Just the Facts Natalie Portman Birth name: Natalie Hershlag Born: June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem Beginnings: Started taking dancing lessons at 4; dreamed of dancing on Broadway. Was discovered at a Long Island pizza parlor by an agent for Revlon who wanted her to model. Portman turned it down, preferring to be an actress. She spent her holidays at theater camps. In 1994, Portman auditioned for Luc Bessons thriller The Professional. Initially turned down, she auditioned again and won the role of a streetwise orphan girl who befriends an assassin (Jean Reno). She took her grandmothers maiden name as her stage name.
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