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Julia Roberts Biography

Julia Roberts
She was born Julie Fiona Roberts in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 28, 1967, into a very large extended family of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish extraction (Roberts legend has it that some Cherokee also crept into the gene pool at some point). Her father, Walter, was a genuine outsider, not sharing the conservative, macho values of his farming-stock family. Instead, he was artistic and sensitive, wearing tight clothes with a European cut, even daring to become a drama student. Having joined the air force to take advantage of the recent GI Bill that gave a free education to those in the armed forces, he wound up at the Keesler base at Biloxi, Mississippi. Here, in 1955 auditioning for a stage production of George Washington Slept Here, he won both a role and the heart of the play's vivacious blonde ingenue, Betty Lou Bredemus.
When Julia Roberts won the 2001 Best Actress Oscar for her performance as self-made lawyer and Woman Of The People Erin Brokovich, the award seemed to reflect a popular acceptance that she had finally arrived as a "serious" actress. Due to the outrageous success of Pretty Woman, eleven years before, people had considered her to be most at home being charming in romantic comedies (and, by God, was she charming). For long periods her love life was scrutinised more avidly than her films. And then there were the ever-increasing wage-packets that saw her not only as Hollywood's most sought-after female headliner but also a major rival to the likes of Cruise, Gibson and Schwarzenegger. Throughout the Nineties, for all her efforts to widen her scope, she was seen primarily as a movie star, hardly as an actress at all. It was forgotten that actually, as the doomed Shelby in Steel Magnolias, she'd been Oscar-nominated for a dramatic role before the Pretty Woman explosion blinded us all.Betty Lou, born in Minneapolis and partly of Swedish blood, had studied drama and worked in stock companies before, like Walter, making use of the GI Bill. She and Walter would marry and move back to Atlanta, where they'd have three kids - Eric, Lisa and Julie. They'd also establish and run a children's theatre at their home and, being amongst the first whites to defy Georgia's colour lines, their pupils would include the children of Martin Luther King. It's rumoured that, given the theatre was not profitable, the Kings not only sponsored it but actually paid the costs of young Julie's birth at the Crawford Long Hospital. Sadly, she would never speak to the great peacemaker, who was assassinated in Memphis before she was 6 months old.

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