George Clooney is an iconic, world-famous actor, and one of the biggest names in Hollywood today. It’s natural to wonder about his upbringing and how he became such a good actor.
George Clooney is Irish, as well as English and German. His father, Nick Clooney, was a television anchorman and host, and his mother, Nina Bruce, was a city councilwoman and former beauty queen.
Read on to find out more about Clooney’s early life with his family, and the surprising amount of time that it took him to get into acting.
The Clooney Family
As he was growing up, Clooney’s family moved around to different towns within Ohio and Kentucky. Nick Clooney, George’s father, was a journalist, anchorman, and host on television.
Nick Clooney is of Irish and German descent, and when he moved to Ohio, he met his future wife, Nina Warren, who was a contestant in a beauty pageant that he was judging. Nina was of English descent, and became a city councilwoman.
There are many famous Clooneys in the family, but having grown up seeing his mother and father under the public eye, George Clooney was prepared from a young age to enter the world of acting.
Nick Clooney’s sister, Rosemary Clooney, was also an extremely famous actress and singer, who George Clooney learned a lot from.
In an interview with Larry King in 2006, Clooney talks about how he’d seen fame as a child, saying, “I remember when I was a kid, my dad said, what do you want to be, and I said, I want to be famous because I thought that was a job. Because that’s all I’d ever seen my father be. And Rosemary too.”
It seems like George Clooney has always been famous, with all of the tweets and other media surrounding him. Why did it take so long for him to decide to become an actor, and what inspired him to go for it?
Clooney’s Beginning Careers and Acting Debut
Clooney graduated from Augusta High School in Kentucky, and though he originally thought he was an average student, he was actually much better. “I pulled out my report cards… I was a much better student than I thought I was,” he explained in an interview from 2008. “I had all A’s and a B. So that’s not bad.”
He played baseball and basketball in high school, and tried out for a position with the Cincinnati Reds in 1977, but wasn’t offered a spot. After that, he went to Northern Kentucky University for two years and the University of Cincinnati very briefly, working toward a major in broadcast journalism like his father, but didn’t end up graduating from either.
Before he decided on acting, he had many jobs, all of which he declared more difficult than acting in a 2011 interview. “I cut tobacco for a living in Kentucky. That was hard work… I sold insurance door-to-door. That’s hard work. Acting is not hard work… I remember I was selling women’s shoes at a department store, which is a lousy job.”
He also stocked shelves and worked in construction for a time. “So, I don’t find [acting] difficult,” he explained. “I find it challenging, and sometimes I’m very bad at it, but I don’t find it hard.”
Clooney’s real acting debut came in the movie And They’re Off, a horse-racing movie. “I didn’t even want to be an actor. I was just hanging out with my cousin,” he said, speaking of Miguel Ferrer, Rosemary Clooney’s son and successful actor.
“Miguel said, come to L.A. and be an actor. I had just spent the summer cutting tobacco, which is a miserable job. So that’s what made me move to Hollywood,” he recounted, and the rest is history.
Watch the YouTube video below to see Clooney talking about his experiences with TV growing up and how he got into acting.