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Natalie's story so far..

She was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem. The only child of a doctor father and an artist mother, the family lived in Israel until she was three. They moved to Washington and finally settled in New York.

She was just 11 when she was discovered by a Revlon scout in a pizza parlour. He advised a career in modelling but she decided to pursue her dream of acting.

Portman is her stage name. She adopted her maternal grandmother's maiden name to protect her privacy.

After graduating with honours from high school, she went on to study psychology at Harvard.

Natalie is Jewish and speaks Hebrew. She also studied French and Japanese at school.

Her acting career began in theatre productions, including the musical Annie Get Your Gun. She was also understudy for the lead character in Ruthless with Britney Spears. The pair still keep in touch.

Her big break came in the movie LAon in 1994. Harpers & Queen crowned her "the new Audrey Hepburn". Natalie also appeared in Heat (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996) and Mars Attacks (1996). In 1999 she played Queen Amidala in the blockbuster Star Wars: Episode One - the Phantom Menace.

Natalie won an Oscar nomination in 2004 for Closer. She filmed a nude scene for the movie - her character Alice strips off for Larry (Clive Owen). But the director decided not to use it as the scene was hard-hitting enough without it.

Off-camera Natalie lives in New York's Soho. She loves playing football with her pals, eating chocolate, walking her dog Charlie and collecting handbags. Her favourite book is Anne Frank's Diary and she loves the movie Dirty Dancing. She is a vegetarian.

CAPTION(S):

BIG BREAK Natalie as Mathilda in Luc Besson's LAon
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 4, 2006
Words:289
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