Nicole Kidman

    Nicole Mary Kidman, AC (born 20 June 1967) is an Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm. Following several films over the early 1990s, she came to worldwide recognition for her performances in Days of Thunder (1990), Far and Away (1992), and Batman Forever (1995). Kidman followed this with other successful films in the late 1990s, it was her performance in the musical, Moulin Rouge! (2001) which earned Kidman her second Golden Globe Award and first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Her performance as Virginia Woolf the following year in the drama film The Hours (2002) received critical acclaim and earned Kidman the Academy Award for Best Actress.Kidman's other successful films include Cold Mountain (2003), The Interpreter (2005), Happy Feet (2006), and Australia (2008). Her performance in 2010's Rabbit Hole (which she also produced) earned Kidman further accolades including a subsequent Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Kidman has been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM since 2006. Kidman's work has earned her a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three Golden Globe Awards, one BAFTA, and an Academy Award. In 2006, Kidman was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia's highest civilian honour, and was also the highest-paid actress in the motion picture industry. As a result of being born to Australian parents in Hawaii, Kidman has dual citizenship of Australia and the United States.

    Kidman was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Since her parents were in the United States on educational visas, Kidman could claim both U.S. and Australian citizenship.Her father, Dr. Antony David Kidman, is a biochemist, clinical psychologist, and author, with an office in Lane Cove, Sydney, Australia. Her mother, Janelle Ann (née Glenny), is a nursing instructor who edits her husband's books and was a member of the Women's Electoral Lobby. At the time of Kidman's birth in 1967, her father was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health of the United States. Opposed to the War in Vietnam, which was causing social unrest in both Australia and the United States, Kidman's parents participated in anti-war protests while they were living in Washington, DC. The family returned to Australia when Kidman was four and her parents now live on Sydney's North Shore. Kidman has a younger sister, Antonia Kidman, a journalist and TV presenter. She is of Irish descent through her great-great-great-grandparents, James and Bridget Callachor, who settled in Sydney in 1842.Kidman attended Lane Cove Public School and North Sydney Girls' High School. She was enrolled in ballet at three and showed her natural talent for acting in her primary and high school years. Kidman revealed she was timid as a child, saying, "I am very shy – really shy – I even had a stutter as a kid, which I slowly got over, but I still regress into that shyness. So I don’t like walking into a crowded restaurant by myself; I don’t like going to a party by myself". In 1984, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which caused Kidman to temporarily halt her education and help provide for the family by working as a massage therapist at age 17.She studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, and at the Phillip Street Theatre in Sydney, with actress and friend Naomi Watts who had attended the same High School as her. This was followed by attending the Australian Theatre for Young People. Here she took up drama, mime and performing in her teens, finding acting to be a refuge. Due to her fair skin and naturally red hair, the Australian sun forced the young Kidman to rehearse in halls of the theatre. A regular at the Phillip Street Theatre, she received both encouragement and praise to pursue acting full-time.

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    In 1983, aged 16, Kidman dropped out of high school and made her film debut in the Australian holiday season favourite, Bush Christmas. By the end of 1983, she had a supporting role in the television series Five Mile Creek and began gaining popularity in the mid-1980s after appearing in several film roles, including BMX Bandits, Watch the Shadows Dance (1987), and the romantic comedy Windrider (1986), which earned Kidman attention due to her racy scenes. Also during the decade, she appeared in several Australian productions, including the soap opera A Country Practice and the miniseries Vietnam (1986). She also made guest appearances on Australian television programs and TV movies.

    In 1988, Kidman appeared in Emerald City, based on the play of the same name. The Australian film earned her an Australian Film Institute for Best Supporting Actress. After appearing in the Australian miniseries Bangkok Hilton, Kidman starred in Dead Calm (1989) as Rae Ingram, playing the wife of a naval officer. The thriller garnered strong reviews and brought Kidman to international recognition; Variety commented: "Throughout the film, Kidman is excellent. She gives the character of Rae real tenacity and energy." Meanwhile, critic Roger Ebert noted the excellent chemistry between the leads, stating, "Kidman and Zane do generate real, palpable hatred in their scenes together." She moved on to star alongside her then-boyfriend and future husband, Tom Cruise, in the 1990 auto racing film Days of Thunder, playing a young doctor who falls in love with a NASCAR driver. This was Kidman's American debut and was among the highest-grossing films of the year.

    In 1991, she co-starred with former classmate and friend Naomi Watts and Thandie Newton in the independent film Flirting. Kidman and Watts portrayed two high school girls in this coming of age story, which won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film. That same year, her work in the film Billy Bathgate earned Kidman her first Golden Globe Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. The New York Times, in its film review, called her "a beauty with, it seems, a sense of humor". The following year, she and Cruise re-teamed for Ron Howard's Irish epic Far and Away (1992), which was a modest critical and commercial success. In 1993, she starred in My Life opposite Michael Keaton and the thriller, Malice opposite Alec Baldwin.

    In 1995, Kidman appeared in her highest-grossing film as of 2011, playing Dr. Chase Meridian, the damsel in distress, in the superhero film Batman Forever, opposite Val Kilmer as the film's title character. That same year Kidman appeared in Gus Van Sant's critically acclaimed To Die For, earning praise for her portrayal of murderous newscaster Suzanne Stone Maretto.

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