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Flawless, charismatic, entertaining, smart: words that have been used to describe this article on some actor guy with a nice smile who’s done some decent films
GIVE US A CLOO
George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6,1961, in Lexington, Kentucky. His father, Nick, was a journalist, TV newsman and game-show host, but showbiz inspiration also came from his aunt and uncle, the singer Rosemary Clooney and the actor José Ferrer, and their son, actor Miguel Ferrer. In 1982, Cousin Mig convinced young George to seek his fortune in LA. He’d still be looking for it more than a decade later...
SECOND TIME AROUND
Clooney spent 12 years scraping by on TV show guest spots and small parts in rum movies such as Return To Horror High, before his big break, the medical drama ER, hit primetime TV in 1994. In 1984, he had played a supporting role in a short-lived comedy set in a hospital, starring Elliott Gould, and which was called E/R.
OH MY GOD: YOU HELPED KENNY!
In 1995, an animated Christmas ‘card’ starring four foul-mouthed boys was circulated among Hollywood’s elite, thus sowing the seeds of South Park. GC is rumoured to have been one of the short’s keenest distributors: “There’s truth to that,” he told a magazine. He would go on to voice South Park characters, and be mocked in the South Park creators’ film, Team America: World Police. That’s gratitude for you.
The US political right enjoys bashing our boy for his left-leaning views, but he gets his hands dirty for causes he believes in. In 1992, he volunteered for the clean-up after the LA riots. He also helped organise a telethon for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, visited Darfur in 2006 to make a documentary raising awareness of the genocide and its victims, and is now a United Nations peace envoy.
NOT EVERYONE LIKES HIM
The set of the 1999 Iraq war satire Three Kings was not a happy place. The difficult relationship between its director, David 0 Russell, and star, George Clooney, came to a head when Russell, having shouted at a cast member who Clooney defended, got his leading man by the throat. Clooney returned the favour in spades, a truce was ‘agreed’ and somehow a great film resulted.
After an accident while filming Syriana, the 2006 political thriller for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Clooney damaged his spine, to the point where splitting headaches and memory loss were trumped only by spinal fluid coming out of his nose. “It was the most unbearable pain I’ve ever been through,” he said. This from the man who starred in, and read the reviews for, Batman & Robin.
American movies of the 1960s and 1970s are George’s favourite; he has seen the 1976 film Network “50 times – I’m not exaggerating, 50”. It’s clear how those films influenced Clooney’s directorial efforts Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind and Good Night And Good Luck; less so in Leatherheads, his disappointing 2008 American football comedy.
In 2008, Clooney cemented his reputation as an all-round good egg when, having dinner cooked for him by a writer for Time magazine at the writer’s house, he headed into the house’s crawlspaces in search of a rogue bleep, coming back with a carbon-monoxide detector in need of attention. Until the headline ‘Matt Damon: Cleaning Out My Hamster Cage’ appears in a Sunday supplement, that wins.
NOT SO AMAZING, REALLY
In the film, The American, Clooney plays a one-last-hit contract killer for whom it all goes wrong in the Italian countryside. Director Anton Corbijn, who made Joy Division biopic Control, had this to say of his leading man: “He keeps everyone’s spirits high between takes... but GC will never not be ready when the camera is switched on. It amazed me really.”
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