success story, but before he played the original "Dr. McDreamy" as womanizing Dr. Doug Ross on "ER," George Clooney lived in a friend's closet and had to borrow $200 for his first headshots. Long before that, when Clooney was just 16, the Cincinnati Reds rejected him for a spot on the team. So before you resent him—perhaps for the way this 1997 Sexiest Man Alive title holder makes your girlfriend swoon—read the Clooney biography and be grateful he made it in Hollywood instead of baseball, because things could be worse.
With his liberal politics and showbusiness family, George Clooney seems like a true California native, but his biography actually begins in Lexingon, Kentucky. Born in May 1961, Clooney got an early introduction to the television business as the son of local television news anchor and talk show host, Nick Clooney. His aunt was none other than Rosemary Clooney, a singer and actress that dazzled audiences co-starring with Bing Crosby in "White Christmas."
At the tender age of five Clooney played sketch characters on his father's talk show. You might cry foul because the biggest showbiz opportunity you had, at age five, a supporting role in your kindergarten holiday recital, but Clooney didn't exploit his early forays into TV. At sixteen he attempted a feat dreamed of by little boys all across America—making it into Major League Baseball. Too bad for Clooney, his dream of playing with the Cincinnati Reds proved as ill fated as his later turn in "Batman." If your girlfriend drools over Clooney now, imagine how she would react to him in a baseball uniform.
Clooney later enrolled in college but confesses he mostly chased girls and got high. That is not to say he lacked a good work ethic, cutting tobacco to save money. Even if college never paid off, that work ethic did. After playing a small role in a feature film, he packed up his belongings and moved to Los Angeles in 1982.
You might think Clooney had it easy with all the show business connections and savvy in his family, but he paid his dues like any starry-eyed kid from the Midwest, crashing in a friend's place and bicycling to auditions. In 1984, he landed a part on the short-lived television series "E/R," an interesting twist, given his runaway success a decade later in the series, "ER." He even appeared as handyman George Burnett on "The Facts of Life," where he flirted with Jo and Blair. Admit it, you were jealous.
But it was his breakout role on "ER" as womanizing Dr. Doug Ross that won Clooney fame—the perfect role for the reputed playboy who refuses to settle down and even wagered (and won) a $10,000 bet with Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer that he would not have children by age 40. Although married and divorced once, Clooney has sworn off marriage, which of course only makes your girlfriend fantasize about taming his wild heart, which is why she loves his bad-boy criminal roles, too, in movies ranging from "From Dusk Till Dawn," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Ocean's Eleven." His charm shines through even under the most villainous smile, making her swoon and you groan.
His father's newscaster career explains his passion to freedom of the press, as reflected in his writing and directorial debut "Good Night and Good Luck," which showcased his talents as a writer and earned him a 2006 Oscar nomination for Best Writing and Best Director (during the same year he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Off screen, Clooney has proven his commitment to philanthropic causes, even contracting malaria on a 2011 trip to Sudan.
If George Clooney's biography doesn't make you a fan, it should at least bring you comfort that, hey, he isn't crouching on a baseball diamond in tight white pants.