Roberts, Julia 1967–
ROBERTS, Julia 1967–
Original name, Julie Fiona Roberts; born October 28, 1967, in Smyrna, GA; daughter of Walter Roberts (an acting workshop proprietor, actor, writer, and salesperson) and Betty Motes (an acting workshop proprietor, actress, real estate agent, and church secretary); sister of Eric Roberts (an actor) and Lisa Roberts (an actress); aunt of Emma Roberts (an actress); married Lyle Lovett (a singer and songwriter), June 27, 1993 (divorced, March 22, 1995); married Daniel "Danny" Moder (a camera operator and photographer), July 4, 2002. Avocational Interests: Animals.
Addresses: Office— Red Om Films, 16 West 19th St., 12th Floor, New York, NY 10011. Agent— Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist— Engelman & Company, 156 Fifth Ave., Suite 711, New York, NY 10010.
Career: Actress. Red Om Films, partner; Click Agency, worked as a model; affiliated with YMA Productions and Shoelace Productions. Spokesperson to raise funds for and awareness of Rett Syndrome; served as goodwill ambassador to UNICEF. Associated with the Four Corners Animal League. Sometimes credited as Julia Moder.
Awards, Honors: Independent Spirit Award nomination, best female lead, 1988, Young Artist Award nomination, best young actress in a motion picture—drama, 1989, both for Mystic Pizza; Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture, and Academy Award nomination, best supporting actress, both 1989, for Steel Magnolias; Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—comedy/musical, Academy Award nomination, best actress, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), best actress, all 1990, for Pretty Woman; Hollywood Women's Press Club Award (with others), discovery of the year, 1990; People's Choice awards, favorite motion picture actress, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003; ShoWest Convention Award, National Association of Theatre Owners, female star of the year, 1991; MTV Movie Award nominations, best female performance and most desirable female, both 1992, for Dying Young; People's Choice Award, favorite comedy motion picture actress, 1992; People's Choice awards, favorite dramatic motion picture actress, 1992 and 1994; MTV Movie Award nomination, best female performance, 1994, for The Pelican Brief; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actress—comedy, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture–comedy/musical, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—comedy or musical, and MTV Movie Award nomination, best female performance, all 1997, for My Best Friend's Wedding; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actress—suspense, 1997, for Conspiracy Theory; Hasty Pudding woman of the year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard University, 1997; named one of the "top 100 movie stars of all time," Empire magazine, 1997; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actress—drama, 1998, for Stepmom; special award, ShoWest Convention, National Association of Theatre Owners, international star of the year, 1998; People's Choice Award, favorite motion picture actress, 1998; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actress in a drama series, 1999, for "Empire," Law & Order; Teen Choice Award, film—choice actress, 2000; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actress—comedy/romance, MTV Movie Award nomination, best female performance, and Golden Slate nomination, Csapnivalo awards, best female performance, all 2000, for Runaway Bride; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—comedy/musical, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—comedy or musical, and Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actress—comedy/romance, all 2000, for Notting Hill; National Board of Review Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, San Diego Film Critics Society Award (with Laura Linney), and New York Film Critics Online Award (with Ellen Burstyn), all best actress, Sierra Award nomination, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, best actress, and Golden Slate Award nomination, Csapnivalo awards, best female performance, all 2000, Academy Award, best actress in a leading role, Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—drama, Film Award, BAFTA, best performance by an actress in a leading role, Screen Actors Guild Award, outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, best actress, Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actress—drama, Online Film Critics Society Award, best actress, ALFS Award, London Critics Circle, actress of the year, MTV Movie Award, best female performance, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—drama, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, best actress, Empire Award nomination, best actress, and MTV Movie Award nomination, best line from a movie, all 2001, all for Erin Brockovich; named one of the "twenty–five most intriguing people of 2001," People Weekly, 2001; named one of the "top 20 entertainers of 2001," E! Entertainment Television, 2001; named number eighteen in Hollywood power, Premiere, 2002; named number sixteen in Hollywood power, Premiere, 2003; named number one in Hollywood power and number twelve in financial power, "Power 100," Forbes; also named a top box office star in other polls.
Maria Collogero, Blood Red, filmed in 1986, released in 1989.
(Uncredited) Babs, Firehouse, 1987.
Daisy Arujo, Mystic Pizza, Samuel Goldwyn, 1988.
Daryle Shane, Satisfaction (also known as Girls of Summer ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1988.
