Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem, Israel, to Avner, a fertility specialist, and Shelley, an artist. At the age of three she moved to Washington, DC, but soon relocated to Syosset, New York, where she spent the rest of her childhood. At the age of 11 she was spotted by an agent searching for a child model, which started off her acting career. six months later at age 12, she debuted in the critically acclaimed film Léon (1994), directed by Luc Besson.
Although the movie was a huge hit, it caused her family some problems due to her Lolita-esque role. She then landed supporting roles in Heat (1995), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), Beautiful Girls (1996), and Mars Attacks! (1996). Afterwards, she concentrated on high school in Syosset, where she was a straight-A student. She acted only during the summer. Portman became a leading lady when she landed the role of Queen/Senator Amidala for Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III. This helped her win roles in such films as Anywhere But Here (1999) and Where the Heart Is (2000). She has also had a successful stage career, appearing in such plays as “The Seagull” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” She is now in working on her acting career and attending Harvard University, where she is studying to be a psychologist. She says that her future in acting will become very selective due to her choice to pursue psychology as a working career.