George Clooney

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George Clooney

George Clooney
Born George Timothy Clooney
May 6, 1961 (1961-05-06)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Spouse(s) Talia Balsam (1989-1993)

George Timothy Clooney (born May 6, 1961) is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter who gained fame as one of the lead doctors in the long-running television drama, ER (1994–99), as Anthony Edwards's best friend and partner, Dr. Douglas "Doug" Ross, but is best known for his subsequent rise as an " A-List" movie star in contemporary American cinema. Winner of an Academy Award and two Golden Globes, Clooney has balanced his glamorous performances in big-budget blockbusters with work as a producer and director behind commercially riskier projects, as well as social and political activism.

Early life


Clooney, an Irish American, was born in Lexington, Kentucky. His mother, Nina Bruce ( née Warren), was a former pageant queen, while his father, Nick, is a journalist, anchorman, game show and American Movie Classics host, and - in later years - an aspiring politician from the state of Kentucky.

Clooney also has an older sister, Adelia (aka Ada), one niece; Alison & one nephew; Nick. His cousins include actors Miguel and Rafael Ferrer, who are the sons of his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, and actor José Ferrer. He is also related to another singer, Debby Boone, who married José's son, Gabriel Ferrer. From an early age, Clooney would hang around his father's sets, often participating in shows, where he proved to be a crowd favorite.


Clooney began his education at the Blessed Sacrament School in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. Spending part of his childhood in Ohio, he attended St. Michael's School in Columbus, the Western Row and St. Susanna schools, it was there he developed an interest in Theatre, both in Mason. Eventually, his parents moved to Augusta in Kentucky, where he went to Augusta High School and began his lead in several plays. He graduated in 1979. He was an average student but was an enthusiastic baseball and basketball player. He tried out with the Cincinnati Reds in 1977 to play professional baseball, but was not offered a contract.

Clooney attended Northern Kentucky University from 1979 to 1981 and, very briefly, the University of Cincinnati, but did not graduate from either.


Early roles

His first major role came in 1984 in the television medical comedy/drama, E/R. Though it too takes place in a hospital, it should not be confused with ER, which Clooney more famously starred in several years later. Additionally, he played a handyman on the series The Facts of Life. He played "Bobby" the detective on one episode of The Golden Girls. His first significant break was a semi-regular supporting role in the sitcom Roseanne, playing Roseanne Barr's overbearing boss Booker Brooks, followed by the role of a construction worker on Baby Talk and then as a sexy detective on Sisters. Clooney achieved stardom when he was selected to play Dr. Doug Ross on the hit NBC drama ER from 1994 to 1999. Clooney was also partnered with Deborah Leoni in their production company Mirador Entertainment.

Prior to his success on ER, he met Grant Heslov, a later close friend with whom he co-wrote Good Night, and Good Luck. Heslov was also the president of Section Eight Productions, Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh's production company. In August 2006, Clooney and Heslov started a new company: Smoke House. Clooney said in an interview that he was driving an RV through the country with Heslov, who, at the time, was getting over a broken engagement, when he got a phone call from his agent telling him that NBC just picked up ER for a full season. Clooney said, "I think I just got my career."

It has been rumored that Clooney was the one to have circulated the videotape of Jesus vs. Santa (the video greeting card that gave birth to South Park) around the Los Angeles area in 1995. The show's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, invited him to play a role in the show as the voice of Stan Marsh's gay dog Sparky in the episode Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride, a role with no dialogue except normal dog noises. He later appeared in the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Despite their history, the show's creators, Parker and Stone, lampooned Clooney for his outspoken political views in their feature film Team America: World Police. However, Clooney later said that he would have been offended if he hadn't been made fun of in the film. He was also mentioned in the episode " Smug Alert!," which mocks his acceptance speech at the 78th Academy Awards.

Initial success

Clooney continued to star in movies while appearing in ER, his first major Hollywood role being From Dusk Till Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriguez. He followed its success with One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer and The Peacemaker with Nicole Kidman, the latter being the initial feature length release from Dreamworks SKG studio. Clooney was then cast as the new Batman in Batman & Robin. In 1998, he starred in Out of Sight, opposite Jennifer Lopez. This was the first of many collaborations with director Steven Soderbergh. He also starred in Three Kings during the last weeks of his contract with ER.

In 1999, Clooney left the cast of ER to pursue his film career full-time. He mentioned a few times that he would like to do a few cameos; to date, he has only done one.

Movie star

After leaving ER, Clooney starred in major Hollywood successes, such as Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. In 2001, he teamed up with Soderbergh again for Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the 1960s Rat Pack film Ocean's Eleven. Alongside Clooney the film also starred Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, and Julia Roberts. To this day, it remains Clooney's most commercially successful movie, earning approximately $444,200,000 worldwide. The film spawned two sequels, Ocean's Twelve in 2004 and Ocean's Thirteen in 2007. In 2001, Clooney founded the production studio Section Eight Productions with Steven Soderbergh.

He made his directorial debut in the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, an adaptation of the autobiography of TV producer Chuck Barris. Though the movie didn't do well at the box office, Clooney's direction was praised among critics and audiences alike.

