A versatile actress who has scored Oscar nominations for 'The Hours' and 'Far From Heaven', she has excelled in blockbusters, comedy and serious drama.
The award-winning actress Julianne Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1960. She was born into a military family; her father Peter worked as a judge in the US Army's Judge Advocate General Corps. Her mother, who was called Ann, was a Scottish-born psychiatric social worker. Peter Smith's work as an army judge meant that the family moved around a great deal whilst young Moore was growing up, living in army bases as far-flung as Alabama, New Jersey, Nebraska, Juneau in Alaska, Panama and Germany - around two dozen locations, all told.
But this peripatetic upbringing doesn't appear to have affected Moore adversely, since she happily describes herself as a "proud army brat". Moore has a younger sister, Valerie, and a brother called Peter Moore Smith III, who is a novelist by profession. Moore grew up in an atmosphere of intellectual and emotional enquiry, as her parents would both discuss their various cases at the dinner table. She graduated from Frankfurt High School in Frankfurt, Germany in 1979, and was initially encouraged to take up acting by her English teacher at school.
Her parents weren't keen on her choice of career, as they'd both hoped she'd opt for something more stable - but her mind was made up. As a compromise solution, she attended the College of Fine Arts in Boston, where she majored in drama, thereby combining her acting training with an academic degree. After she'd been awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Moore moved to New York to pursue her dreams of acting. But when she tried to register with the Actors Guild, she was dismayed to discover that she couldn't use her own name, since there was already another actress called Julie Smith. So she tagged on her mother's Christian name Ann to her own name, and took her father's middle name as a surname, thus arriving at her stage name - Julianne Moore.
At the start of her career, Moore focused on stage acting, and soon found work in off-Broadway productions, such as 'Serious Money' and 'Ice Cream With Hot Fudge'. She then moved into television acting, and found work in popular soap operas, such as 'As The World Turns', a daytime show that had been broadcast since 1956. Moore's performance in this TV production resulted in her first award, an Emmy for Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series in 1988. However, Moore was enjoying mixed fortunes in her personal life. Her first marriage, to Sundar Chakravarthy ended in 1985, but she found love again around this time. She married fellow actor John Gould Rubin in 1986 and this second marriage lasted until the couple divorced in 1995.
Moore was keen to break into movie acting, but the only parts she could garner at first were in horror movies, or sci-fi pictures, such as the movie version of 'Tales From The Darkside'. But when she finally succeeded in landing the more substantial role of Marlene Craven, the savvy realtor in 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle', her career finally began to take off. She began receiving better and better roles as time went by; she was given a small, but important role alongside Harrison Ford in 'The Fugitive', which brought her talents to the attention of Steven Spielberg.
This was a contact that would stand her in very good stead in the future; Spielberg was so impressed with Moore's performance in 'The Fugitive' that he subsequently cast her as Dr Sarah Harding, Jeff Goldblum's paleontologist girlfriend in 'Jurassic Park 2' (1997). Before this breakthrough role, however, Moore performed in a string of memorable movies. She played Willem Dafoe's wife in the film 'Body of Evidence' and went on to appear in Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts', where she grabbed the media headlines by appearing naked from the waist down!
She also played Aidan Quinn's waitress girlfriend alongside Johnny Depp in the comedy drama, 'Benny and Joon'; she then appeared in Louis Malle's film of an uninterrupted rehearsal of Chekhov's classic play, 'Uncle Vanya, Vanya on 42nd Street', followed up by a role in Paul Thomas Anderson's movie, 'Boogie Nights' (1997). Here, Moore played the part of Amber Waves, a porn star who acts as a surprisingly tender "mother figure". Her work in this movie attracted widespread critical acclaim, and earned her both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.
Moore then began to take on more challenging and complex roles that illustrated the full emotional power and range of her dramatic talents. She won rave reviews for her role in 'Safe', where she played Carol White, an LA housewife, who suddenly loses her immunity. Next came three high-profile roles: she played Hugh Grant's pregnant girlfriend in the movie 'Nine Months', followed by that of a computer hacker in 'Assassins', where she co-starred with Antonio Banderas and Sylvester Stallone - and finally, she played the part of Dora Maar, Picasso's girlfriend in the movie, 'Surviving Picasso'; the role of Picasso himself was played by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Her next movie, an art house production entitled 'The Myth of Fingerprints', proved to be a real turning point in more ways than one.
At this juncture in her life, Moore's personal life wasn't going quite as well as her career. Her marriage to John Gould Rubin had collapsed, and she'd subsequently had a series of unsuccessful romances. She went to meet the 'Myth of Fingerprints' director, Bart Freundlich, who'd insisted that she take the part, and asked in no uncertain terms why he wanted her in his movie!
