George Clooney PROFILE
George Clooney emerged during the mid-to-late-1990s as one of the most rapidly-ascending stars of the small and large screens. Although his rise to big screen stardom following his success on the wildly popular TV medical drama E.R. may at first glance seem meteoric, a closer look at Clooney's career reveals that he has more than paid his dues, having spent over a decade mired in relative obscurity as a contract player for Warner Brothers television.
The son of broadcast journalist Nick Clooney and the nephew of famed singer Rosemary Clooney, Clooney was born May 6, 1961 in Lexington, Kentucky . He made his first television appearance at age five on his father's talk show, The Nick Clooney Show. He did not show up again on television until he was in his early twenties; growing up, Clooney had a passion for baseball, and only turned to acting after a failed tryout with the Cincinnati Reds. He started out in television commercials and then signed with Warner Brothers. Though he essentially remained unknown throughout the '80s and early '90s, Clooney had a steady career as a supporting actor. He appeared in fifteen failed television pilots and was a semi-regular on several series, including sitcoms like The Facts of Life and Roseanne, and the weekly drama Sisters. When the 1990's medical drama E.R. became a smash hit, Clooney became particularly popular, owing somewhat to his appeal to young women. This appeal increased as his character--initially something of a callous womaniser--matured with the show, eventually evolving into a thoroughly decent, if somewhat hot-headed, human being.
Up until E.R., Clooney had played only occasional roles in feature films (he made his debut with a small role in the 1986 Combat High), and had starred in a couple of low-budget videos. Following E.R.'s success, however, Clooney found himself besieged by scripts and movie offers. For his first big-budget project, he chose to play an action hero in the Quentin Tarantino-written and produced schlock extravaganza From Dusk Till Dawn. After that, he appeared in the romantic comedy One Fine Day opposite Michelle Pfeiffer. For Clooney, 1997 proved to be a good year, as he appeared in three major films, the most hyped of which was Batman & Robin, with the actor replacing Val Kilmer as the mysterious Dark Knight. Though the film is widely considered the worst of the big screen Batman series, Clooney did receive some praise for bringing an extra sensitivity to his interpretation of Batman. He received greater praise the following year with roles in two wildly divergent films: Out of Sight, in which he played a suave bank robber, and Terrence Malick's adaptation of The Thin Red Line. In 1999--following his much-talked-about departure from E.R.--he continued to work on a number of high-profile projects, first lending his voice to the animated South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and then starring alongside Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube as an American soldier reclaiming Kuwaiti treasure from Saddam Hussein in David O. Russell's Three Kings.