Happy birthday, George Clooney! The TV-turned-movie star turns 60 on May 6, 2021, and to celebrate, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at his fascinating life and career in photos. Keep reading to take a trip down memory lane…
George Clooney was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 6, 1961, to beauty queen Nina Warren and broadcast journalist and TV host Nick Clooney, joining big sister Adelia. He already had strong ties to Hollywood — famed singer-actress Rosemary Clooney was his aunt — and by the late '70s, he was off to make a name for himself, though he did attend college (two, in fact — Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati — but he didn't graduate). After a few bit parts, he got his big break in 1985 when he landed the role of George the handyman on "The Facts of Life" (seen here). He was a fixture on the popular series for two years.
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His first public relationship! In 1987 — shortly after he started making a name for himself in Hollywood — George Clooney dated actress Kelly Preston.
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After acting on "The Facts of Life," George Clooney spent 1987 popping up on other TV shows. He appeared on single episodes of "Hunter," "Murder, She Wrote" and "The Golden Girls" (seen here).
It's over! By 1989, George Clooney and Kelly Preston (seen here at the "Working Girl" movie premiere in December 1988) were dunzo — and George was left with quite an interesting parting gift: a pig! During their romance, George bought Kelly a pot-bellied pig named Max that he kept after they split. Max lived a long life — 19 years — at George's Hollywood Hills home, dying of natural causes in 2006.
In 1989, George Clooney not only had a new girlfriend — he had a wife. He married actress Talia Balsam the same year he split from Kelly Preston.
Long-haired George! George Clooney sported a much longer hairstyle in 1990 while promoting his film "Red Surf."
In 1992, George Clooney starred on the CBS series "Bodies of Evidence," which ended in 1993 after just one season. Another thing that ended in 1993? George Clooney's marriage to actress Talia Balsam, who went on to marry actor John Slattery in 1998 and star alongside him on "Mad Men" as his on-screen wife.
In 1994, George Clooney landed his biggest role yet — Dr. Doug Ross on "ER." The NBC medical drama turned him into a household name and earned him two Primetime Emmy nominations and three Golden Globe nominations during his five-year run.
A bona fide movie star! While working on "ER," George Clooney landed some huge movies including his first major Hollywood film, "From Dusk till Dawn." Robert Rodriguez directed the 1995 horror-comedy and Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Keitel co-starred in the hit flick.
George Clooney followed up his action film with a romantic comedy, "One Fine Day." The 1996 movie, in which he starred alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, solidified his heartthrob status.
A new lady in his life! George Clooney started dating Celine Beltrane, a French waitress and law student, after meeting her while filming "The Peacemaker" in France in 1996. They're seen here at a Golden Globe Awards party in 1997. George, who was nominated for his work on "ER" that year, arrived on crutches thanks to a twisted ankle.
George Clooney and his chiseled jaw landed the iconic role of Batman in 1997's "Batman & Robin." Though it wasn't a huge hit critically or commercially, the film still helped amplify his movie star status.
George Clooney is seen here with his famous aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, at a Beverly Hills hotel in October 1998 — just a few years before she died at 74 in 2002. "My aunt Rosemary was a great jazz singer. I asked her, 'Why are you a better singer now when you're 70 years old and you can't hold a note?'" he recalled in an interview with Parade in 2011. "And she goes, 'Because I don't have to prove I can sing anymore. Just serve the music, just serve the material.' I'm leaning toward that [philosophy] more and more — in my career, in life," he added."
Sparks flew on screen when George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez teamed up in the sexy 1998 noir heist movie "Out of Sight." It marked the first of many collaborations between George and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.
George Clooney and Celine Balitran (seen here at the "Out of Sight" premiere in June 1998) ended things in 1999 after three years of dating. The same year their romance fizzled, he left "ER," the television show that made him a superstar, to pursue a film career.
1999 saw George Clooney's "ER" era end and his movie career score a big hit. He starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube in "Three Kings," a dark comedy war film from David O. Russell.
Once George Clooney left "ER," it was smooth sailing on the big screen. He had two hit films in a row in 2000, "The Perfect Storm" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" — the latter of which earned him his very first Golden Globe Award for best actor.
Fresh off a Golden Globe win, George Clooney starred in his biggest role to date — Danny Ocean in the 2001 remake of "Ocean's Eleven," taking on Frank Sinatra's character from the original film. The heist caper was a massive success, earning $451 million worldwide. It soon led to sequels…
By the time "Ocean's Twelve" hit theaters, George Clooney had a new red carpet date. He brought on-off girlfriend Lisa Snowdon, a British model and TV presenter, to the premiere in 2004.
George Clooney brought his parents, Nina and Nick Clooney, to the New York Film Festival premiere of his film "Good Night, and Good Luck" in September 2005.
2005's "Syriana" was George Clooney's next smash hit. His performance in the geopolitical thriller earned him a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for best supporting actor in 2006. That same year at the Oscars, he also was up for best director and best original screenplay for his film "Good Night, and Good Luck."
