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Famous People From Israel: Natalie Portman Atop Actors List

Image: Famous People From Israel: Natalie Portman Atop Actors List
In this February 2011 file photo, actress Natalie Portman at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 07 Sep 2014 04:45 PM

While there are many famous people from Israel, Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman is the most well-known.

Portman’s early life and career are marked by determination and conviction. From a young age, the Israel-born actress knew she wanted to be on stage and screen. A Revlon agent asked her to become a child model when she was 10, but Portman told The New York Times she turned down the offer because she thought modeling was dumb and she wanted to focus on acting.

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Portman has starred in dozens of movies and plays, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2010’s "Black Swan" and receiving Oscar nominations for her roles in the 2004 film "Closer" and the 2009 movie "Brothers." She’s directed her own films and in 2008 became the youngest person to ever serve on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

In all of her professional moves, Portman has strived to honor her intellect. In high school, she skipped the premiere of her film "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace," so she could study for her high school final exams, the BBC said. The same year, 1999, the Portman began studying psychology at Harvard University, vowing to take a break from acting until she graduated.

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"I don't care if [college] ruins my career," Portman told the New York Post at the time. "I'd rather be smart than a movie star."

With the exception of some summer theater and promised work on the "Star Wars" trilogy, Portman limited her acting and graduated in four years with an undergraduate degree in psychology.

Portman is married to ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied and gave birth to their son Aleph in 2011.

Portman lives by her convictions and supports micro-lending and antipoverty efforts in third world countries. In spite of her Israeli heritage, she has publicly criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

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While there are many famous people from Israel, Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman is the most well-known.
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