The Biography of Angelina Jolie

Paparazzi photographers and television reporters at celebrity event
••• Andrew Hobbs/ Stone/ Getty Images

Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actress, Hollywood icon, humanitarian, and successful businesswoman. In 2009, Forbes magazine named her 2009’s most powerful celebrity in the world.

Early Life and Family

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

Jolie was married to Jonny Lee Miller (1996–1999), Billy Bob Thornton (2000–2003), and Brad Pitt (2005–2016). Jolie and Pitt have six children, three of whom are adopted: Maddox Chivan (adopted from Cambodia in 2002), Zahara (adopted from Africa in 2005), and Pax Thien (adopted from Vietnam in 2007). Their three biological children are Shiloh (born May 27, 2006) and twins Knox and Vivienne (born July 12, 2008).

Education and Career

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, but those dreams did not last. Inspired by watching films with her mother, Jolie committed to acting professionally at the age of 16, and she 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. 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

Throughout her career, Jolie has received much recognition for her humanitarian efforts around the world. She received the Global Humanitarian Action Award in 2005 for her role as an ongoing activist for refugee rights. In 2011, she received the 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. In 2007 and 2011, she won the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) EDA Award for Humanitarian Activism, and in 2013, she won the AWFJ EDA Award for Female Icon of the Year and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

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. 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.


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)


In 2003, Jolie published Notes from My Travels: Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Ecuador, which is a memoir of her visits to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Ecuador.

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)