Sandra Bullock

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Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock, The Heat, London, 2013 (crop).jpg
Bullock at the UK film gala screening of
The Heat in 2013
Born Sandra Annette Bullock
(1964-07-26) July 26, 1964 (age 50)
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Residence Bel Air, Los Angeles, California
Citizenship American and German
Occupation Actress, film producer
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Jesse G. James (m. 2005–10)
Children 1 (adopted in 2010)
Parents John W. Bullock
Helga Mathilde Meyer

Sandra Annette Bullock (/ˈbʊlək/; born July 26, 1964)[1] is an American actress and producer. She rose to fame in the 1990s with roles in films such as Demolition Man (1993), Speed (1994), The Net (1995), While You Were Sleeping (1995), A Time to Kill (1996), and Hope Floats (1998). In the new millennium, Bullock starred in Miss Congeniality (2000), Two Weeks Notice (2002), The Lake House (2006), and the critically acclaimed Crash (2004) and Gravity (2013).

In 2007, she was ranked as the 14th richest woman in the entertainment industry with an estimated fortune of $85 million.[2] In 2009, Bullock starred in two of the more financially successful films of her career, The Proposal and The Blind Side.[3][4] Bullock was awarded the BFCA Award, SAG Award, Golden Globe Award, and the Academy Award for her leading role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side.

She is listed in the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records as the highest-paid actress, with $56 million.[5] In 2013, she starred in The Heat, financially the most successful comedy of the year at the domestic box office, and the science fiction thriller Gravity. As one of the highest grossing films of the year, Gravity is Bullock's most successful film critically and commercially.[6][7][8] For her role in it, Bullock was nominated a second time for the Academy Award for Best Actress, along with the BFCA, Golden Globe and SAG awards and also received her first BAFTA nomination.

Early life[edit]

Bullock was born in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Her father, John W. Bullock (born 1925), was a United States Army employee and part-time voice coach; her mother, Helga Mathilde Meyer (1942–2000), was an opera singer and voice teacher.[9][10] Bullock's father was from Birmingham, Alabama, and had English, Irish, German, and French ancestry, while Bullock's mother was German.[11][12][13] Bullock's maternal grandfather was a rocket scientist from Nuremberg, Germany. Bullock's father, then in charge of the Army's Military Postal Service in Europe, was stationed in Nuremberg when he met his wife. They married in Germany and moved to Arlington, where John worked with the Army Materiel Command, before becoming a contractor for The Pentagon.[14][15] She has a younger sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado, who was formerly the vice-president of Bullock's production company Fortis Films.[1]

Bullock was raised in Nuremberg, Germany for twelve years and grew up speaking German.[16][17] She attended the humanistic Waldorf School.[18] As a child, Bullock frequently accompanied her mother on European opera tours. Bullock studied ballet and vocal arts as a child, taking small parts in her mother's opera productions. She sang in the opera's children's choir at the Staatstheater Nürnberg.[19] The scar above her left eye was caused when she fell into a creek as a child.[20][21] Bullock attended Washington-Lee High School, where she was a cheerleader and performed in high school theater productions. After graduating in 1982, she attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she received a degree in drama in 1986.[22] She then moved to Manhattan and supported herself as a bartender, cocktail waitress, and coat checker while auditioning for roles.[23]

Until the age of eighteen, Bullock held an American/German dual citizenship.[24] In 2009, she reapplied for German citizenship.[25]

Career[edit]

1987–1999: Career breakthrough worldwide[edit]

Bullock at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996

While in New York, Bullock took acting classes with Sanford Meisner.[1] She appeared in several student films, and later landed a role in an Off-Broadway play No Time Flat. Director Alan J. Levi was impressed by Bullock's performance and offered her a part in the TV movie Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989). This led to her being cast in a series of small roles in several independent films as well as in the lead role of the short-lived NBC television version of the film Working Girl (1990). She went on to appear in several films, such as Love Potion No. 9 (1992), The Thing Called Love (1993) and Fire on the Amazon (1993).

