- RatedPG /GenreMystery, Science Fiction
George Clooney, Hollywood's one-time eternal bachelor (but finally married September 2014), is known for once having a potbellied pig as a pet (RIP, Max).
He is also a humanitarian, an accomplished actor, movie director and producer.
It would seem that Clooney's classic Hollywood leading-man looks and demeanour had to come from somewhere, and it did: his mum Nina Bruce was a former beauty pageant queen and his dad, Nick, was a television anchor and game-show host. Hanging around the studios while his father worked, Clooney was an active participant on the shows and became a fan favourite, something he would soon be very comfortable being.
After dropping out of a couple of universities, he worked on some odd jobs, including selling suits and cutting tobacco before trying his luck at showbiz. We take a look at some of his past roles.
1. Doctor Doug Ross ('ER', 1994-1999)
Clooney got his big break on NBC's (new at that time) doctor drama, 'ER', playing the compassionate but brash Doctor Doug Ross.
The drama opened up many doors for him, leading to many offers from Hollywood and his eventual departure from the show after season five.
2. Seth Gecko ('From Dusk till Dawn', 1997)
His first Hollywood role came in the form of all-round baddie Seth Gecko in the Robert Rodriguez-directed 'From Dusk till Dawn'. As a bank robber wanted by the FBI and the local Texas police, Clooney is in rare form in one of his most unique roles to date, in a film that degenerates into a vampire movie. It also holds one of cinema's most kicking opening scenes ever, which you can see in the clip above.
3. Major Archie Gates ('Three Kings', 1999)
In 'Three Kings', Clooney plays a soon-to-retire Special Forces officer who leads his men to steal some Iraqi gold during the first Gulf War, while under the cover of a cease-fire between both sides. Things go horribly wrong when the Iraqi Republican Guard arrives at the scene, prompting them to abandon their plans.
This role is notable because Clooney campaigned for it, determined to star in the show helmed by one of the world's most eccentric directors in the world, David O Russell. The whole film was shot using experimental techniques, such as using non-actors and handheld camera shots to replicate a journalistic vibe.
Quite famously, Russell rejected Clooney at least three times, first being unwilling to cast him, then being unconvinced even after Clooney sent a self-deprecating letter to Russell and personally heading down to his apartment for a reading of the script. The director gave in after Nicholas Cage turned down the role due to a scheduling conflict. Looks like everything worked out, because 'Three Kings' is one of the most surreal movies ever, a gold heist movie relying heavily on a huge mix of satire and drama set amid the first Iraqi War.
4. Bob Barnes ('Syriana', 2005)
Produced by Clooney himself, 'Syriana' is a loose retelling of real-life CIA officer Robert Baer's memoir, 'See No Evil'. The political thriller has multiple story threads, one involving Clooney's CIA operations officer character on assignment to stop Middle Eastern illegal arms trafficking as he unearths a missile theft conspiracy. You would surely know by now that good things don't happen for anyone uncovering any conspiracy.
The role earned Clooney both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
5. Ryan Bingham ('Up in the Air', 2009)
In one of our favourite movies dealing with the human condition ever, Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man so detached from people and relationships that his hobby is collecting frequent flyer miles, to the point where he is about to reach a million.
He plays his cards perfectly as the fast-talking, smooth and suave jetsetter, charming to a point where he almost convinces you, the viewer, that his way of living is far superior to yours, and he will never be bogged down by relationship problems.
Things take a few turns and he is dealt a few emotional blows and then some. It's one of the most bittersweet roles and movies we’ve seen on screen ever.