In 2005, Clooney starred in Syriana, which was based loosely on former Central Intelligence Agency agent Robert Baer and his memoirs of being an agent in the Middle East. The same year he directed, produced, and starred in Good Night, and Good Luck, a film about 1950s television journalist Edward R. Murrow's famous war of words with Senator Joseph McCarthy. Both films received critical acclaim and decent box-office returns despite being in limited release. At the 2006 Academy Awards, Clooney was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Good Night, and Good Luck, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Syriana. He became the first person in Oscar history to be nominated for directing one movie and acting in another in the same year. He would go on to win for his role in Syriana.

More recently, he appeared in The Good German, a film-noir directed by Soderbergh. The film is set in post-World War II Germany.

Clooney is one of only three people to have been given the title of " Sexiest Man Alive" twice by People Magazine, first in 1997 and again in 2006. The others are Brad Pitt and Richard Gere. Clooney also received the American Cinematheque Award in October 2006, an award that honours an artist in the entertainment industry who has made "a significant contribution to the art of motion pictures".

Other ventures

On July 8, 2005, news reports said that Clooney would be working with Cindy Crawford's husband Rande Gerber to design and build a new casino hotel in Las Vegas. On August 29, the same year, Clooney officially announced his involvement with the Las Ramblas Resort project. However, the project never came to fruition, and the property on which the resort was to be built was sold in June 2006.

After serving as pitchman outside the U.S. for products like Fiat and Martini vermouth, Clooney lent his voice to a series of Budweiser ads beginning in 2005 (which were still running as of September 2007).

He secretly financed and executive produced a political thriller short film called The Endgame Study in 2006.

After the success of Good Night, and Good Luck, Clooney said he plans to devote more of his energy to directing. He has said that the directing industry is "a great industry to grow old in".

Personal life

Image:George Clooney at Incirlik.jpg
Clooney in 2001

Clooney's father, Nick Clooney, a politician, is noted for saying the following about himself,

I spent the first part of my life being referred to as Rosemary Clooney’s brother, and now I am spending the last part of my life being referred to as George Clooney’s dad.

(See Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy for a previous instance of a similar quote.)

Clooney had a 300-pound Vietnamese black bristled, potbellied pig, named Max, that had lived with him for 18 years. Max died on December 1, 2006. He also had two bulldogs named Bud and Lou, after the famous comedy team, Abbott and Costello, who both died (one from a rattlesnake attack).

Clooney has only been married once, to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993. He says he will never get married again, nor have any children, but Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidman each bet him $10,000 that he would be a father before he turned 40. They were both wrong, and each sent him a check. He returned the money, betting double or nothing that he won't have kids by age 50.

Illness and injury

Clooney suffered from Bell's palsy for a time while he was in high school.

Clooney injured himself on Syriana's set, during a torture scene, in 2004. He had some excruciating headaches and suffered short term memory loss. It took a few weeks for his doctors to find the reasons of his health problems. During The Good German's promotion (two years afterwards), he revealed that he still had to wear a back brace due to this injury.

Never a heavy smoker, Clooney quit the habit at a very early stage. He says that at least eight or nine of his great-uncles and great-aunts died because of it.

2007 motorcycle accident

On September 21, 2007, Clooney and his girlfriend Sarah Larson were injured in a motorcycle accident in New Jersey. Clooney's motorcycle was hit by a passenger car. The driver of the car reported that Clooney attempted to pass on the right, while Clooney stated that the driver signaled left and then decided to make an abrupt right turn and clipped the motorcycle. Clooney suffered a broken rib and road rash; Larson broke two toes. Both were treated and released from the Palisades Medical Centre in North Bergen, New Jersey.

On October 9, 2007, more than two dozen hospital staff members were suspended without pay for looking at Clooney's medical records in violation of federal law. Clooney himself quickly issued a statement on the hospital records matter, saying no one should be punished. He said "This is the first I've heard of it. And while I very much believe in a patient's right to privacy, I would hope that this could be settled without suspending medical workers."


Clooney is a self-described political liberal. Speaking about the Iraq war: "You can't beat your enemy anymore through wars; instead you create an entire generation of people seeking revenge. These days it only matters who's in charge. Right now that's us — for a while at least. Our opponents are going to resort to car bombs and suicide attacks because they have no other way to win.... I believe ( Rumsfeld) thinks this is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing anymore. We can't beat anyone anymore."

Clooney is noted for his public criticisms of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. On January 16, 2006, during his acceptance speech for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Syriana, Clooney paused to sarcastically thank Abramoff before adding, "Who would name their kid Jack with the word ‘off’ at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up!"

There has been movement to try to convince Clooney to run for political office in his home state of Kentucky, including talk of a Clooney candidacy for US Senate against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2008. In response, Clooney has said: "Run for office? No. I've slept with too many women, I've done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties."

Clooney supports Barack Obama for a 2008 presidential run.

Save Darfur

Clooney is active in advocating a resolution of the Darfur conflict. His efforts include an episode of Oprah and speaking at the Save Darfur rally in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2006.

