On this day in 1967, Julia Roberts, the girl-next-door beauty who will become one of Hollywood’s A-list actresses and the star of such hit films as Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich and Notting Hill, is born in Smyrna, Georgia.
The actress’s early credits include Satisfaction (1988), with Justine Bateman and Liam Neeson, and the romantic comedy Mystic Pizza (1989), in which she played the feisty waitress Daisy Arujo. Roberts received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as a young Southern woman afflicted with serious health problems in the 1989 tearjerker Steel Magnolias, which co-starred Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis and Daryl Hannah. Roberts’ performance as the hooker with a heart of gold Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman skyrocketed her to stardom. The film, directed by Garry Marshall and co-starring Richard Gere, was an enormous box-office success.
Roberts, who became known for her huge smile and willowy beauty, went on to appear in a long list of films in the 1990s, including Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Dying Young (1991), The Pelican Brief (1993) with Denzel Washington, My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) with Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney and Rupert Everett, Notting Hill (1999) with Hugh Grant, and Runaway Bride (1999) with Richard Gere. In between her hits came such commercial flops as I Love Trouble (1994) and Mary Reilly (1996).
Roberts won a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in the title role of Erin Brockovich (2000), based on the true story of a single mother who takes on a giant power company that has poisoned one town’s water supply. Her more recent film credits include Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and Ocean’s Twelve (2004), both of which co-starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. She also voiced the role of Charlotte the motherly spider in 2006’s Charlotte’s Web and co-starred with Tom Hanks in 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War.
Roberts was married to the country singer Lyle Lovett from 1993 to 1995. In 2002, she wed cameraman Danny Moder, whom she reportedly met on the set of her film The Mexican (2001). The couple has three children.