Om Natalie Portman: A Biography
ABOUT THE BOOK Born in Jerusalem, Israel on June 9, 1981, Natalie Hershlag grew up to be Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman. An only child, she moved to the United States with her parents, Avner Hershlag and Shelley Stevens in 1984. Her father, an Israeli fertility doctor, and mother, an artist from Ohio, gave their only child a strong upbringing in Long Island, New York where they stressed education and travel. Natalie's first language is Hebrew, but she has spoken English since she was a toddler.Natalie visited Israel twice a year as a child, and thanks to her father she still has dual citizenship. She attended Conservative Jewish day school through the seventh grade "to preserve my Hebrew and my sense of Israel more than anything religious," Natalie told the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.As a child growing up on Long Island, she found her classmates treating her differently after she began getting work as an actress. It started as early as her first film role in Leon: The Professional in 1994. "In seventh grade, I cried every day when I came back from shooting The Professional," she told the Jewish News agency in 2002. Years later, she would find the same isolation due to her fame while attending college.Because of her parents, Natalie chose to attend the Ivy-League Harvard University when most of her counterparts were finding themselves in the tabloids by getting in trouble. Natalie drew upon her Israeli background when she penned an op-ed piece in her college newspaper objecting to a law student's essay condemning Israel. She objected to his assertion that the Middle Eastern country is a "racist colonial occupation ... (in which) white Israeli soldiers destroy refugee camps of the brown people they have dispossessed." EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Family is important to Natalie. When she won her Golden Globe for Black Swan, she made a point to thank her grandmother Bernice, who lives in Cincinnati. In fact, it is this branch of Natalie's family that could be responsible for Natalie's foray into acting. Bernice's husband Art, who changed his last name from Edelstein to Stevens, started the family showbiz tradition by starring in his own ads for his windows company, according to an article in The American Israelite.Natalie's parents, Avner and Shelley, who met at a Jewish Center at Ohio State University, strived to maintain a strong extended family for their only child even after their move to New York. Bernice told the Cincinnati Enquirer in a quote that was included in the American Israelite that she visited her daughter's family in New York several times a year and, "even though Natalie and I have never lived in the same city - we bonded when she was a baby."The family had settled in the New York area after moving from Israel and Natalie experienced a serene upbringing. As a youth she attended exclusive and competitive theater camps like Stagedoor Manor and Usden Camp in the Catskills. She was discovered by a Revlon agent when she was 10 at a Long Island pizza parlor and acting in movies like Heat and Mars Attacks! early in her career.Natalie starred as Anne Frank on Broadway in 1998, a role she found extremely personal. "I grew up with the Holocaust, because my grandparents lost their entire families," Natalie told the Jewish News. She even found a similar story to Anne's in her own family. "My grandfather's 14-year-old brother was also hidden, but one day he couldn't take it anymore and he ran outside and was shot."She found the role so emotional that she often found herself crying offstage. She told the Jewish News that "It's a stunning realization when you come to see how much historical memory affects you," she says......buy the book to read more!