Real name: Alicia Christian Foster
Birthdate: November 19, 1962
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Alicia Christian Foster (born November 19, 1962), better known as Jodie Foster, is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, director, and producer. She has also won two Golden Globes, 3 BAFTA awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Foster was born to Lucius Foster III and Evelyn 'Brandy' (née Almond) Foster in Los Angeles, California. Her father, an Air Force colonel turned real estate broker, came from a wealthy background and left Foster's family a few months before she was born. Foster's mother supported the family by working as a film producer. She sent her daughter to an exclusive French-speaking prep school, the Lycée Français de Los Angeles, from which Foster graduated valedictorian before going to Yale University where she earned a B.A. in literature and graduated magna cum laude in 1985. While at Yale, Foster, like fellow 1985 Yale graduate Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame, led a fairly normal life, considering her celebrity status. She would often spend time with friends at the local dive bar Anchor, and she occasionally partied in the haunts of one of the secret societies, the Manuscript Society (a scene recounting such an event is noted in Tom Perrotta's novel Joe College).
At age fourteen, Foster was nominated for the Academy Award For Best Supporting Actress for her role as a pre-teen prostitute in Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver opposite Robert De Niro. De Niro's character, the psychotic Travis Bickle, intends to "save" her from life on the streets. When that does not succeed, he tries to assassinate a presidential candidate. After this fails, he shoots Iris' pimp, played by Harvey Keitel.
She made her directorial debut in 1991 with Little Man Tate, a critically acclaimed drama about a child prodigy, in which she also co-starred as the child's mother. She also directed Home For The Holidays (1995), a black comedy starring Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr.. In 1992, Foster founded a production company called Egg Pictures in Los Angeles. It primarily produced independent films until it was closed in 2001. Foster said that she did not have the ambition to produce "big mainstream popcorn" movies, and as a child, independent films made her more interested in the movie business than mainstream ones. She began working as a producer in 1994 with the acclaimed Nell, the story of a young woman raised in an isolated place who has to return to civilization. She later commented that it was difficult being an actress and a producer for Nell.
At the 2007 Academy Awards, she referred to the death of Randy Stone two weeks prior and called him her best friend. She enjoys physical activity while making movies. She commented that doing nude scenes is "a little scary."
She gave the Class of 2006 University of Pennsylvania commencement address on May 15, 2006, the university's 250th commencement. The university also conferred on her the Doctor of Arts (honoris causa) degree for her lifelong achievement and contribution to film in both acting and directing. Her commencement address is available in Webcast (jump to 1:44:08) and MP3 format.