Call girl, Off the Boulevard, Touchstone, 1989.
Shelby Eatenton Latcherie, Steel Magnolias, TriStar, 1989.
Rachel Mannus, Flatliners (also known as L'experience interdite, Linea mortale, and Morte imminente ), Columbia, 1990.
Vivian "Viv" Ward, Pretty Woman, Buena Vista, 1990.
Hilary O'Neil, Dying Young, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1991.
Sara Waters/Laura Burney, Sleeping with the Enemy (also known as Les nuits avec mon ennemi and Feind in Meinem Bett ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1991.
Tinkerbell, Hook, TriStar, 1991.
(Uncredited) Herself, The Player, Fine Line, 1992.
Darby Shaw, The Pelican Brief, Warner Bros., 1993.
Anne Eisenhower, Pret–a–Porter (also known as Ready to Wear and Pret–a–Porter: Ready to Wear ), Miramax, 1994.
Sabrina Peterson, I Love Trouble, Buena Vista, 1994.
Grace King Bichon, Something to Talk about (also known as The Game of Love, Grace under Pressure, The King of Carolina, and Sisters ), Warner Bros., 1995.
Herself, Elmo Says Boo, 1996.
Kitty Kiernan, Michael Collins, Warner Bros., 1996.
Title role, Mary Reilly, TriStar, 1996.
Von, Everyone Says I Love You, Miramax, 1996.
Alice Sutton, Conspiracy Theory, Warner Bros., 1997.
Julianne Potter, My Best Friend's Wedding, Columbia/TriStar, 1997.
Isabel Kelly, Stepmom, Columbia, 1998.
Anna Scott, Notting Hill, Universal, 1999.
Maggie Carpenter, Runaway Bride (also known as Pretty Bride ), Paramount, 1999.
Title role, Erin Brockovich, Universal, 2000.
Herself, Ljuset haaller mig saallskap (documentary; also known as Light Keeps Me Company ), First Run Features, 2000.
The Moviegoer, 2000.
Kathleen "Kiki" Harrison, America's Sweethearts, Columbia, 2001.
Samantha Barzel, The Mexican, DreamWorks Distribution, 2001.
Tess Ocean, Ocean's Eleven (also known as 11 and O11 ), Warner Bros., 2001.
Catherine/Francesca, Full Frontal, Miramax, 2002.
Patricia Watson, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Artisan Entertainment, 2002.
Grand Champion, 2002.
Katherine Watson, Mona Lisa Smile, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2003.
Anna, Closer, 2004.
Tess Ocean, Ocean's Twelve, Warner Bros., 2004.
(With Susan Sarandon) Executive producer, Stepmom, Columbia, 1998.
Producer, Mona Lisa Smile, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2003.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Candy Hutchens, Baja Oklahoma, HBO, 1988.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Big Bird's Birthday, or Let Me Eat Cake, 1991.
Entertainers '91: The Top 20 of the Year, 1991.
The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1991, 1993, and 2001.
Hollywood's Leading Ladies with David Sheehan (also known as The Leading Ladies of the Movies ), NBC, 1993.
Herself, A Century of Cinema (documentary; also known as Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema ), The Disney Channel, 1994.
Movie News Hot Summer Sneak Preview, CBS, 1994.
Narrator, Before Your Eyes: Angelie's Secret, CBS, 1995.
Narrator and presenter, In the Wild: Orangutans with Julia Roberts (documentary; also known as In the Wild ), PBS, 1998.
AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies, CBS, 1998.
AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Stars, CBS, 1999.
Herself, Spotlight on Location: Erin Brockovich (documentary; also known as The Making of "Erin Brockovich "), 2000.
Host, Silent Angels, Discovery Channel, 2000.
Hollywood Salutes Bruce Willis: An American Cinematheque Tribute, TNT, 2000.
Herself, America: A Tribute to Heroes, multiple networks, 2001.
Herself, Garry Marshall, Bravo, 2001.
The Stars' First Time ... on Entertainment Tonight with Mary Hart, CBS, 2003.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
The 62nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1990.
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 1998.
The 24th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1998.
Herself, The 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.
Presenter, The 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2000.
Presenter, GQ's 2000 Men of the Year Awards, Fox, 2000.
Herself, The 73rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2001.
Presenter, The 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2001.
Presenter, The 73rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2001.
