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Jodie Foster Biography (1962–)


Jodie Foster is an award-winning American actress best known for her roles in the films Taxi Driver, The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs.

Synopsis

American actress, director and producer Jodie Foster was born on November 19, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. Foster received an Oscar nomination at age 12 for her role as a child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver (1976), and went on to win a Golden Globe (best actress) and Academy Award for The Accused (1988). She then starred in the popular film The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In recent years, Foster has worked as a successful film director and producer, in addition to acting.

Early Career and Education

Jodie Foster was born Alicia Christian Foster (she was later nicknamed “Jodie”) in Los Angeles, California, on November 19, 1962. The daughter of Evelyn “Brandy” Ella and Lucius Fisher Foster III, Foster is the youngest of four children. The future Academy Award winner began her acting career at the tender age of 3, with a role as the Coppertone Girl in a television commercial for the iconic brand of suntan lotion.

A precocious and bright child from the start, Foster began talking at nine months and had taught herself to read by the time she was 3 years old. Despite never having taken an acting class, she dove headlong into show business in 1968 with her first television show, Mayberry R.F.D. From there, she would continue on to a busy career as a child actress, with Brandy Foster always by her side, playing the dual role of manager and mother. “My mom managed me when I was young,” Foster later recalled. “I still treasure her impact. She was very strong, self-educated, but wasn’t pushy. She’d stay in the trailer and read magazines while I worked.”

Foster’s first foray onto the big screen came with roles in the Disney movies Napoleon and Samantha (1972) and One Little Indian (1973). All the while, Foster was studying at the private prep school Lycée Français de Los Angeles, juggling a challenging course load and becoming fluent in French.

Foster’s unforgettable and controversial breakout film role came when she was only 12 years old. Taxi Driver (1976), an iconic and dark Martin Scorsese picture set in the gritty underbelly of 1970s-era New York, saw Foster playing a child prostitute who becomes the obsession of the title character, played by Robert De Niro. Taxi Driver garnered Foster an Oscar nomination, establishing her as a teenage star and leading to roles in popular films like Freaky Friday (1976) and Foxes (1980), further cementing her place as Hollywood’s next darling.



But Foster was uncomfortable with her growing fame. In search of anonymity and an ordinary collegiate experience, she enrolled in Yale University after graduating high school. The famous Ivy League rigor didn’t seem to intimidate the young actress, as she immediately enrolled in upper level French courses. “I chose Yale basically for writing and literature,” she says. “Of course, you can’t be sure—you get your first D and could decide to be a chemistry major.”

In 1981, a disturbed man named John Hinckley Jr. shattered the young actress’s dream of a quiet college life when he attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan, saying he did it in order to impress her. While she attended college, Hinckley became obsessed with Foster, writing her love letters and calling her on the phone. She eventually testified during Hinckley’s trial and admitted to being badly shaken by the experience. Nevertheless, Foster returned to work shortly after the incident, starring in Svengali alongside Peter O’Toole, finding in acting a release from the intense and unwanted scrutiny Hinckley’s actions had drawn her way.

Acclaimed Actress and Director

After graduating from Yale, Foster made the transition from child star to mature actress, appearing in a series of mostly unremarkable pictures through the mid-1980s. Her next widely acclaimed role came in another intense and gritty picture, when she played rape survivor Sarah Tobias in The Accused (1988). For this performance she won both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress, establishing her as one of Hollywood’s most esteemed serious actresses.

Foster made a strong impression again in 1991 with her performance as FBI agent Clarice Starling in blockbuster hit The Silence of the Lambs (1991), in which Foster’s character goes head to head with the unforgettable psychopath Hannibal Lechter, played by Anthony Hopkins. For this role, Foster collected her second Academy Award and Golden Globe.

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