Nicole Kidman - biography

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Mary Kidman, AC (born 20 June 1967) is an Australian actress, singer, film producer,[1] and humanitarian. Kidman began her career in 1983, starring in various Australian film and television productions until her breakthrough in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm. Following several films over the early 1990s, she came to worldwide recognition for her performances in Days of Thunder (1990), Far and Away (1992), and Batman Forever (1995). Kidman followed this with other successful films in the late 1990s. It was her performance in the musical, Moulin Rouge! (2001) which earned Kidman her second Golden Globe Award and first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Her performance as Virginia Woolf the following year in the drama film The Hours (2002) received critical acclaim and earned Kidman the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Kidman's other notable films include To Die For (1995), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Cold Mountain (2003), The Interpreter (2005), and Australia (2008). Her performance in 2010's Rabbit Hole (which she also produced) earned Kidman further accolades including a subsequent Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Kidman has been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 1994[2] and for UNIFEM since 2006.[3] Kidman's work has earned her a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three Golden Globe Awards, one BAFTA, and an Academy Award. In 2006, Kidman was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia's highest civilian honor,[4] and was also the highest-paid actress in the motion picture industry.[5] As a result of being born to Australian parents in Hawaii, Kidman has dual citizenship in Australia and the United States.[6]

Early life

Kidman was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her parents were in the United States on educational visas at the time. Kidman can thus claim both U.S. and Australian citizenship.[7] Her father, Antony David Kidman, is a biochemist, clinical psychologist, and author, with an office in Lane Cove, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.[8][9] Her mother, Janelle Ann (née Glenny), is a nursing instructor who edits her husband's books and was a member of the Women's Electoral Lobby. Kidman's ancestry includes Scottish and Irish.[10] At the time of Kidman's birth in 1967, her father was a graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He soon after became a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health of the United States. Opposed to the War in Vietnam, which was causing social unrest in both Australia and the United States, Kidman's parents participated in anti-war protests while they were living in Washington, DC.[11] The family returned to Australia when Kidman was four and her parents now live on Sydney's North Shore. Kidman has a younger sister, Antonia Kidman, a journalist and TV presenter.

Kidman attended Lane Cove Public School and North Sydney Girls' High School. She was enrolled in ballet at three and showed her natural talent for acting in her primary and high school years.[12] Kidman revealed she was timid as a child, saying, "I am very shy – really shy – I even had a stutter as a kid, which I slowly got over, but I still regress into that shyness. So I don’t like walking into a crowded restaurant by myself; I don’t like going to a party by myself".[13] In 1984, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which caused Kidman to temporarily halt her education and help provide for the family by working as a massage therapist at age 17.[12] She studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Victoria, and at the Phillip Street Theatre in Sydney, with actress and friend Naomi Watts who had attended the same high school as she did.[12][14] This was followed by attending the Australian Theatre for Young People.[12] Here she took up drama, mime and performing in her teens, finding acting to be a refuge. Due to her fair skin and naturally red hair, the Australian sun forced the young Kidman to rehearse in halls of the theatre. A regular at the Phillip Street Theatre, she received both encouragement and praise to pursue acting full-time.[15]

Career 1983-1994

In 1983, aged 16, Kidman made her film debut in the Australian holiday season favourite, Bush Christmas.[15] By the end of 1983, she had a supporting role in the television series Five Mile Creek and began gaining popularity in the mid-1980s after appearing in several film roles, including BMX Bandits, Watch the Shadows Dance, and the romantic comedy Windrider (1986), which earned Kidman attention due to her racy scenes. Also during the decade, she appeared in several Australian productions, including the soap opera A Country Practice and the miniseries Vietnam (1986). She also made guest appearances on Australian television programs and TV movies. She also appeared in Sesame Street.