The Seventh Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, TNT, 2001.
The 2001 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2001.
Presenter, The 74th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2002.
The 28th Annual People's Choice Awards, 2002.
Presenter, The 75th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2003.
The 76th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2004.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Tracy, "The Survivor," Crime Story, NBC, 1987.
Polly Wheeler (some sources cite Holly Wheeler), "Mirror Image," Miami Vice, NBC, 1988.
Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1989 and 1992.
The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 (two episodes), 1999, 2000, 2001 (three episodes), and 2003.
American Cinema, PBS, 1995.
Susie Moss, "The One after the Super Bowl," Friends, NBC, 1996.
Herself, "Never Can Say Goodbye: Parts 1 & 2," Murphy Brown, CBS, 1998.
The Entertainment Business, Bravo, 1998.
Herself, Sesame Street, PBS, 1998.
Katrina Ludlow, "Empire," Law & Order, NBC, 1999.
Herself, "In the Wild: Horsemen of Mongolia with Julia Roberts" (documentary; also known as "Wild Horses of Mongolia with Julia Roberts"), Nature, PBS, 2000.
Herself, Joan Rivers: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.
Herself, "Most Powerful People in Entertainment," E! Rank, E! Entertainment Television, 2002.
Herself, "TV & Movie Week," Supermarket Sweep, 2002.
Herself, "The Big Hair Do," Comic Relief (also known as Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do ), BBC, 2003.
Herself, "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons," The Greatest, 2003.
Herself, Extra (also known as Extra—The Entertainment Magazine ), syndicated, 2003.
Herself, The Oprah Winfrey Show, syndicated, 2003.
Intimate Portrait: Erin Brockovich, Lifetime, 2003.
Also appeared as herself, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo; as herself, Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television; and as herself, Telenoticias.
Television Work; Series:
Executive producer, Queens Supreme, CBS, 2003.
Television Work; Movies:
Producer, The Pancho Gonzales Story, HBO, 1999.
(With others) Poetry reader, The Postman (Il Postino): Music from the Miramax Motion Picture Soundtrack, Hollywood Records, 1995.
The Nanny Diaries: A Novel, Random House Audio, 2002.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996.
St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.
American Film, July, 1990.
Entertainment Weekly, June 24, 1994, p. 32; February 23, 1996, p. 22; August 6, 1999, p. 16.
Good Housekeeping, September, 1997, p. 90.
Harper's Bazaar, September, 1995.
In Style, December, 1998, p. 332.
Interview, January, 1995.
Ladies Home Journal, January, 1999, p. 102.
New York Times, March 18, 1990.
Parade Magazine, December 6, 1998, p. 4.
People Weekly, July 7, 1997, p. 70; December 29, 1997, p. 109; May 14, 2001, pp. 122–23; July 16, 2001, p. 70; December 31, 2001, pp. 56–57; March 11, 2002, pp. 94–95; May 13, 2002, pp. 178–79; May 27, 2002, p. 19; July 22, 2002, pp. 68–69; December 30, 2002, p. 95; May 12, 2003, p. 121; July 28, 2003, pp. 68–69.
Premiere, June, 1991; December, 1993; January, 2002, p. 84; October, 2002, p. 74.
Rolling Stone, July 14, 1994, p. 56.
Saturday Evening Post, May, 1999, p. 12.
Time, July 9, 2001, pp. 60, 62.
Times (London), March 13, 2003.
TV Guide, May 16, 1998.
Vogue, April, 1990.
Nationality: American. Born: Smyrna, Georgia, 28 October 1967; sister of the actor Eric Roberts. Family: Married Lyle Lovett, 1993 (divorced 1995). Career: 1985—moved to New York; 1988—film debut with brother Eric in Blood Red; 1990—voted Performer of the Year by American cinema owners. Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, for Steel Magnolias, 1990; Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy/Musical, for Pretty Woman, 1991; ShoWest Award for Female Star of the Year, 1991; Hasty Pudding Theatricals (USA) Woman of the Year, 1997; ShoWest Special Award for International Star of the Year, 1998. Agent: Elaine Goldsmith, ICM, 8942 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, U.S.A.
