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Julia Roberts to Be Honored by the Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 16, 2022 22:15

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The star of Pretty Woman and Erin Brockovich will be recognized for her contributions to the arts at the 2nd annual Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures Gala on October 15. Actors Tilda Swinton, Miky Lee, and director Steve McQueen will also be honored.

Julia Roberts is a cultural icon. The 'Pretty Woman' has been entertaining international audiences and gracing the screen for over thirty years (yes, hard to believe). The statuesque 54-year-old actress began her career on television in 1987 with a guest appearance on Crime Story. From that first gig, her career exploded--with an Academy Award-nominated performance in Steel Magnolias in 1989 to lead roles in the unforgettable Pretty Woman in 1990, and her Academy Award-winning interpretation of activist Erin Brockovich (2001)--not bad for a smalltown girl from Smyrna, Georgia. She also starred in The Pelican Brief, Notting Hill, Oceans Eleven, and Oceans Twelve, among many roles

Roberts was exposed to acting early on. Her parents were both thespians who had a workshop for aspiring actors and writers until 1971, when they divorced. The actress moved to New York City right after high school to pursue her dream of acting. She lived with her brother, the actor Eric Roberts, and sister Lisa. Right after her first on-screen TV role, she played a small part as a sympathetic waitress in Mystic Pizza which garnered attention from casting people. As much as I enjoyed Pretty Woman, not all female sex workers share the positive experience Roberts' character had. But I can't criticize Roberts for accepting the life-changing role.

What is about Roberts that makes her so successful? She is a charismatic woman with a radiant smile which the camera seems to love. Her friend George Clooney says he attributes Robert's appeal, whom he terms as a "great, great, friend," to her beauty that comes from within as well. People magazine graced its covers with Roberts, who they named 'the world's most beautiful woman' five times. The star lives at her New Mexico ranch with her husband, cinematographer Danny Moder and her three children.

Notably, Roberts was the first female actor to command $20 million for her role in Erin Brockovich. Before 2020, women were paid considerably less for film work. The gender gap for pay in Hollywood exceeds other industries. A 2020 survey from the Pew Research Center revealed that US women earn 83 percent of their male counterparts' earnings. In 2017, Forbes magazine showed an average salary of $57.4 million for men versus $21.8 million for women. Roberts trailblazed equal pay for film actors. 

I am glad Roberts is returning to the big screen this October with George Clooney in "Ticket to Ride," a romantic comedy that pairs them as a divorced couple trying to stop their daughter from having a quickie marriage in Bali. Roberts should team up again with Richard Gere, her costar in Pretty Woman who she has not worked with since Runaway Bride (1999).

To support the 'six degrees of separation' theory, my family has a connection with Julia Roberts. I am proud that Harris's Arcade, my grandmother and uncle's antique shop in London, was a backdrop for scenes in Notting Hill. A home copy preserves my warm memories. 

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 16, 2022 22:15

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