In 1988, Kidman appeared in Emerald City, based on the play of the same name. The Australian film earned her an Australian Film Institute for Best Supporting Actress. After appearing in the Australian miniseries Bangkok Hilton, Kidman starred in Dead Calm (1989) as Rae Ingram, playing the wife of a naval officer. The thriller garnered strong reviews and brought Kidman to international recognition; Variety commented: "Throughout the film, Kidman is excellent. She gives the character of Rae real tenacity and energy."[16] Meanwhile, critic Roger Ebert noted the excellent chemistry between the leads, stating, "Kidman and Zane do generate real, palpable hatred in their scenes together."[17] She moved on to star alongside her then-boyfriend and future husband, Tom Cruise, in the 1990 auto racing film Days of Thunder, playing a young doctor who falls in love with a NASCAR driver. This was Kidman's American debut and was among the highest-grossing films of the year.[18]

In 1991, she co-starred with former classmate and friend Naomi Watts and Thandie Newton in the independent film Flirting. Kidman and Watts portrayed two high school girls in this coming of age story, which won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film.[19] That same year, her work in the film Billy Bathgate earned Kidman her first Golden Globe Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. The New York Times, in its film review, called her "a beauty with, it seems, a sense of humor".[20] The following year, she and Cruise re-teamed for Ron Howard's Irish epic Far and Away (1992), which was a modest critical[21][22] and commercial[23] success. In 1993, she starred in My Life opposite Michael Keaton and the thriller, Malice opposite Alec Baldwin.

1995–2003

In 1995, Kidman appeared in her highest-grossing live-action film as of 2011,[24] playing Dr. Chase Meridian, the damsel in distress, in the superhero film Batman Forever, opposite Val Kilmer as the film's title character. That same year Kidman appeared in Gus Van Sant's critically acclaimed To Die For, earning praise and another Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of murderous newscaster Suzanne Stone Maretto.[25][26]

Kidman next appeared in The Portrait of a Lady (1996), based on the novel the same name, alongside, Barbara Hershey, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker. The following year she appeared in the action-thriller The Peacemaker (1997) as White House nuclear expert Dr. Julia Kelly, opposite George Clooney. The film received mixed reviews but grossed some $110,000,000 worldwide.[27][28] That same year she appeared opposite Sandra Bullock in the poorly received fantasy Practical Magic as a modern-day witch.[29] Kidman returned to her work on stage the same year in the David Hare play The Blue Room, which opened in London.

In 1999, Kidman reunited with then husband, Tom Cruise, to portray a married couple in Eyes Wide Shut, the final film of Stanley Kubrick. The film opened to generally positive reviews but was subject to censorship controversies due to the explicit nature of its sex scenes.[30] The film received further attention following Kubrick's death shortly before its release. After brief hiatus and a highly publicized divorce from Cruise,[31] Kidman returned to the screen to play a mail-order bride in the British-American drama Birthday Girl.

In 2001, Kidman appeared in two of her most critically and commercially successful films. In the first she played the cabaret actress and courtesan Satine in Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge!, opposite Ewan McGregor. Subsequently, Kidman received her second Golden Globe Award, for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as other acting awards. She also received her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Actress. Also in 2001, she had a well-received starring role in Alejandro Amenábar's Spanish horror film The Others as Grace Stewart. Grossing over $210,947,037 worldwide, the film also earned several Goya Awards award nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for Kidman. Additionally she received her second BAFTA and fifth Golden Globe nominations.[citation needed]

In 2003, Kidman won critical praise for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry's The Hours, which also featured Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Kidman wore prosthetics that were applied to her nose making her almost unrecognisable playing the author during her time in 1920s England, and her bouts with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel, Mrs. Dalloway. The film earned positive notices and several nominations, including for an Academy Award for Best Picture. The New York Times wrote that, "Kidman tunnels like a ferret into the soul of a woman besieged by excruciating bouts of mental illness. As you watch her wrestle with the demon of depression, it is as if its torment has never been shown on the screen before. Directing her desperate, furious stare into the void, her eyes not really focusing, Ms. Kidman, in a performance of astounding bravery, evokes the savage inner war waged by a brilliant mind against a system of faulty wiring that transmits a searing, crazy static into her brain".

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