Films as Actress:
Blood Red (Masterson—produced in 1986) (as Maria Collogero); Satisfaction (Girls of Summer) (Freeman) (as Daryle Shane); Baja Oklahoma (Roth—for TV); Mystic Pizza (Petrie) (as Daisy Arujo)
Steel Magnolias (Ross) (as Shelby Eatenton Latcherie)
Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall) (as Vivian Ward); Flatliners (Schumacher) (as Rachel Mannus)
Dying Young (Schumacher) (as Hillary O'Neil); Hook (Spielberg) (as Tinkerbell); Sleeping with the Enemy (Ruben) (as Sara Waters/Laura Burney)
The Player (Altman) (cameo)
The Pelican Brief (Pakula) (as Darby Shaw)
I Love Trouble (Shyer) (as Sabrina Peterson); Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter) (Altman) (as Anne Eisenhower)
Something to Talk About (Hallstrom) (as Grace)
My Best Friend's Wedding (Hogan) (as Julianne "Jules" Potter); Conspiracy Theory (Donner) (as Alice Sutton)
In the Wild (Cole—for TV) (as herself); Stepmom (Columbus) (as Isabel Kelly)
Notting Hill (Michell) (as Anna Scott); Runaway Bride (Marshall) (as Maggie Carpenter)
Erin Brockovich (Soderbergh) (title role)
By ROBERTS: articles—
Interview with Catherine Seipp, in Harper's Bazaar (New York), September 1989.
Interview with Robert Palmer, in Time Out (London), 10 April 1991.
Interview with Elaine Dutka, in Empire (London), October 1991.
Interview in Playboy (Chicago), November 1991.
"Julia Makes Trouble," interview with David Rensin, in Rolling Stone (New York), 14 July 1994.
"Rendezvous with Tim and Julia," interview in Interview (New York), January 1995.
On ROBERTS: book—
Sanello, Frank, Julia Roberts, London, 2000.
On ROBERTS: articles—
Palmer, Robert, "Suddenly, Julia," in American Film (New York), July 1990.
Thomas, Philip, in Empire (London), December 1990.
Current Biography 1991, New York, 1991.
Tighe, Michael, "Travels with Julia," in Premiere (New York), June 1991.
Connelly, Christopher, "Nobody's Fool," in Premiere (New York), December 1993.
Campbell, V., and E. Margulies, "All the Right Moves," in Movieline (Escondido), March 1994.
Harris, Mark, "Julia Roberts," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 24 June 1994.
Gordinier, Jeff, "The Next Julia Roberts," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 11 August 1995.
McInerney, Jay, cover story in Harper's Bazaar (New York), September 1995.
Thomson, D., "In Defense of Julia Roberts," in Movieline (Escondido), April 1997.
Fleming, M., "Casting Glances," in Movieline (Escondido), June 1997.
Greene, R., "She's the One," in Boxoffice (Chicago), June 1997.
* * *
A meteoric rise to fame is the classic Hollywood dream and one to which many young and talented actors still aspire. Despite the fact that the American film industry no longer has the studio star system of Dream Factory days, the phenomenal success of a star such as Julia Roberts is testimony to the enduring importance of film stardom for audiences and as an organizing factor for the film industry economy. It is, however, an oversimplification to describe Roberts's stardom as an overnight sensation.
Making her film debut with her brother Eric in Blood Red, Julia Roberts appeared in three more films before getting a substantial role among the all-star cast in Steel Magnolias. Not dimmed by the acting of film veterans such as Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field and no less striking in beauty than Daryl Hannah, Roberts delivers a powerful performance as a young and courageous Southern belle (Shelby) who strives for a wholesome life by becoming a mother despite her unfit physical condition. With her fiery red hair and what has now become a signature broad smile, Shelby represents a vitality that shines its brightest in the face of life's most fatal odds.
It was undoubtedly with the role as a happy-go-lucky whore in Pretty Woman that Julia Roberts captured the hearts of critics and public alike and was suddenly exposed to public attention on a grand scale. The story is no more than a modern version of Cinderella combined with a banal, "triumph of love over materialism" message. One of her next films, Sleeping with the Enemy, though another commercial success, taking $70 million within its first six weeks, was greeted by only mediocre reviews by the critics. Another moral tale celebrating traditional values and highlighting Roberts's image of youthful and wholesome vitality combined with vulnerability and sexual allure, this film secured Roberts's position as one of the leading stars of the 1990s.