In 2006, he was involved in several events to highlight the issue. In April, he spent 10 days in Chad and Sudan with his father to make a film in order to show the dramatic situation of Darfur's refugees. In September, he spoke in front of the Security Council of the UN with Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel to ask the UN to find a solution to the conflict and to help the people of Darfur. In December, he made a trip to China and Egypt with Don Cheadle and two Olympic winners to ask both governments to pressure Sudan's government.

Clooney is involved with Not On Our Watch, an organization that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities, along with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub. He narrated and was co-executor producer of the documentary "Sand and Sorrow.

On March 25, 2007, he sent an open letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel, calling on the European Union to take "decisive action" in the region in the face of al-Bashir's failure to respond to the U.N. resolutions.

Clooney also appears in the documentary film Darfur Now, a call to action film for people all over the world to help stop the ongoing crisis in Darfur. The film was released on November 2, 2007.


Clooney is an environmentalist, owning the first Tango car to be sold. Clooney made a deposit on a Tesla Roadster from Tesla Motors. It is a battery electric sportscar with a 250-mile (402 km) range. He will be among the first 100 owners.

Charlton Heston controversy

Clooney stirred up controversy for his remarks about Charlton Heston, while speaking at a National Board of Review event. Charlton Heston "announced again today that he is suffering from Alzheimer's."

"It was just a joke," Clooney responded. "That was someone else trying to make a bigger story."

Heston himself commented, "It just goes to show that sometimes class does skip a generation," referring to Clooney's late aunt, Rosemary Clooney.


Year Film Role Other notes
1985 Streethawk Kevin Stark
1985 - 1986 The Facts of Life George Burnett
1987 Return to Horror High Oliver
Grizzly II: The Predator Uncredited
Combat Academy Maj. Biff Woods
Murder, She Wrote Kip Howard Episode: No Laughing Murder
The Golden Girls Detective Bobby Hopkins Episode: To Catch a Neighbour
1988 Return of the Killer Tomatoes Matt Stevens
1988 - 1991 Roseanne Booker Brooks 11 Episodes
1990 Red Surf Remar
1992 Unbecoming Age Mac
1993 The Harvest Lip Synching Transvestite
1993 - 1994 Sisters Detective James Falconer
1994 - 1999 ER Dr Doug Ross 106 Episodes
Emmy nomination: Outstanding Lead Drama Actor
Golden Globe nomination: Best TV Actor - Drama
1995 Friends Dr. Michael Mitchell Episode: The One with Two Parts, Part Two
1996 From Dusk Till Dawn Seth Gecko
One Fine Day Jack Taylor
Curdled Seth Gecko Uncredited; only photo shown
1997 Full-Tilt Boogie Himself Documentary
The Peacemaker Thomas Devoe
Batman & Robin Batman/ Bruce Wayne
South Park Sparky the Dog (voice) Episode: Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride
1998 The Thin Red Line Captain Bosche
Out of Sight Jack Foley
Waiting for Woody Himself Comedic Short
1999 Three Kings Major Archie Gates
The Book That Wrote Itself Himself
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Voice of Doctor Gouache
The Limey TV Interviewee
2000 The Perfect Storm Billy 'Skip' Tyne
Fail Safe Col. Jack Grady
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Ulysses Everett McGill Golden Globe: Best Musical/Comedy Actor
2001 Ocean's Eleven Danny Ocean
Spy Kids Devlin
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind CIA Officer Jim Byrd also Director
Solaris Chris Kelvin
Welcome to Collinwood Jerzy Producer
Starbuck Holger Meins Documentary
2003 Intolerable Cruelty Miles Massey
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Devlin
2004 Ocean's Twelve Danny Ocean also Executive Producer
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck. Fred Friendly Academy Award nomination: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award nomination: Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe nomination: Best Director, Best Screenplay
Syriana Bob Barnes also Producer; Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor
BAFTA Award nomination: Best Supporting Actor
2006 The Good German Jake Geismar
2007 Michael Clayton Michael Clayton also Producer; Best Actor of 2007, National Board of Review;
Nominated - Golden Globe (Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama)
Darfur Now Himself
The Endgame Study Executive Producer (credited as Anonymous)
Ocean's Thirteen Danny Ocean
2008 Leatherheads Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly also Director, Producer, and co-writer
Burn After Reading Harry Pfarrer post-production
White Jazz Dave "The Enforcer" Klein pre-production
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox Mr. Fox (voice) pre-production

Director credits

Year Title
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck
2007 Leatherheads
2009 Suburbicon

Producer credits

Credit Movie
Executive Producer Ocean's Thirteen

Preceded by
Val Kilmer
Actors to portray Batman
Succeeded by
Bruce Thomas
Preceded by
Denzel Washington
People's Sexiest Man Alive
Succeeded by
Harrison Ford
Preceded by
Matthew McConaughey
People's Sexiest Man Alive
Succeeded by
Matt Damon
Preceded by
Morgan Freeman
for Million Dollar Baby
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
for Syriana
Succeeded by
Alan Arkin
for Little Miss Sunshine

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