Birthdate: November 22, 1984
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
The striking quality in Scarlett Johansson’s (birthname: Scarlett Ingrid Johansson) movie career is one of adaptability. But just as striking is how Johansson’s achievements, perhaps most dramatically with her starring role in the MCU blockbuster Black Widow as a female superhero--run against the dominant trends in the movie business. These include the notions that child actors rarely make the transition to adult roles, and that female actors have a narrow time window in which to sustain a career.
Her debut role at 9 years old in North (1994), under Rob Reiner’s direction, underlines how Scarlett Johansson violated yet another supposed rule-of-thumb—when you’re starting out, you have to begin with small, indie movies and build from there.
Robert Redford was another major actor-turned-director with whom Johansson collaborated as a clearly precocious young actor in The Horse Whisperer (1998). Nevertheless, as a teen actor, she made an early impact in American indie cinema with such striking work as her co-starring roles in Lisa Krueger’s Manny & Lo (1996), Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World (2001), and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003).
2003 marked a major turning point in Scarlett Johansson’s career when she also starred in Girl with a Pearl Earring opposite Colin Firth. While remaining consistent in her taste for alternating comic and dramatic characters, Johansson’s choices in roles shifted toward a far more adult tone, including a string of movies in which she became Woody Allen’s favored female actor: Match Point (2005), Scoop (2006) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).
The following twelve years also linked Johansson with major writer-directors (Christopher Nolan’s 2006 The Prestige, Spike Jonze’s 2013 Her, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013), the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! (2016), and Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs (2018)), which also showcased her ongoing interest in performing as a voice actor for animation features.
But it’s with Scarlett Johansson’s aggressive shift in the past decade into roles with superhuman—and even alien—powers, including Under the Skin, Luc Besson’s Lucy (2014), and especially the massively successful Marvel Cinematic Universe as the character of Black Widow that she became the world’s highest-paid, top-earning female star.
The series includes the second highest-grossing movie on record, Avengers: Endgame (2019), which triggered momentum for an unprecedented MCU move and a sign of Johansson’s star power: Her leading role in Black Widow (2021), the first MCU project top-lining a woman.
And yet during the height of her MCU fame and typical of Johansson’s malleable durability, she enjoyed a stunning double-Oscar nomination year in 2019 with Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit. Her philanthropic and social justice work includes aid for Stand Up to Cancer, Oxfam, helping establish the Time’s Up project, speaking at the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention, and working to release three imprisoned human rights activists in Egypt in 2020.
In what can be viewed as a shrewd and strategic career move, Johansson is expanding her moviemaking profile as a producer of two upcoming projects: Sebastián Lelio’s science-fiction drama Bride, and Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City.
Scarlett Johansson was born in Manhattan to a Danish father and an American mother. One of her three siblings his twin brother, Hunter, with whom she performed in a school stage production of Oliver! She also has a paternal half-brother named Christian. At age 25, Johansson fired her mother, Melanie Sloan, after working nine years as her manager.
She married actor Ryan Reynolds in 2008, but separated from him two years later, and divorced him in 2011. Three years later, she married French journalist Romain Dauriac. The couple had a daughter, Rose Dorothy Dauriac, in 2014, and then divorced in 2017. Her third marriage is to comedian Colin Jost, with whom Johansson had a child, Cosmo Jost, in 2021. Her height is 5’ 3’’.
International identity: With a Danish architect father and American mother, Johansson claims Danish and American citizenship.
Literary roots: She’s the granddaughter of renowned Danish author Ejner Johansson.
Debut: Johansson’s first uncredited role was in 1993 when she was an 8-year-old skit player on Late Night With Conan O’Brien.
Stage struck: Her first job as a child actor was in the Off-Broadway play, Sophistry, starring Ethan Hawke.
Rejected: Johansson applied to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts at 18, was she was turned down.
Recording artist: Johansson recorded a 2008 album of Tom Waits’ covers titled Anywhere I Lay My Head.
What’s Up Doc?: Animators on The Looney Tunes Show created a character after Johansson titled Starlet Johansson.
Iconic: Artist Francisco Clemente has depicted her as the Queen of Swords in a deck of painted tarot cards.
Earnings: $20 million per film*
Net worth: $110 mil*
Diversity: Heritage includes Danish, Swedish, and Jewish Ashkenazi ancestors.
Oscar double-play: Rare twin Oscar nominations in 2019 for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
Say Cheese: She claims that the love of cheese is her sole vice.
Husbands from abroad: Former husbands Ryan Reynolds and Romain Dauriac are Canadian and French, respectively.
Social media? What social media?: Rare among celebrities, Johansson steadfastly maintains no social media accounts.