondry. Portman co-starred in the Wes Anderson short film Hotel Chevalier, opposite Jason Schwartzman, in which she performed her first nude scene. She is scheduled to star opposite Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in the drama film Brothers, a remake of the 2004 Danish film of the same name. In May 2008, Portman served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury.

To the top



Ghost World (film)

Ghostworldposter.jpg

Ghost World is a 2001 film directed by Terry Zwigoff, based on a graphic novel (of the same name) and screenplay by Daniel Clowes. It stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi. Although the film was not a box-office blockbuster, it was enormously acclaimed by critics and has established a strong cult following.

The story focuses on the life of two teenage friends, Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), who are outside of the normal high school social order in an unnamed suburb, often assumed to be in or around Los Angeles, where much of the movie was shot.

Enid and Rebecca (best friends and outcasts among their class mates) graduate from high school. The class throws off their graduation hats, and Enid and Rebecca wander off in the distance and give the finger to the school they've managed to survive. After checking her diploma, Enid is angered to discover that it was awarded only conditionally and that she must attend a remedial art class that summer.

Later, Enid and Rebecca attend the graduation party, where they are annoyed by various students they don’t like, including Melora, an overly enthusiastic would-be actress.

The next day, while in a 1950s-style diner, Enid and Rebecca decide to make a prank call to a lonely man named Seymour (Steve Buscemi) who has placed an ad in the personals section, pretending that they are the woman he is infatuated with. He shows up at the restaurant (where Enid and Becky are waiting with their friend and reluctant accomplice Josh), and Enid begins to feel sorry for him. In the next few days, Enid and Rebecca follow up on Seymour and go to look at a garage sale, where Seymour is selling vintage records from his own collection. Enid purchases one 33 1/3 RPM blues record from him. He wraps it in his own plastic bag, which delights her.

Enid also begins to attend her art class, which is taught by Roberta Allsworth, an arty, self important performance artist. She dismisses Enid's talented drawings as cartoons, preferring the conceptual artwork of another student because it is "serious" and "political." Enid becomes more depressed and withdrawn. Rebecca, on the other hand, finds a job in a coffee shop and seems more and more content to lead an ordinary life.

Despite her growing alienation, Enid finds some solace in her growing friendship with Seymour, becoming increasingly infatuated with him as her relationship with Rebecca fades. She learns more details about Seymour's life, including his middle management position with a fast food franchise called Cook's Chicken. Seymour informs Enid of Cook's secret racist past (it was originally called "Coon Chicken" also known as Coon Chicken Inn) after Enid discovers an old poster from Cook's depicting a grotesquely caricatured black man. Enid asks to borrow the poster and Seymour reluctantly lets her. Enid brings the poster to her art class, presenting it as a found art object. Her classmates are appalled, but Roberta is impressed with the concept behind Enid's project and later offers her a scholarship to an art college.

As much as Enid grows to like Seymour, she is not entirely honest with him. First, she sets out to arrange dates for him and eventually encourages him to develop a relationship with Dana, the woman he originally became infatuated with. However, Enid becomes jealous when Dana works to end Enid's friendship with Seymour. After Seymour turns down Enid's invitation to her art class's end of term show, Enid is too upset to attend the show alone and skips it, unaware that her contribution, the racist poster, has created a scandal. The next day, Roberta tells Enid about the scandal and that she has lost the scholarship because of it. Enid goes to Seymour for solace and they have a drunken one-night stand. Seymour, whose feelings towards Dana have been fading anyway, now hopes to have a serious romantic relationship with Enid. Enid, on the other hand, flees Seymour's apartment the next morning before he awakens and refuses to take his calls.

In the meantime, Enid and Rebecca get in a heated fight, and the two, who originally wanted to rent an apartment together, reconsider; Rebecca thinks she would be better off living on her own, but Enid, after discovering that she has lost the scholarship and that her father's former girlfriend is moving back, insists that she still wants to live with Becky. On the night before she is to move in with Becky she is unable to finish packing, and she does not show up at Becky's the next day. Seymour turns up though, frustrated because Enid has been ignoring his calls and he has lost his job because of the art show scandal. Becky, angered by Enid not showing up, spitefully tells him about the telephone prank she, Enid, and Josh were in on. Seymour turns up at Josh's workplace, a convenience store, to take out his anger by destroying the merchandise, but a customer intervenes and injures Seymour, putting him in the hospital. Enid visits Seymour and lets him know her true feelings for him ("You're, like, my hero!"), showing him how prominently she has featured him in her sketchbook. Enid and Rebecca also have a reconciliation of sorts, half-heartedly speaking of “calling each other” sometime. As time passes, Seymour has a therapy session with a bored psychiatrist to work out his issues. Enid, who is still trying to figure out what to do with her life, boards a bus — once thought to be on a defunct line — and the bus drives off into the distance.

The film departs from its source material in a number of ways.

Ghost World premiered on June 16, 2001 at the Seattle International Film Festival, to lower than average recognition by audiences, but admiration from critics. It was also screened at several film festivals all over the world including the Fantasia Festival in Montreal.

With a limited commercial theatrical run in the US, Ghost World’s commercial success was extremely minimal—grossing less money than used to make the film, and from small attention from audiences and box office recipients – however its critical reception was far greater than a certain degree of films released that year, sitting at a lofty eminent position on many critical lists, significantly praised in many reviews. The overall box office tally for Ghost World in 2001 was US$6,944,894, on its estimated $7,000,000 budget.

Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said "I wanted to hug the film . It takes such a risky journey and never goes wrong. It creates specific, original, believable, lovable characters, and meanders with them through their inconsolable days, never losing its sense of humor. The Buscemi role is one he's been pointing toward during his entire career; it's like the flip side of his alcoholic barfly in Trees Lounge, (1996) who also becomes entangled with a younger girl, not so fortunately." He also listed on his "Top Ten of 2001" list. Its 92/100 rating of fresh reviews on Rotten Tomatoes reflected its commercial success, marked by being one of the most-rented films from March 2002–December 2002, sitting at number 7 on its first release into video stores.

Ghost World topped MSN Movies' list of the 'Top 10 Comic Book Movies', was ranked number 3 out of 94 in Rotten Tomatoes' "Comix Worst to Best" countdown (where 1 was best and 94 was worst). 5th 'Best' on IGN's 'Best & Worst Comic-Book Movies' and Empire magazine ranked the film 19th in their "The 20th Greatest Comic Book Movies" list.

The score to Ghost World is composed by orchestrator and arranger David Kitay, an excerpt of his work for the film is heard on the last track of the soundtrack album.

Music in the film includes the Bollywood dance number, "Jaan Pehechan Ho" by Mohammed Rafi and "Devil Got My Woman" by Skip James, as well as "Pickin' Cotton Blues" by the bar band, Blueshammer.

There are songs by other artists mentioned in the film, including Lionel Belasco, which are reflective of the character Seymour, and of director Terry Zwigoff himself, who is a collector of 78 RPM records, as portrayed by Seymour. Other tracks are by Vince Giordano, a musician who specializes in meticulous recreations of songs from old 78 RPM records.

There is one Track missing on the soundtrack, "What Do I Get" by The Buzzcocks. It can be heard when Enid dresses up like a punk. Also missing is the song "A Smile and a Ribbon" by Patience and Prudence. In addition, the majority of David Kitay's score is missing.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia