Birthdate: May 6, 1961
Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, USA
George Clooney (birthname: George Timothy Clooney) can claim one of the most triumphant movie careers of his generation—an actor, and a frequently impressive director, who escaped from what was then in the 1980s and 1990s the backwater of TV network drama (in such series as ER, The Facts of Life, Roseanne, Bodies of Evidence, and Sisters) to become a huge, worldwide movie star who has worked with many of the most important American filmmakers.
He is quite possibly the only person to ever win Oscars for both Best Supporting Actor (for Syriana in 2006) and Best Picture (as a producer for Argo, in 2013), and is unmatched in the Hollywood universe as an activist for social and political causes. Between 2006 and 2013, Clooney experienced an astounding Academy Awards run, receiving Oscar nominations for seven different movies, in a remarkable range of craft departments, including supporting and lead actor, original and adapted screenplay, director, and producer.
During his TV years, George Clooney appeared in minor films of no note, until Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez perceived his star power and cast him as the lead in the wild horror movie, From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), with Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Tarantino, and Salma Hayek. The movie’s success truly launched Clooney’s movie career, which proceeded with the rom-com, One Fine Day (1996), starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Charles Durning.
Clooney’s position as a global movie star arrived with his casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Joel Schumacher-directed Batman & Robin (1997), with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, and Elle Macpherson, despite the fact that the movie was critically lambasted and underperformed at the box office (earning $238 million against a $160 million budget).
This dud had no effect on Clooney’s rising stardom, continuing in director Mimi Leder’s thriller, The Peacemaker (1997), with Nicole Kidman and Armin Mueller-Stahl, and then as part of the massive ensemble of Terrence Malick’s WWII epic, The Thin Red Line (1998), starring Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Ben Chaplin, and John Cusack. Perhaps Clooney’s first winning and universally acclaimed Hollywood performance was as thief Jack Foley in Steven Soderbergh’s spirited adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Out of Sight (1998), co-starring Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, and Albert Brooks.
George Clooney’s next fourteen-year period established him as one of the world’s top movie figures, both as a star in substantial entertainment and as a writer-director-producer. This era started with writer-director David O. Russell’s Iraq War caper, Three Kings (1999), co-starring Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube, and grossing $107 million worldwide.
Clooney developed an interesting and wide-ranging taste in roles, reflected by his vocal performance in the brilliant Trey Parker/Matt Stone satire, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), with fellow vocal actors Isaac Hayes, Mike Judge, and Monty Python co-creator Eric Idle. Clooney vigorously held a big Hollywood role once again in director Wolfgang Petersen’s The Perfect Storm (2000).
More importantly, George Clooney’s first of several projects with the Coen Brothers showed him in comedy mode for O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), with John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, and Holly Hunter. Clooney starred as Danny Ocean in his first franchise hit, the Steven Soderbergh-directed caper, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), starring Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts, grossing $450 million worldwide and launching the Oceans Trilogy.
Clooney took his career to another level with his debut as a director, with the stunning, true-life biopic starring Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), announcing Clooney as a filmmaker (adapting Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay) of considerable vision and imagination. Reuniting again with Soderbergh, Clooney joined the cast of Natasha McElhone, Jeremy Davies, and Viola Davis in the remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi drama, Solaris (2002).
George Clooney began to develop his career as a producer with the Anthony and Joe Russo-directed caper movie, Welcome to Collinwood (2002), with Clooney in a supporting role opposite William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Rockwell, Patricia Clarkson, and Gabrielle Union.
The next Coen Brothers movie which starred Clooney was the marital comedy, Intolerable Cruelty (2003), with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush, and Billy Bob Thornton, followed by the second entry in the Oceans Trilogy, Ocean’s Twelve (2004), with new cast members Zeta-Jones and Bernie Mac, and which earned $362 million worldwide. George Clooney’s first movie as director-writer was the powerful, multi-Oscar-nominated political drama about journalist Edward R. Murrow, Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), starring David Strathairn as Murrow, with Clarkson, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., and Frank Langella.
In the same year, Clooney won an Oscar and a Globe for his supporting role in writer-director Stephen Gaghan’s political thriller, Syriana (2005), with Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Amanda Peet, and Christopher Plummer. Clooney’s next project with Soderbergh was the WWII crime movie, The Good German (2006), with Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, and Beau Bridges.
Yet another Oscar contender for Clooney was writer-director Tony Gilroy’s legal drama, Michael Clayton (2007), with Tom Wilkinson, Sydney Pollack, and Tilda Swinton, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Clooney completed the wildly successful Oceans Trilogy with Ocean’s 13 (2007), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and included new cast members Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, and Elliott Gould, eventually grossing $311 million globally.
