George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. Clooney is also noted for his political activism and has served as one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace since January 31, 2008.
Clooney's ancestry includes Irish, German, English, and more distant Scottish and Dutch roots. His patrilineal line traces back to Nicholas Clooney (of County Kilkenny) and Bridget Byron, his great-great-grandparents, who emigrated to the United States from Ireland. His maternal four times great-grandmother, Mary Ann Sparrow, was the half-sister of Nancy Hanks (Nancy Hanks was the mother of President Abraham Lincoln).
Clooney was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1961. His mother, Nina Bruce (née Warren, 1939–), is a former beauty pageant queen. His father, Nick Clooney, is a former anchorman, as well as a game show and American Movie Classics host. Clooney has an older sister, Adelia (commonly known as Ada); his cousins include actors Miguel and Rafael Ferrer, who are the sons of his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, and actor José Ferrer. He is also related to another singer, Debby Boone, who married his cousin Gabriel Ferrer (son of José Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney).
Clooney was raised a strict Roman Catholic.He began his education at the Blessed Sacrament School in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Spending part of his childhood in Ohio, he attended St. Michael's School in Columbus, then between 1968 and 1974 Western Row Elementary School (a public school) in Mason, Ohio and St. Susanna School in Mason, where he also served as an altar boy, before the Clooneys moved to Kentucky when George was midway through the seventh grade. “George and his sister were always very conscious of social issues, and his parents were strong influences on the person he is today,” said John Romer, who served as a St. Susanna altar boy alongside George. “George would strongly defend his positions and argue logically and passionately . . . But George was never combative. He was the person you wanted to be with and laugh with.”
In middle school, Clooney developed Bell's palsy, a debilitating condition that partially paralyzes the face. The malady went away within a year. "That was the worst time of my life," he told the Daily Mirror in 2003. "You know how cruel kids can be. I was mocked and taunted, but the experience made me stronger."
After his parents moved to Augusta, Kentucky, Clooney attended Augusta High School. He has stated that he earned all As and a B in school, and was an enthusiastic baseball and basketball player. He tried out to play professional baseball with the Cincinnati Reds organization in 1977, but was not offered a contract. He did not pass the first round of player cuts.
He attended Northern Kentucky University from 1979 to 1981, majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and very briefly attended the University of Cincinnati, but did not graduate from either. He had odd jobs such as selling men's suits and cutting tobacco.
Clooney made his acting debut on television in 1978, and later gained wide recognition in his role as Dr. Douglas "Doug" Ross on the long-running medical drama ER from 1994 to 1999, for which he received two Emmy Award nominations. While working on ER, he began attracting a variety of leading roles in films, including Batman & Robin (1997) and Out of Sight (1998), in which he first worked with long-term collaborator Steven Soderbergh. In 1999 Clooney took the lead role in Three Kings, a well-received war satire set during the Gulf War. In 2001, Clooney's fame widened with the release of his biggest commercial success, Ocean's Eleven, the first of a profitable film trilogy, a remake of the 1960 film which starred members of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. He made his directorial debut a year later with the 2002 biographical thriller Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and has since directed Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), Leatherheads (2008), and The Ides of March (2011). He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the Middle East thriller Syriana (2005) and subsequently 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.
Actor: (TV series) E/R, 1984—85, The Facts of Life, 1985—86, Roseanne, 1988—89, Sunset Beat, 1990, Baby Talk, 1991, Bodies of Evidence, 1992—93, Sisters, 1993—94, ER, 1994—99; (films) Grizzly II: The Predator, 1987, Return to Horror High, 1987, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, 1988, Red Surf, 1990, Unbecoming Age, 1992, One Fine Day, 1996, From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996, Batman & Robin, 1997, The Peacemaker, 1997, The Thin Red Line, 1998, Out of Sight, 1998, Three Kings, 1999, (voice) South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, 1999, O Brother, Where Art Thou, 2000 (Golden Globe award for Best Peformance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, 2001), The Perfect Storm, 2000, Ocean's Eleven, 2001, Spy Kids, 2001, Solaris, 2002, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, 2003, Intolerable Cruelty, 2003, Ocean's Thirteen, 2007, Burn After Reading, 2008, The Men Who Stare at Goats, 2009, (voice) Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2009, Up in the Air, 2009 (Best Actor award, National Board Review, 2009, Best Actor New York Film Critics Cir., 2009), The American, 2010; (TV films) Combat High, 1986, Bennett Brothers, 1987, Knights of the Kitchen Table, 1990, Rewrite for Murder, 1991, Without Warning: Terror in the Towers, 1993; actor, director (films) Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 2002, Leatherheads, 2008, actor, director, writer Good Night and Good Luck, 2005 (named best film National Board Rev., 2005, George Selvin award, Writer Guild Am, 2006), actor, executive producer Ocean's Twelve, 2004, Syriana, 2005 (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, (Golden Globe award), 2006, Academy award for Best Supporting Actor, Academy Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, 2006), Michael Clayton, 2007 (Best Actor award, National Board Review, 2007), (TV films) Fail Safe, 2000; actor: (TV appearances) Riptide, 1984, Street Hawk, 1985, Crazy Like A Fox, 1985, Hotel, 1986, Throb, 1986, Hunter, 1987, Murder, She Wrote, 1987, The Golden Girls, 1987, The Building, 1993, (voice only) South Park, 1997, Murphy Brown, 1998; producer, writer (films) Kilroy, 1999; executive prodr.: (films) Rock Star, 2001, Insomnia, 2002, Welcome to Colinwood, 2002, Far From Heaven, 2002, The Jacket, 2005; prodr.: Criminal, 2004; executive prodr.: (TV series) K Street, 2003; dir.: Unscripted, 2005