Angelina Jolie Pitt (born June 4, 1975) is an American actress, filmmaker and humanitarian. She has received an Academy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and has been cited as Hollywood’s highest-paid actress. Jolie made her screen debut as a child alongside her father, Jon Voight, in Lookin’ to get out (1982). Her film career began in earnest a decade later with the low-budget production Cyborg 2 (1993), followed by her first leading role in a major film, Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical cable films George Wallace (1997) and Gia (1998), and won an Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Jolie’s starring role as the video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) established her as a leading Hollywood actress. She continued her successful action-star career with Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), and Salt (2010), and received critical acclaim for her performances in the dramas A mighty heart (2007) and Chalenging (2008), which earned her a nomination for an Academy Awards for Best Actress. Beginning in the 2010s, she expanded her career into directing, screenwriting, and producing, starting with the wartime dramas In The Land Of Blood And Honey (2011) and Unbroken (2014). Her biggest commercial success came with the fantasy picture Maleficient (2014).
In addition to her film career, Jolie is noted for her humanitarian efforts, for which she has received a Jean Hearsholt Humanitarian Award and an honorary damehood of the Order of St Michael and St George (DCMG), among other honors. She promotes various causes, including conservation, education, and women’s rights, and is most noted for her advocacy on behalf of refugees as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a public figure, Jolie has been cited as one of the most influential and powerful people in the American entertainment industry, as well as the world’s most beautiful woman, by various media outlets. Her personal life is the subject of wide publicity. Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, she separated from her third husband, actor brad Pitt, in September 2016. They have six children together, three of whom were adopted internationally.
Jolie first attended Beverly Hills School, where she felt isolated among the children of some of the area’s affluent families because her mother survived on a more modest income. She was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. Her early attempts at modeling, at her mother’s insistence, proved unsuccessful. She then transferred to Moreno High School, an alternative school, where she became a “punk outsider,” wearing all-black clothing, going out moshing, and experimenting with knife play with her live-in boyfriend. She dropped out of her acting classes and aspired to become a funeral director, taking at-home courses to study embalming. At age 16, after the relationship had ended, Jolie graduated from high school and rented her own apartment, before returning to theater studies, though in 2004 she referred to this period with the observation, “I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos.”
As a teenager, Jolie found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she self-harmed, later commenting, “For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me.” She also struggled with insomnia and an eating disorder, and began experimenting with drugs; by age 20, she had used “just about every drug possible,” particularly heroin. Jolie suffered episodes of depression and twice planned to commit suicide—at age 19 and again at 22, when she attempted to hire a hitman to kill her. When she was 24, she experienced a nervous breakdown and was admitted for 72 hours to UCLA Medical Center’s psychiatric ward. Two years later, after adopting her first child, Jolie found stability in her life, later stating, “I knew once I committed to Maddox, I would never be self-destructive again.”
Her big break came in 1999 when she was offered a role in Girl, Interrupted which went on to be a massive hit for which she won the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress. Today, Jolie is one of the most successful actresses in America.
Her story teaches us to never give up on life no matter how difficult things may seem.