George Clooney’s third directorial feature (also as producer) was the period football comedy, Leatherheads (2008), with Renée Zellweger, John Krasinski, and Jonathan Pryce. The Clooney-Coen partnership continued with the spy comedy, Burn After Reading (2008), with Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and Brad Pitt, and with box-office returns ($163 million) quadrupling its budget ($37 million).
Clooney’s first film with filmmaker Wes Anderson had him starring as the crafty title character in the superb stop-motion animated feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), co-starring a remarkable cast including Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson, and earning two Oscar nominations, including Best Animated Feature, and a Best Actor win for Clooney and Best Animated Film from the New York Film Critics Circle.
Clooney’s regular producing partner, Grant Heslov, took over direction chores for the black military comedy, The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009), co-starring Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, and Kevin Spacey, and premiering at the Venice Film Festival. More successful was writer-director Jason Reitman’s comedy-drama, Up in the Air (2009), dramatizing the issue of corporate downsizing and winning the Best Screenplay Oscar for Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner, co-starring Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Sam Elliott, J.K. Simmons, and Zack Galifianakis.
The elegant espionage thriller, The American (2010), was a rare action vehicle for Clooney (who was also a producer), directed by Anton Corbijn. Clooney’s first feature as director-writer-producer was the strong political drama, The Ides of March (2011), which opened the Venice Film Festival and starred Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, and Evan Rachel Wood; Clooney’s remarkable run during Oscar season continued with this film, with Clooney nominated for Best Screenplay (with co-writers Beau Willimon and Heslov).
Shifting into a more thoughtful and droll register, George Clooney starred in writer-director-producer Alexander Payne’s Hawaii-set The Descendants (2011), earning another Best Actor Oscar nomination for Clooney, and co-starring Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer. Taking a back seat to Sandra Bullock, Clooney played support in Alfonso Cuaron’s stunning space drama-thriller, Gravity (2013), which once again had Clooney involved with an Oscar-winning movie. Oddly, after such a remarkable streak, it stopped in 2014.
Since then, Clooney’s movies as director and/or star have been generally critically panned or underperformed at the box office, including Clooney’s The Monuments Men (2014), with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett; writer-director Brad Bird’s Disney science fiction film, Tomorrowland (2015), with Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, and Keegan-Michael Key; the Coen Brothers’ acclaimed box-office bomb, Hail, Caesar! (2016), with Josh Brolin, Alden Ehrenreich, Scarlett Johansson, and Jonah Hill; director Jodie Foster’s critically dismissed but commercially successful crime thriller, Money Monster (2016), pairing Clooney and Julia Roberts; and perhaps the most inexplicable disappointment of Clooney’s filmmaking career (as director-writer-producer), the Matt Damon-starring and Coen Brothers-written black comedy, Suburbicon (2017) with Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac.
After a three-year break from theatrical movies, Clooney returned as director-writer-star of the apocalyptic science fiction film, The Midnight Sky (2020), with Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Demian Bichir, and Kyle Chandler. Clooney’s next director-producer project (but not as an actor) was the Amazon Studio production written by William Monahan, The Tender Bar (2021), starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd.
Clooney reunited with Roberts (for the fourth time) in writer-director Ol Parker’s divorcee rom-com, Ticket to Paradise (2022), followed by Clooney’s return to directing, The Boys in the Boat (date to be announced), Clooney’s first sports-themed movie since Leathernecks, and starring Callum Turner and Joel Edgerton. Clooney’s next acting was a co-starring assignment with Brad Pitt in an untitled drama written and directed by Jon Watts.
Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky by his parents, former TV anchorman Nick Clooney, and former beauty pageant queen Nina Bruce. His sister is Adelia Clooney Zeidler. Clooney graduated from Augusta High School.
An ace baseball player, Clooney tried out for the Cincinnati Reds but didn’t receive a contract. Clooney was married to actor Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993; Clooney then married Amal Alamuddin in 2014. Clooney has two children with Amal, daughter Ella, and son Alexander. His height is 5’ 11”.Clooney’s estimated net worth is $500 million.
AKA: George Clooney’s nickname is “Gorgeous George.”
Activist: Clooney works with or has organized a number of projects addressing social causes, including Not On Our Watch (working to stop mass atrocities), and the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
Clooney has provided support to dozens of sources in need ranging from Beirut and Lebanon after the deadly 2020 explosion, to Darfur, to Sudan (where he has worked for years in opposition to the dictatorship), to Syria, to Armenia, for which he launched the anti-genocide Aurora Prize.