A prominent supporting role in the science-fiction/action film Demolition Man (1993) was followed by her breakthrough performance in Speed the following year. Speed was a huge hit that took in $350 million at the box office worldwide, making it her second most successful picture to date.[26]

A string of successes during the mid-1990s included While You Were Sleeping (1995), for which she received her first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, The Net (1995) and A Time to Kill (1996). Bullock received $11 million for Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), which she agreed to star in for financial backing for her own project, Hope Floats (1998),[27] and has revealed she regrets making the sequel.[28]

She was selected as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1996 and 1999, and was also ranked #58 in Empire magazine's Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time list.[29]

2000–2008: Financial success and producing[edit]

Bullock at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002

In 2000, Bullock starred in Miss Congeniality, a financial success that took in $212 million at the box office worldwide,[30] and received another Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She was presented with the 2002 Raúl Juliá Award for Excellence[31] for her efforts, as the executive producer of the sitcom George Lopez, in helping expand career openings for Hispanic talent in the media and entertainment industry. She also made several appearances on the show as Accident Amy, an accident-prone employee at the factory Lopez's character manages. The same year, she starred opposite Hugh Grant in Two Weeks Notice (2002).[32]

In 2004, Bullock had a supporting role in the film Crash, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. She received positive reviews for her performance, with some critics suggesting that it was the best performance of her career.[33] She later received a $17.5-million-salary for Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005).[34] The same year, she was a co-recipient of the Women in Film Crystal Award.[35]

Although Bullock was reunited with her Speed co-star Keanu Reeves in the romantic drama The Lake House, their film characters are separated throughout the film, so Bullock and Reeves were only on set together for two weeks during filming.[36] The same year, Bullock appeared in Infamous, playing author Harper Lee. Bullock also starred in Premonition with Julian McMahon, which was released in March 2007.[37] In 2008, Bullock was announced as "the face" of prestigious cosmetic brand Artistry.[38]

2009–2012: Critical acclaim and recognition[edit]

The year 2009 proved to be especially good for Bullock, giving the actress two record highs in her career, as earlier in the year she released The Proposal, with co-star Ryan Reynolds, a huge hit that took in $317 million at the box office worldwide, making it her third most successful picture to date.[39] She received her third Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for that role.

In November 2009, Bullock starred in The Blind Side, which opened at #2 behind New Moon with $34.2 million, making it her second highest opening weekend ever. The Blind Side is unique in that it had a 17.6% increase at the box office its second weekend, and it took the top spot of the box office in its third weekend. The film cost $29 million to make according to the Box Office Mojo. It grossed over $309 million, making it her domestic highest grossing film, her fourth highest grossing film worldwide, and the first one in history to pass the $200 million mark with only one top-billed female star.[40][41]

Bullock at the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011

Bullock had initially turned down the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy three times due to a discomfort with portraying a devout Christian.[42] She was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress.[43] The Blind Side also received an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination.

Winning the Oscar also gave Bullock another unique distinction — since she won two "Razzies" the day before, for her performance in All About Steve (2009), she is the only performer ever to have been named both "Best" and "Worst" for the same year.[44] Sandra was asked to return her 2009 "Worst Actress of the Year" Razzie award; however, this wasn't because of a change of heart for Bullock's performance but because Bullock personally accepted her Razzie and accidentally took the original one-of-a-kind prototype Razzie, as opposed to the cheap trinket normally handed out to celebrities.[45]

In 2011, Bullock starred in the drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close alongside Tom Hanks, a film adaptation based on the novel of the same name.[46] Despite mixed reviews,[47] the film was nominated for numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination. Bullock was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by Georgia Film Critics Association and Best Actress Drama by Teen Choice Awards.

2013–present: Continued success[edit]

Bullock at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con

She starred in the 2013 comedy film The Heat, alongside Melissa McCarthy.[48] It received positive reviews from critics,[49][50] and took in $230 million at the box office worldwide.[51] Bullock also starred in the science fiction film Gravity, opposite George Clooney.[52] The premiere was in August, at the 70th Venice Film Festival, and the film was released on October 4, 2013 to coincide with the beginning of World Space Week. The film was originally scheduled to be released on November 21, 2012, before being re-scheduled for a 2013 release in order to complete extensive post-production effects work.[53][54] Gravity received universal acclaim among critics and a standing ovation in Venice.[55][56][57][58] The movie was called "marvelous, the most realistic and the most beautifully choreographed movie ever set in space".[57][59] Bullock's performance was praised,[57][58][59] with some of the critics saying that Gravity is the best work of her career, and many calling her out as a major frontrunner for the Academy Award for Best Actress.[60][61][62] Variety wrote that "Bullock inhabits the role with grave dignity and hints at Stone's past scars with sensitivity and tact, and she holds the screen effortlessly once Gravity becomes a veritable one-woman show... the actress remains fully present emotionally, projecting a very appealing combo of vulnerability, intelligence and determination that not only wins us over immediately, but sustains attention all the way through the cathartic closing reels."[63] As of February 25, 2014, Gravity, took in $715 million at the box office worldwide, making it Bullock's most successful picture to date.[8] For her role as Dr. Ryan Stone, Bullock was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress.

