Thousands of immigrants uproot themselves every year in hopes of finding a better life with more opportunities in a new land. These are nine celebrity immigrants who left their native countries with dreams of gaining fame, fortune and success in Hollywood and beyond. All of the stars on this list have surpassed their greatest expectations.
1. Natalie Portman, Israel
Actress Natalie Portman was born an only child to a homemaker and gynecologist in Jerusalem. Her family relocated to the U.S. in 1984, when she was just three years old. They first lived in Washington, D.C. before settling in Connecticut. Portman, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, has said that although she “really loves the States…my heart’s in Jerusalem. That’s where I feel at home.” Portman is not only a successful actress appearing in films like Star Wars, V for Vendetta, Black Swan and Thor, she’s also an accomplished scholar. Portman graduated from Harvard University with an degree in psychology in 2003, and went on to graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the spring of 2004. She also gave guest lectures at Columbia University and co-authored two scientific research journals. Portman is currently married to French ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied and they have one son together.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria in 1947, is one of the most successful immigrants to America. He began weight training at age 15 and relocated to the U.S. in his 20s after winning the body-building title Mr. Universe. Schwarzenegger said, “The Mr. Universe title was my ticket to America – the land of opportunity, where I could become a star and get rich.” After taking English classes at Santa Monica College in California, he earned a BA by correspondence from the University of Wisconsin–Superior, where he graduated with a degree in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979. He began acting, but admits his early roles were limited because of his muscular appearance and strong Austrian accent. However, Arnold’s breakout role came in 1982 when he appeared in Conan the Barbarian, and the film became a box-office hit. Then in 1984, Schwarzenegger was cast in what’s widely considered his signature role, the Terminator trilogy. He starred in a number of action movies throughout the next two decades including Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall and Junior. Schwarzenegger took a break from acting when he was elected 38th governor of California in 2003. He was re-elected in 2006 and served until 2011. Next up, Arnold will appear as host of The Celebrity Apprentice.
More in Celebrity
15 Reasons Meghan Markle’s Transition Into the Royal Family Will Be No Fairy Tale
On May 18, New England royal and former actor Meghan Markle will achieve the pipe dream of a whole host of...April 16, 2018
14 Celebrities with Surprising Hidden Skills and Talents
We might think of celebrities as people who thrive on a single God-given talent, but the stars we know and love...April 9, 2018
10 Film Directors Who Couldn’t Resist Their Leading Ladies
Since the golden age of Hollywood, film directors have worked diligently to earn a reputation for snapping up (or being snapped...March 28, 2018
10 of the Most Ridiculous Christmas Presents Celebrities Give Each Other
It’s hard to find the perfect gift, but can you imagine how hard it must be to find a special present...December 1, 2017
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Notorious Criminal Charles Manson
On Sunday, November 19, Charles Manson died of natural causes inside a Bakersfield hospital. He was 83. The undeniably disturbed man...November 29, 2017
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kevin Spacey
After the Harvey Weinstein scandal sent Hollywood into a tailspin, actor Kevin Spacey was one of the many high-profile men who...November 7, 2017