July 26, 1964
Sandra Bullock is the eldest daughter of John, a voice coach and Pentagon official, and Helga, an opera singer. Because of her mother's career, Sandra and her sister Gesine lived a number of their childhood years in Nuremberg, Germany where they spent endless hours listening to their mother perform. This gave Sandra not only a deep appreciation for opera, with Salome coming out as her favorite, but taught her how to speak fluent German. It was an exciting time in her young life, and perhaps it was seeing her mother up on stage that influenced her to become a performer herself.
Eventually the family moved back to the States when Sandra was around ten years old. It was a painful time because believe it or not, Sandra was an ugly duckling, and was teased mercilessly by her schoolmates. Instead of becoming resentful however, Sandra vowed she would never treat anyone the way she had been, and her generous and kind qualities certainly manifest themselves in both her personal and professional lives. As with the lonely outcast of the children's fable, a beautiful swan eventually emerged and Sandra went on to become a cheerleader at Washington-Lee High, being voted "Most Likely to Brighten Your Day" by her senior class, and even dated a member of the wrestling team.
Upon graduation, "Sandy" to her friends, continued with her education, not at Juilliard like her father had done, but rather at East Carolina University where she changed to a Drama Major during her sophmore year. During this time she helped support herself by entering and winning dance contests, a passion that has stayed with her, especially when it comes to Salsa; a style actor Robert Duvall taught her on the set of "Wrestling Ernest Hemingway." Sandra dances at every possible opportunity, and it has been said that if she ever gave up acting she could easily take up a professional career in dance. Watching her at total easy on the dance floor as seen in such movies as Hope Floats, it's easy to believe such sentiments are not unfounded.
From there it was off to New York with her life savings, dog and sole possession, her Honda, in tow. As with most struggling thespians, Sandra bartended and waitressed between auditions and acting classes under the tutelage of famed dramatician Sanford Meisner. Her persistance finally paid off when she got the lead in and received glowing reviews for her work in the off-Broadway play No Time Flat. This led to the TV movie The Bionic Showdown, opposite Lindsay Wagner. unforgettable at best, the only worthwhile things that came from it were experience and a SAG card. After a short stint on the failed TV series Working Girl, based on the movie, she moved to Los Angeles where she got the role of a spunky cop hungry for excitement in the Sylvester Stallone sci-fi action film, Demolition Man. It was this role that drew the attention of director Jan De bont, who went on to cast her in the hit movie Speed, practically making her an overnight success.
The mega hits, The Net and While You Were Sleeping followed, sending Sandra on a skyrocket ride to A-list status and a hefty increase in her paycheck. The success of these films made it possible for her to start her own production company, Fortis Films, with her sister Gesine, a law student graduate acting as executive vice-president, and her father John, as her business advisor. Sadly, her mother's participation in her life ended April 4, 2000 when she succumbed to a long illness.
Sandra married Jesse James in July 2005.
Photo © Dan Winters/EW - Bio by ThespianNet.Com © 2001
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