Public image[edit]

Sandra Bullock's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

By 2009, Bullock's films had grossed over $3.1 billion worldwide.[64] According to The Numbers, her total domestic gross stands at $1.7 billion, placing her among the Top 100 Stars at the Box Office.[65]

Since her debut as an actress, Bullock has been dubbed in the media as "America’s sweetheart," due to her nature which has been described as "friendly and direct and so unpretentious."[66]

On March 24 2005, Bullock received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.[29]

Whereas critics praised her screen persona,[67] some have been less receptive towards her films. At the 2009 release of The Proposal, Mark Kermode said she has made only three "good" films in her career—Speed, While You Were Sleeping, and Crash, and says "she's funny, she's gorgeous, it's impossible not to love her and yet she makes rotten film after rotten film after rotten film."[68] As of December 2009, Bullock has appeared on three Entertainment Weekly covers.

She was selected by People magazine as its "Woman of the Year" for 2010[69] and ranked #12 on People's Most Beautiful 2011 list.[70] In 2010, Time magazine included Bullock in its annual TIME 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World."[71]

In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter named Bullock among the most powerful women in entertainment.[72] Bullock joined Hollywood legends at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard by attaching her hand and footprints in cement in the forecourt of the theater in September 2013.[73] In November 2013 it was announced that Bullock won Entertainment Weekly's "Entertainer of the Year," mostly due to the success of her roles in The Heat and Gravity, which Entertainment Weekly believed would earn her an Oscar nomination. Bullock shares the Entertainment Weekly "Entertainer of the Year" title with other distinguished people in the industry such as the 'masterminds' behind the television show Breaking Bad, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, "Grumpy Cat," among several others.[74]

In 2014, Bullock ranked No. 2 on Forbes's most powerful actresses[75] and was honored with the Decade of Hotness Award by Spike Guys' Choice Awards.[76]

Business ventures[edit]

Bullock runs her own production company, Fortis Films. Bullock was an executive producer of the George Lopez sitcom, which garnered a lucrative syndication deal that banked her some $10 million (co-produced with Robert Borden).[77] Bullock tried to produce a film based on F.X. Toole's short story, Million-Dollar Baby, but could not interest the studios in a female boxing drama. The story was eventually adapted and directed by Clint Eastwood as the Oscar-winning film, Million Dollar Baby (2004).[78] Fortis Films also produced All About Steve which was released in September 2009. Her father, John Bullock, is the company's CEO,[79] and her sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado, is the former president.

In November 2006 Bullock founded an Austin, Texas restaurant, Bess Bistro, located on West 6th Street.[80] She later opened another business, Walton's Fancy and Staple, across the street in a building she extensively renovated. Walton's is a bakery, upscale restaurant and floral shop that also offers services including event planning.[81]

Personal life[edit]

Relationships[edit]

Bullock was once engaged to actor Tate Donovan, whom she met while filming Love Potion No. 9; their relationship lasted three years.[82] She previously dated football player Troy Aikman, and actors Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Gosling.[83][84]

Bullock married motorcycle builder and Monster Garage host Jesse James on July 16, 2005. They first met when Bullock arranged for her ten-year-old godson to meet James as a Christmas present. In November 2009, Bullock and James entered into a custody battle with James' second ex-wife, former pornographic actress Janine Lindemulder, with whom James had a child. Bullock and James subsequently won full legal custody of James' five-year-old daughter.[85]

