-----Did you know?
Portman skipped the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I so she could study for her high school final exams.
-----In a SNL Digital Short which appeared when she hosted Saturday Night Live on March 4, 2006, she portrays herself as an angry gangsta rapper. During a faux-interview with Chris Parnell, saying she cheated at Harvard University while high on marijuana and cocaine. (SEE BELOW.)
The song, titled "Natalie's Rap," was released – alongside other sketches from the show – in 2009 on Incredibad, an album by the Lonely Island.
It wasn't the last time Natalie appeared in a "music video." She also appeared in Paul McCartney's music video "Dance Tonight" from his 2007 album Memory Almost Full.
-----In the beginning...
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag in Jerusalem, Israel. In 1984, when Portman was three years old, the family moved to the U.S. where her father received his medical training. The family first lived in Washington, D.C., but relocated to Connecticut in 1988, and then settled in Syosset, Long Island.
Portman started dancing lessons at age four and performed in local troupes. In a magazine interview, Portman said that she was "different from the other kids. I was more ambitious, I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid."
Portman spent her school holidays attending theater camps. When she was 10, she auditioned for the Off Broadway show Ruthless!, a musical about a girl who is prepared to commit murder to get the lead in a school play. Portman and future pop star Britney Spears were chosen as understudies.
She auditioned for the role of an orphan who befriends a middle-aged hitman in Luc Besson's film, Léon (aka The Professional). Soon after getting the part, she took her grandmother's maiden name "Portman" as her stage name, in the interest of privacy and to protect her family's identity.
Léon opened on November 18, 1994 when Natalie was 13. That same year she appeared in the short film Developing, which aired on television.
During the 1990s, Portman had major roles in films like Beautiful Girls and Anywhere but Here.
She initially turned down the lead role of Ann August in the film Anywhere but Here after learning it would involve a sex scene, but director Wayne Wang and actress Susan Sarandon demanded a rewrite of the script; Portman was shown a new draft, and she decided to be in the film. The film opened in late 1999, and she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role.
Portman was then cast for the role as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The first part, The Phantom Menace, opened in early 1999. She then signed on to play the lead role of a teenage mother in Where the Heart Is.
After filming, Portman moved into the dorms of Harvard University to pursue her bachelor's degree in psychology. She said in a 1999 interview that, with the exception of the Star Wars prequels, she would not act for the next four years in order to concentrate on studying. During the summer break from June to September 2000, Portman filmed Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in Sydney, Australia and London.
In 2001, Portman opened in New York City's Public Theater production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. That same year, she made cameo appearances in the 2001 comedy Zoolander. Portman also had a small role in the film Cold Mountain which starred Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.
On June 5, 2003, Portman graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in psychology. At Harvard, Portman was Alan Dershowitz's research assistant in a psychology lab.
In 2004, Portman appeared in the independent movies Garden State and Closer. Garden State was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and won Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. Her performance as Alice in Closer earned her a Supporting Actress Golden Globe as well as a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2006, She shaved her head and learned to speak with an English accent for her starring role in V for Vendetta, for which she won a Constellation Award for Best Female Performance, and a Saturn Award for Best Actress.
That same year, 2006, she played leading roles in the historical dramas Goya's Ghosts - which included her first dramatic nude scene - and two years later in The Other Boleyn Girl. In May 2008, she served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury.
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In 2009, she starred opposite Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in the drama film Brothers, a remake of the 2004 Danish film of the same name.
In 2011, Portman won the Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her performance in Black Swan. To prepare for the role, she went through five to eight hours of dance training each day for six months and lost 20 pounds. She is engaged to ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied who choreographed and appeared in the film.
Portman, who is an advocate for animal rights, has been a vegetarian since childhood (and has tried being vegan.) In 2007, she launched her own brand of vegan footwear.
In 2007, Portman traveled to Rwanda with Jack Hanna, to film the documentary Gorillas on the Brink. Portman has been an advocate of environmental causes since childhood, when she joined an environmental song and dance troupe known as World Patrol Kids.