Despite his busy acting and directing career, George Clooney made time for causes that were important to him. He was very active in bringing attention to the Darfur conflict in 2006 — he's seen here with frequent co-star Don Cheadle at the Save Darfur Coalition Press Conference in New York City that December.
George Clooney left his handprints in cement at the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood in June 2007 as he promoted "Ocean's Thirteen," the the third installment in the heist movie franchise.
After a string of rumored romances, George Clooney started bringing a new girlfriend — Las Vegas cocktail waitress Sarah Larson — to big red carpet events. They're seen here at the "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" premiere in September 2007, the year the started dating.
George Clooney starred in the legal thriller "Michael Clayton" in 2007. His performance earned him nominations at both the Golden Globes and Oscars for best actor.
George Clooney was nominated for his work in "Michael Clayton" at the 2008 Academy Awards and brought girlfriend Sarah Larson as his date on the big night that February. But by May, they'd split.
By 2009, George Clooney was settling into another headline-making relationship, this time with Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis. The pair — seen here at the Venice International Film Festival in September 2009 — dated for two years.
"Up in the Air," a comedy-drama hybrid co-starring Anna Kendrick, earned George Clooney plenty of critical accolades after its 2009 release. The popular film scored him Golden Globe, SAG Award, BAFTA and Oscar nominations the following year.
George Clooney was first spotted with WWE wrestler Stacy Keibler in 2011. They had a pretty high-profile relationship that always commanded attention especially since George — who at that point had developed a reputation as a confirmed bachelor — brought her everywhere.
As one of the biggest movie stars in the world, George Clooney has landed lots of magazine covers during his career. Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world in 2007, 2008 and 2009. George is seen here speaking with Time managing editor Rick Stengel during a "TIME Live 10 Questions With George Clooney" sit-down in 2011. The outlet also branded George the "last movie star" two years prior. He also covered People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue twice, in 1997 and 2006.
Another Golden Globe! George Clooney scored his third Golden Globe statue in 2012, picking it up for his acclaimed performance in the 2011 film "The Descendants." Girlfriend Stacy Keibler was on hand for his big win.
2012 saw George Clooney win big for his behind-the-scenes work on another critically acclaimed film — "Argo." George and Ben Affleck produced the hit — which Ben also directed and starred in — which earned them best picture statues at the 2013 Academy Awards.
A new flame! And this one was different from all the others. George Clooney met British human rights attorney Amal Alamuddin in July 2013 when a mutual pal brought her along to a dinner party he was hosting at his summer home in Italy. "We met in Lake Como. She was a friend of a friend who came to visit and then I chased her for many months, calling and writing, those kinds of things," George told David Letterman in 2015. They fell deeply in love and he proposed less than a year later in April 2014. They're seen here at an event in Florence, Italy in 2014.
In September 2014, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin got married, exchanging vows in front of celebrity friends and family in Venice, Italy. The newlyweds — the bride changed her name to Amal Clooney — are seen here on Venice's Grand Canal during their wedding trip.
George Clooney is seen here with big sister Adelia Zeidler, father Nick Clooney and father-in-law Ramzi Alamuddin on a boat in Venice, Italy, in September 2014 as they made their way to a hotel on George's wedding day.
In 2015, George Clooney was on hand for the Golden Globes, and this time he was there to receive a very prestigious honor. He was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award to mark his successful career as an actor, writer, director, producer and humanitarian over the years.
Babies on board! In February 2017, it was revealed that Amal Clooney and George Clooney were expecting twins later that year. They're seen here at an event hosted by their Clooney Foundation for Justice a month before the exciting baby news broke.
Not long after George Clooney and wife Amal Clooney welcomed twins Alexander (who's his dad's mini-me!) and Ella — seen here in their mom's arms in New York City in December 2018 — George opened up about his hopes and dreams for his children. "The first thing you think is, 'I hope I don't screw this up.' I mean, look, we are all responsible for things in life, and Amal and I are responsible for each other in a way — we look out for one another and we care about one another," he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017. "But you are really responsible for two kids. I want them to be happy. I want them to have a sense of humor. I want them to be interested in things. I want them to be compassionate about other people's plights. Because that's the thing, you know? You have to have some sort of empathy."
George Clooney accepted the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2018. It's the highest honor the American Film Institute bestows for a career in film.
George Clooney co-founded Casamigos tequila in 2013 with close friends Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. They made headlines in 2017 when they sold the brand — which was only ever meant to be a tequila for them and their friends to drink but quickly became a wild success — to the multinational beverage company Diageo in a deal with up to $1 billion. The guys, who are still involved with the company, are seen here (with Rande's wife, Cindy Crawford) at Casamigos' annual Halloween party — which is always a star-studded affair — in Las Vegas in October 2018.
In 2019, George Clooney starred in, directed and produced the Hulu series "Catch-22," which received critical acclaim and earned a Golden Globe nomination for best limited series or TV film. Next up for George? The 2022 film "Ticket to Paradise," a comedy in which he'll star with Julia Roberts and Kaitlyn Dever.