In March 2010, a scandal arose when several women claimed to have had affairs with James during his marriage to Bullock.[86][87][88] Bullock cancelled European promotional appearances for The Blind Side citing "unforeseen personal reasons."[89][90] On March 18, 2010, James responded to the rumors of infidelity by issuing a public apology to Bullock. He stated, "The vast majority of the allegations reported are untrue and unfounded" and "Beyond that, I will not dignify these private matters with any further public comment."[91] James declared that "There is only one person to blame for this whole situation, and that is me", and asked that his wife and children one day "find it in their hearts to forgive me" for their current "pain and embarrassment."[91] James' publicist subsequently announced on March 30, 2010, that James had checked into a rehab facility "to deal with personal issues" and "save his marriage" to Bullock.[92] However on April 28, 2010, it was reported that Bullock had filed for divorce[93] on April 23 in Austin.[94] Their divorce was finalized on June 28, 2010, with "conflict of personalities" cited as the reason.[95]

Children[edit]

Bullock at the premiere of The Proposal in 2009

Bullock announced on April 28, 2010, that she had proceeded with plans to adopt a son born in January 2010 in New Orleans.[96] Bullock and James had begun an initial adoption process four months earlier. Bullock's son began living with them in January 2010, but they chose to keep the news private until after the Oscars in March 2010. However, given the couple's separation and then divorce, Bullock continued the adoption of her son Louis Bardo Bullock, as a single parent.[96]

Vehicular accidents[edit]

On December 20, 2000, Bullock, another passenger, and the two crew survived the crash of a chartered business jet during an attempted night landing at Jackson Hole Airport. The pilots were unable to activate the runway lights due to having out-of-date approach plates, but continued the landing. The aircraft landed in the airport's graded safety area between the runway and parallel taxiway and hit a snowbank. The accident caused a separation of the nose cone and landing gear, partial separation of the right wing, and a bend in the left wing.[97]

On April 18, 2008, while Bullock was in Massachusetts shooting the film The Proposal, she and her husband were in an SUV that was hit head-on (driver's side offset) at moderate speed by a drunken driver. Vehicle damage was not major and there were no injuries.[98]

Legal matters[edit]

In October 2004, Bullock won a multimillion-dollar judgment against Benny Daneshjou, the builder of her Lake Austin, Texas home; the jury ruled the house was uninhabitable. It has since been torn down and rebuilt.[99]

On April 22, 2007, Marcia Diana Valentine was found lying outside James and Bullock's Southern California home in Orange County. When James confronted the woman, she ran to her car, got behind the wheel, and tried to run over James. The woman is said to be an obsessed fan of Sandra Bullock.[100] The woman was charged with one felony count each of aggravated assault and stalking. Bullock[101] obtained a restraining order to bar Valentine from "contacting or coming near her home, family or work for three years."[102] Valentine pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and stalking.[103] Valentine was subsequently convicted of stalking and was sentenced to three years of probation.[104]

Bullock was also stalked by Thomas James Weldon, commencing in 2002, across several states. In 2003, Bullock obtained a restraining order against Weldon, which was renewed again in 2006. After the renewed restraining order expired, and Weldon was released from a mental institution, he again traveled across several states to find Bullock, and she then obtained another restraining order.[105]

On June 8, 2014, Joshua Corbett broke into Bullock's house. He was charged with robbery. The next day, police found evidence of him stalking her prior to breaking in. He may have been keeping a diary about her, and may have gone through her personal belongings just minutes before the police arrived.[106]

Philanthropy[edit]

Bullock has been a public supporter of the American Red Cross, having donated $1 million to the organization at least four times. Her first public donation of that amount was to the Red Cross's Liberty Disaster Relief Fund. Three years later, she sent money in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis.[107] In 2010, she donated $1 million to relief efforts in Haiti following the Haiti earthquake, and again donated the same amount following the 2011 Japan Earthquake.[108]

Along with other stars, Bullock did a public service announcement urging people to sign a petition for clean-up efforts of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.[109] Bullock backs the Texas non-profit organization The Kindred Life Foundation, Inc. In late 2008, she joined other top celebrities in supporting the work of CEO and Founder Amos Ramirez. She shared this at a gala that raised money for the organization, "Amos has led many efforts across our nation that have helped families that are in need. Our country needs more organizations that are committed to the service that Kindred Life is."[110]

In 2012, Bullock was inducted into the Warren Easton Hall of Fame for her donations to charities and in 2013 was honored with the Favorite Humanitarian Award at the 2013 People's Choice Awards for her contributions to New Orleans Warren Easton Charter High School, which was severely damaged after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.[111][112]

Filmography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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