George Clooney (1961)
It was on this date, May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, that the American actor George Clooney was born. The nephew of the late singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, he is also the cousin of actor Miguel Ferrer. Clooney got a small part in one film and was bitten by the acting bug. His first steady TV role was in the medical show “E/R” (1994-1999) as Dr. Douglas “Doug” Ross. Clooney’s biggest commercial success was Ocean’s Eleven, a 2001 remake of the 1960 “Rat Pack” film with Frank Sinatra in Clooney’s role as Danny Ocean. It was followed by two successful sequels. In 2002 he directed his first film, a biographical thriller Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directing again in 2005 with Good Night, and Good Luck about famed TV journalist Edward R. Murrow. That was the year he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the Middle East thriller Syriana, but he also gained Best Actor nominations for such films as Michael Clayton (2007), Up in the Air (2009) and The Descendants (2011). In 2013, he received the Academy Award for Best Picture for producing the film Argo, alongside Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov. Not only is Clooney the only person ever to be nominated for Academy Awards in six different categories, but in 2005, TV Guide ranked Clooney #1 on its “50 Sexiest Stars of All Time” lists.
George Clooney is also notable for his humanitarian work: his advocacy of finding a resolution for the Darfur (Sudan) conflict (about which he created the 2007 documentary Sand and Sorrow), fundraising for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Clooney was profiled in the Washington Post on 28 September 1997. In that interview, he told writer Sharon Waxman, “I don’t believe in Heaven and Hell. I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life—the only thing I know to exist—to be wasted.” Nine years later, on Larry King’s interview program (2/16/2006), King asked Clooney, “Did you lose your faith, or do you still have it?” George Clooney’s rather jumbled reply was, “I don’t have a specific….Yeah…I don’t….You know. It’s an interesting thing. I’ll tell you what’s tricky about this. In talking about religion, if you’re well known, anything you say, it sort of takes off about a bunch of other people and attacks their belief. So I always try to say that, you know, first and foremost, that whatever anybody believes as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, it’s fair enough, and works, and I think, is real, and matters. I don’t happen to have those beliefs, as much, you know, I don’t believe in those things.”
Originally published May 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.