The Biography of Angelina Jolie

Paparazzi photographers and television reporters at celebrity event
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Angelina Jolie, Academy Award-winning actress and Hollywood icon, was named 2009’s most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes magazine. But Jolie is not just a celebrity. She is a working mother, a humanitarian, and a successful business woman. This profile focuses on the personal and professional life of Angelina Jolie.

Birth Place and Family

Angelina Jolie Voight was born in Los Angeles, California, on June 4, 1975. Her parents are actor Jon Voight and French actress Marcheline Bertrand, who passed away in 2007 after a long battle with cancer.​ She is also the sister of actor James Haven.


Jonny Lee Miller (1996–1999), Billy Bob Thornton (2000–2003), and Brad Pitt (2005–2016)


Jolie and Pitt have six children, three of which are adopted: Maddox Chivan (adopted from Cambodia in 2002), Zahara (adopted from Africa in 2005), and Pax Thien (adopted from Vietnam in 2007). The couple also has three biological children: Shiloh (born May 27, 2006) and twins Knox and Vivienne (born July 12, 2008).


Jolie studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in her early teens and later attended New York University, where she studied filmmaking and writing. In her teens, she studied embalming with the goal of becoming a funeral director.


Jolie's dreams of becoming a funeral director did not last. Inspired by watching films with her mother, she committed to acting professionally at the age of 16.

Jolie officially began her acting career in 1993 with her first role in Cyborg 2. Since then, she has appeared in many films and received major nominations and awards for her work.

In 2007, she directed her first film, A Place in Time, which is an experimental documentary that looks at the daily lives of people in more than two dozen countries around the world during the course of a week. The film's goal was to raise awareness and increase understanding of the similarities and differences of life in other places. It was distributed through the National Education Association, mainly to high schools.

In 2011, Jolie directed her first feature film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Since then, she has directed three additional films: Unbroken (2014), By the Sea (2015), and First They Killed My Father (2017).

Humanitarian Awards

During her years as an actor, Jolie received recognition for her humanitarian efforts around the world:

  • 2001–Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for her advocacy and work in obtaining aid for refugees in many countries including Cambodia, Darfur, and Jordan
  • 2005–Global Humanitarian Action Award (United Nation Association of the USA) for her role as an ongoing activist for refugee rights
  • 2007 and 2011–Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award for Humanitarian Activism
  • 2013–Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award for Female Icon of the Year
  • 2013–Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

    Video: Angelina Jolie, UN Refugee Spokesperson (2002) (National Geographic Channel).

    Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation

    In 2003, Jolie founded the Maddox Jolie Project, which ultimately became the Maddox Jolie-Pitt (MJP) Foundation. The organization was formed to further conservation efforts of Cambodia’s endangered Cardamom Mountains’ northern territory. Current operations funded by MJP include reforestation, community protected area, park management, and integrated rural development. It's interesting to note that Jolie sold joint rights for the first images of her twins, Knox and Vivienne, to People and Hello! for $14 million, using the entire sum to help fund the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation.


    Notes from My Travels: Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Ecuador (2003) is a memoir of Jolie's visits to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Ecuador.


    Lookin’ to Get Out (1982); Cyborg 2 (1993); Love is All there Is (1996); Mojave Moon (1996); Firefox (1996); George Wallace (1997); Playing God (1997); True Woman (1997); Gia (1998); Hell’s Kitchen (1998); Playing by Heart (1998); The Gone Collector (1998); Girl, Interrupted (1999); Original Sin (2001); Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001); Life or Something Like It (2002); Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003); Beyond Borders (2003); Shark Tales (2004); Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004); The Fever (2004 TV); Alexander (2004); Taking Lives (2004); Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005); Gone in Sixty Seconds (2006); The Good Shepherd (2006); A Mighty Heart (2007); Beowolf (2007); Wanted (2008); Changeling (2008); Kung Fu Panda (2008); Wanted (2008); Salt (2010); The Tourist (2010); Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011); Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011); In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); Difret (2014); Maleficent (2014); Unbroken (2014); By the Sea (2015); Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016); First They Killed My Father (2017); The Breadwinner (2017)

    Cinematic Awards

    • Golden Globe Awards: George Wallace (1998); Gia (1999); Girl Interrupted (2000)
    • National Board of Review Awards: Playing by Heart (1998); Unbroken (2014); First They Killed My Father (2018)
    • Screen Actors Guild Awards: Gia (1999); Girl Interrupted (2000)
    • Academy Awards: Girl Interrupted (2000)
    • People’s Choice Awards: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004); Wanted (2008)


    The Celebrity 100 - Angelina Jolie #1. June 3, 2009.
    Biography of Angelina Jolie. A&E Television Networks.
    Katy Marquardt. The Angelina Jolie Stock Index, Decoded. August 19, 2008. Supermodels Are Outperforming the Dow. August 18, 2008.
    Fred Fuld. Angelina Jolie Stock Update. January 24, 2008.