People in the News: Angelina Jolie | Level 8 | By Little Fox

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[Series Introduction]

Young newscasters Ben and Olivia introduce well-known people from around the world. These “people in the news” have accomplished extraordinary things in science, sports, music, business, politics, and more!


OLIVIA: Hello, Little Fox readers, and welcome back to People in the News. Today Ben will be telling us about actress Angelina Jolie. She’s a movie star who’s often considered one of the world’s most beautiful people. But she’s more than just a pretty face. Right, Ben?

BEN: That’s right, Olivia. Angelina has acted in over 45 movies, but she’s also a humanitarian. She’s especially concerned about refugees. Those are people who’ve had to flee their own countries because of war or persecution. Angelina Jolie Voight was born on June 4, 1975, in Los Angeles, California. Both her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, and her father, Jon Voight, were actors. Angelina had an older brother, and Marcheline gave up her career to take care of both children. But Jon left the family when Angelina was about a year old. Since then, Angelina and her father have had an off-and-on relationship.
Like many little girls, Angelina loved to dress up and pretend she was onstage. But she was different from other kids too. She had snakes as pets! And she wanted to be a funeral director—not a movie director—when she grew up! Still, she showed some early interest in acting. She was only six years old when she played a small role in one of her father’s movies.
Angelina lived in a New York City suburb until she was 11. Then her family moved back to the Los Angeles area. Angelina had a difficult time in school. Her classmates made fun of her clothes, full lips, glasses, and braces. As a result, Angelina grew closer to her mother, whom she credits with inspiring her acting career. She also began to take classes at a famous theater and film institute.
But her early teenage years continued to be hard. Angelina dyed her hair purple and dressed like a punk. She experimented with drugs and started cutting herself. She even dropped out of high school for a while. When she returned to school, she managed to graduate early, at age 16. Most students in the United States graduate at age 17 or 18.
By now Angelina was a very pretty girl. She began to model and appear in music videos. She also dropped her father’s name, Voight, and became just Angelina Jolie. She soon started acting in movies.

OLIVIA: Was she an instant success?

BEN: No, but she did meet her first husband, actor Jonny Lee Miller, while working on the film Hackers. She was almost 21 when they married in 1996.
Angelina’s first major acting award was for George Wallace, a TV movie. In 1999 she played a mental-hospital patient in the movie Girl, Interrupted. She won multiple awards for that performance, including an Academy Award for best supporting actress.
By now her first marriage was breaking up. Angelina moved to New York, and took some classes in filmmaking at New York University. In 2000 she married actor Billy Bob Thornton. Around this time Angelina also began filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Based on a popular video game, the movie attracted a large audience. It also marked a major turning point in Angelina’s life. The film was made in Cambodia, and land mines limited where the actors could walk.

OLIVIA: What are land mines?

BEN: They’re buried explosives, which blow up when someone steps on them. They can remain buried and dangerous for years. The mines were planted in Cambodia during conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s. Angelina was horrified that Cambodians lived in constant fear of being killed or injured. She contacted the United Nations to see if there was anything she could do. While reading about land mines, she was impressed by the UN’s work with refugees around the world. Angelina was determined to help!
In 2001 she visited Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Pakistan on behalf of the UN Refugee Agency. These were the first . . . .

[Little Fox Introduction]

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