George Clooney comes from a family with an extensive background in the arts. His father is broadcaster Nick Clooney and his mother, Nina, was first runner up in the Miss Kentucky pageant. His aunt, Rosemary Clooney, was a singing superstar who also appeared in films, and as a teen, he sometimes chauffered her to her concerts when she was in the Kentucky area.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, George went to five different grade schools because his family moved several times to accommodate his father's job as a TV newscaster and talk show host. In Cincinatti, Ohio, his father hosted The Nick Clooney Show. When George was eight, he began appearing on his father's show, dressing in a buny costume at Easter and as a leprechaun for St. Patrick's Day. They also moved to Columbus Ohio and by the time George was in high school, they were living in Augusta, Kentucky.
However, he didn't consider a career as an actor at first. Baseball was his passion, and he was so good at it that he was asked to try out for the Cincinnati Reds, but after two tryouts, didn't make the team and put that dream behind him.
George studied at Northern Kentucky University, but dropped out and drove to California to stay with his Aunt Rosemary and her husband, director/actor José Ferrer. Having gotten a taste of what it was like to be on a set a few years earlier when his cousin Miguel and uncle got him a part as an extra on the TV mini-series Centennial, which was partly filmed in Kentucky, he decided to give acting a shot.
George made his movie debut alongside his Uncle José in And They're Off! (1982). He worked steadily, playing guest roles on television series and appearing in 15 television pilots over the next few years, although none of them were picked up.
However, he was chosen to play a regular role on a sitcom titled E/R in 1984, which was ironic because exactly 10 years later, he found fame when he landed the part of philandering doctor Doug Ross on the hit TV show ER in 1994.
He'd also gotten some notice when he played a regular role on the sitcom The Facts of Life from 1985 to 1987, and played the starring role as an undercover cop who's a rock star by night on the short-lived TV series Sunset Beat in 1990, but it wasn't until he was a regular on the medical drama ER that he found himself the center of attention.
Aside from being chosen Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine in 1997, People also once dubbed him one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
"What I've learned," he said, "is that you have to love the entire process. You have to love auditioning, you have to love going to work, because otherwise it all rushes by."
He married Talia Balsam in 1989 but divorced three years later. Perhaps this is why he's reluctant to reveal much about his life. "I don't like to share my personal life... it wouldn't be personal if I shared it."
In 2001 he won his first Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Comedy for his performance in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?. He then decided to not only play a role in, but also made his directorial debut with the independent film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), then followed that up with Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). He took on supporting roles in Welcome to Collinwood and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and starred in Solaris (2003), a remake of a successful Russian film, but the movie bombed at the box office and with critics.
The highly anticipated Intolerable Cruelty (2003), pairing George with Catherine Zeta-Jones and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, also didn't do well at the box office, to the surprise of many.
George returned in the sequel to his 2001 hit Ocean's Eleven with Ocean's Twelve (2004), also taking on the role of producer, but it was his work in the political drama Syriana (2005) that not only won him a second Golden Globe, but a supporting actor Academy Award as well.
His direction of Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) earned him Best Achievement in Directing and Best Screenplay nominations at the 78th Academy Awards.
In 2006, at the age of 45, George was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive for the second time. At the 2010 Emmy Awards, he was given the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
For his role in Up in the Air, he received nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. George won a third Golden Globe and received a Leading Actor Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Descendants (2011). He starred in The Monuments Men (2014) alongside Matt Damon and in Tomorrowland (2015). He also starred in Hail, Caesar! (2016) and Money Monster (2016).
Stepping behind the cameras for his next project, Suburbicon (2017), George directed Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and newcomer Noah Jupe. George won the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, while Julianne won the Franca Sozzani Award. The movie was also nominated for Best Film.
George has become well known for his Nespresso coffee commercials opposite Danny DeVito. In 2019, George made a rare television appearance on several episodes of the Hulu series Catch-22, also directing those episodes.
In 2014, George, who had become involved in humanitarian efforts, tied the knot with lawyer and fellow activist Amal Alamuddin. Their twins, Ella and Alexander, were born in June 2017. They currently make their home in Italy.
His parents and older sister Ada still live in Kentucky.
In recent years, George has been focusing on his humanitarian efforts and raising his family, although he is planning to do more directing in the future.