Being somewhat younger than Moore (Bart was only 26, she was 35), the young director felt somewhat intimidated by her style, but he stuck to his guns and insisted that she was perfect for the role. Although she'd been quite reluctant to accept the movie offer, by the end of the first week of shooting, Moore suddenly realised that she was falling in love with Freundlich. Ignoring the advice of her close friend Ellen Barkin, who advised her to "back off", Moore made her feelings known to the young director and she and Bart soon became a couple.
Moore's emotional instincts were clearly correct, since her relationship with Bart survived and thrived. They married in August 2003 and now have two children - a boy called Caleb, born in 1997, and a girl called Liv Helen, born in 2002. Happily, Moore's greatest screen successes were still to come. In 1998, she played the part of Maud Lebowski, the wacky heiress artist, alongside Jeff Bridges in 'The Big Lebowski', directed by Joel and Ethan Coen; this movie has since become a cult classic. In 2001, Moore beat off all comers to land the plum role of Clarice in 'Hannibal'; in order to prepare for the role, she spent days training with the FBI, who taught her how to handle guns and handcuff suspects correctly.
Then came one of her most substantial roles to date in a movie called 'Far From Heaven'. Here, she played the wife of Dennis Quaid, who seems to have the perfect lifestyle in 1950s suburban America. But her husband turns out to be a closet homosexual, and Moore falls desperately in love with her black gardener - a passion that is never consummated, but nevertheless destroys her reputation. Her performance was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and reinforced her growing status as a serious actress who is willing to take real risks on screen.
Moore moved on to 'The Hours', where she played Cathy Whitaker, a suicidal 1950s wife, drowning in silent despair. Her brilliant performance in this movie earned her a second Oscar nomination for Best Actress, narrowly losing gold to her co-star Nicole Kidman. This meant that Moore joined a select elite of only ten actors who have been nominated twice in the same year. After a brief foray into romantic comedy in 'Laws of Attraction', in which she co-starred with Pierce Brosnan, Moore returned to serious drama with a movie called 'The Forgotten', a spine-tingling thriller. This film became a surprise box office sensation, opening at number one in the movie charts, and earning back nearly twice its original budget.
Other successful movies after 2000 include 'The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio', 'The Shipping News', with Kevin Spacey; 'Trust The Man' (directed by her husband Bart Freundlich), and then 'Savage Grace', 'Freedomland', 'Children of Men' and 'Next'. Moore also returned briefly to stage acting in 2006, when she made her long-awaited Broadway debut at The Music Box in a play called 'The Vertical Hour', written by David Hare and directed by Sam Mendes. She played the part of a Yale professor whose life is changed forever when she meets a stranger - played by Bill Nighy.
The next year saw her appear in 'I'm Not There', which was followed by 'Savage Grace' and 'Blindness'. An adaptation of a 1995 novel, the latter film earned her nominations for a Saturn Award a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. Greater recognition came following her role in Tom Ford's 2009 debut film 'A Single Man', which landed her a Hollywood Film Festival award and a Golden Globe Award nomination. The movie also starred British actor Colin Firth, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of a depressed gay university professor.
Her award-winning performance in the movie nearly overshadowed the fact that she had also starred in several releases in the same year, including 'The Private Lives of Pippa Lee', 'Chloe' and several episodes of NBC television series '30 Rock'. Moore went on to achieve greater success with 2010 movie 'The Kids Are All Right', which received four Academy Award nominations and featured Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo. As well as being rewarded with a Comedy Film Award for Best Actress, she was nominated for a number of accolades, including a Bafta, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Satellite Award.
In 2011, she appeared in the comedy 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' with Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling, which was a commercial success and received favourable reviews. She also portrayed former vice-president candidate Sarah Palin in the TV movie by HBO called 'Game Change' in the same year.
In 2012 she starred in 'What Maisie Knew' about a young girl caught up in her parents bitter divorce and in 2013 'The English Teacher' about a teacher whose life is disrupted when a former student returns after failing as a playwright, in 2012. In 2015, she appeared in the fantasy film 'The Seventh Son' based on the book series 'The Wardstone Chronicles'. Jeff Bridges also stars. Moore played the most dangerous 1700s witch Mother Malkin.
Off-screen, Moore is active in various political and social causes that are close to her own heart and values. She is a pro-choice campaigner and has categorically stated that she wouldn't even consider voting for a president who held anti-abortionist views.
Along with Salma Hayek, she co-hosted the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize concert, and in 2006, she was honoured for her contributions to the field of tuberous sclerosis: earlier, she'd founded the Julianne Moore Research Fund For A Cure.
She also branched out into writing children's books in 2007, when she made her literary debut with 'Freckleface Strawberry' based on her experiences as a child. This was followed by 'Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully' in April 2009.
Moore and Freundlich and their children now live in New York, in a luxurious duplex penthouse in Greenwich Village. Since she has now been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress no less than four times, it's safe to speculate that we'll be seeing her finally win that coveted Award sometime soon.