Angelina Jolie is an Oscar-winning actress, movie director, humanitarian and global celebrity. She rose to fame through her title role in the film Lara Croft. In recent years, Jolie has moved into film production, acting as director, writer and producer. She has six children, three of whom are adopted. She serves in a capacity as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the sister of actor James Haven, and the niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor and geologist and volcanologist Barry Voight.
After her parents’ separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother lived with their mother, who had abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. Her mother raised her Catholic, but did not require her to go to church. As a child, she often watched films with her mother and it was this, rather than her father’s successful career, that inspired her interest in acting. When Jolie was six years old, Bertrand and her live-in partner, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. Jolie then decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions.
Jolie first attended Beverly Hills High School, where she felt isolated among the children of some of the area’s affluent families because her mother survived on a more modest income. She was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. Her early attempts at modeling, at her mother’s insistence, proved unsuccessful. She then transferred to Moreno High School, an alternative school, where she became a “punk outsider,” wearing all-black clothing, going out moshing, and experimenting with knife play with her live-in boyfriend. At age 16, after the relationship had ended, Jolie graduated from high school and rented her own apartment, before returning to theater studies, though in 2004 she referred to this period with the observation, “I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos.”