With a rumored $10 million per movie in 1991, Roberts really seemed to look like the girl who had it all—looks, talent, success, and money. Such an early success, however, also seems to warrant the enormous pressure of coming to fame too quickly and too young. "As we begin talking, it's abundantly clear that Julia Roberts distrusts journalists," wrote Robert Palmer in 1990. This inherent tension with media would continue to worsen when her last-minute cancellation of the wedding to actor Kiefer Sutherland in 1991 was widely exploited by reporters all over the world. Her sudden marriage to and subsequent divorce from singer Lyle Lovett proved to be equally sensational for the press.
Roberts is certainly not the first Hollywood star to find the pressure of fame too much to cope with. Comparisons were quickly made with the likes of Monroe and Taylor—sometimes with sympathy and sometimes with an unkind relish. Roberts and the ideals she has stood for seemed, if only temporarily, to have gone off the rails, bringing the fantasy of womanhood as enduring and magical innocence back down to earth with a bang. Consistently rising above her material, she continued to shine in formulaic escapism like Dying Young, a terminal illness weepie shot like a series of commercials promoting tasteful grief, and The Pelican Brief, a dark political thriller devoid of the requisite chills to the spine. Despite bad press and periods of inactivity that would have derailed less secure careers, Roberts remained Hollywood's golden girl.
Sporting the sort of toothpaste grin that Lorenz Hart once wrote about, she triumphed over jerry-built vehicles like I Love Trouble and Conspiracy Theory, two shapeless projects that didn't know whether they meant to be thrillers or comedies (and didn't care, as long as they turned a profit). One comprehended her decision to break out of her good sport mold for the intriguing misfire, Mary Reilly, based on an evocative minor novel about Dr. Jeckyll's maid. Like other charm gals before her, Roberts foolishly decided that stamping out her own personality was the best way to inhabit the mousey character. Instead of delineating the role of abused servant, Roberts seemed intimidated by the challenge, hamstrung by her British accent, and benumbed by the mystifying performance of John Malkovich, who exhibited too much avoirdupois for a role once tackled by matinee idols. A few years later, she would meet a dramatic challenge more forcefully in Stepmom, a soap opera sprinkled with equal parts comedy and expensive sentiment. Matching her acting partner, the more protean Susan Sarandon, Roberts fine tuned an arsenal of emotions as she found instant motherhood thrust upon her.
Comedy was her undisputed forte, however, and she transformed three frothy properties (My Best Friend's Wedding, Notting Hill, TheRunaway Bride) into mega-hits, while burnishing the careers of her male co-stars with her own glow. What made these romantic comedies fascinating was that Roberts didn't shy away from lending these sketchy characters a touch of the emasculator. Unlike her earlier hit, Something to Talk About, in which she's a victim redressing wrongs, Roberts' recent roles comprised screwed-up screwballs, who harkened back to Claudette Colbert and her wicked teasing of Gary Cooper in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife. In My Best Friend's Wedding, her vacillating careerist tried to win back an ex-fiance as if he were a luxury item she coveted; in Notting Hill, her movie goddess wreaked havoc on a bookseller by expecting him to treat her as an ordinary gal-pal while exhibiting diva-like behavior; in The Runaway Bride she jilted grooms on a regular basis. Underlying Hollywood comedies' usual behavioral text (about the regrouping of mismatched lovers) was a subtext of willfulness that only Roberts could make palatable. In all these and in the true-life saga, Erin Brockovich, she was never less than radiant. As a comic force, she's less daffy than merely hard-headed. Like a modern-day Goldilocks, Roberts' screen persona fussily keeps searching for the bed that's just right.
In the expansive role of Erin Brockovich, Roberts illuminated the unflappable spirit of a hard-pressed working mom, whose flashy clothes cue the wrong responses from selfish men and jealous women. Watching this tailor-made vehicle, one could see why she became the first female to earn 20 million per picture. Unfazed by a venal power company, unimpressed by arrogant lawyers, and unapologetic about fulfilling herself through her work, her crusading character rode roughshod over anyone who stood in the way of justice. Although her character refused to kowtow to conventional notions of propriety, Roberts emerged as likeable as ever.
Balancing serious roles with crowd-pleasing farces, Roberts has chosen wisely, yet one senses uptapped depths. A superb TV guest spot as a villainess on Law and Order showcased the self-absorbed side of her personality. She remains Hollywood's most bankable female star; in 2000, Forbes Magazine listed her as the most powerful woman in show business.
—Margaret O'Connor, updated by Guo-Juin Hong, further updated by Robert J. Pardi