“We redheads are a minority, we tend to notice each other―you know, and notice our identity” ―Julianne Moore
Juile Anne Smith, otherwise known as Julianne Moore, is an American actress who was born on December 3, 1960 in North Carolina. She got her start on the now defunct soap opera As the World Turns and made her film debut in Tales of the Darkside: The Movie in 1990.
Moore’s career spans three decades, and the actress has crafted a career that makes her one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood, even if she might not always be on the top of millennials’ minds. Due to her diverse roles, Moore may be known as Cathy Whitaker in Far From Heaven, Sarah Harding from The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Clarice Sterling in Hannibal or Alice in Still Alice. As her career continues to blossom, with roles in films like The Hunger Games and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, we present 54 facts about Julianne Moore.
“I think imperfections are important, just as mistakes are important. You only get to be good by making mistakes, and you only get to be real by being imperfect.” — Julianne Moore
54. Doing Her Research
Moore’s portrayal of a middle-aged linguistics professor with early onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice netted her multiple awards, but as she explained in interviews, there’s no way she could have done it without the proper amount of research. As preparation, she watched everything she could find on the subject, and then worked closely with Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns, the head of the National Alzheimer’s Association, to talk about her experiences. As part of her research, she also met with and spoke to women who were struggling with the disease, because she was determined not to portray anything on screen that she hadn’t seen for herself. Talk about an authentic performance.
53. From Everywhere and Nowhere
Julianne Moore was raised as an “army brat.” Her father was a US army paratrooper and she was born on the Fort Bragg military base. Because of her father’s military career, she and her family moved around a lot. By the time she was 18, she’d moved 23 times and attended 9 different schools. As a result, she said she never felt like she came from any one place.
51. The Six
Moore feels like she’s “practically Canadian” due to her frequent trips to Toronto for filming and events. Moore’s trips to the six stretch back to 1986.
50. Hated Feature
As a child, Moore was the target of bullies who picked on her for her famous freckles. When she was seven years old, they called her Freckleface Strawberry, a name she hated at the time, along with her freckles. As an adult, she still has freckles and she still dislikes them, but she doesn’t care about them nearly as much. A good thing too, because freckles don’t wash off!
49. I Can Be Anyone
One of the upsides to moving around a lot as a child was that Moore could literally re-make herself with every new location. Depending on where she was, she would change her behavior, an ability that has obviously served her well in her chosen career!
48. Don’t Touch Her Clothes!
According to Moore, real-life sex is never the same as it’s shown in the movies. In fact, one movie trope that’s a big no-no for Moore is tearing off her clothes. She remarked “You know, if anybody ever ripped my clothes, I’d kill them.”
47. Sorry It’s Taken!
When it came time to register with the Actors Guild, Moore discovered that being herself was literally impossible. The name Julie Smith and every other variation of her name was already taken, so she was forced to change it to something else. Julianne Moore is a combination of her first and middle names, and Moore is her father’s middle name.
46. Perceived as Pretty
One thing that Moore is highly aware of is that beauty is “perceptual.” When she wore glasses in her teens, she said that nobody thought of her as pretty. When she was 16 she got contacts, and despite being the same person, suddenly she was, as she called it, “perceived as pretty.”
45. Double Vision
If you happen to catch Moore’s performance on As the World Turns, don’t worry, you aren’t seeing double. Moore netted a Daytime Emmy Award for playing Frannie Hughes and her evil twin half-sister Sabrina Hughes. The experience of playing two roles came in handy in 2017 when she played twins in the Coen Brothers’ dark comedy Suburbicon.
44. Better Late Than Never
Prior to winning an Oscar for her performance in Still Alice, Moore was nominated for four of the golden statuettes. Her first nomination was for Boogie Nights.
43. Getting Attention
Moore admits that she sees no downside to getting awards attention for her movies. The attention helps her get more roles, so as far as she’s concerned, it’s great. Not that she needs any help with that.
42. Aging Gracefully
For most actresses, aging in Hollywood might seem like the kiss of death, but not for Moore. She says ever since she first started making movies, people have asked her about being an “older actress” in Hollywood and her answer is that “you can’t be anywhere except where you are.” Wise words!
Author Michael Cunningham once remarked that Moore has the ability to “retract her beauty.” While having coffee with Moore, Cunningham noticed that she retracted her beauty once they went outside, “There was a glow that she’d emanated in the living room that she could retract in the street.”
40. Change of Plans
Moore never intended to become an actress. As a child, she was a self-proclaimed “good girl” who was clever and bookish, with plans to become a doctor. It was her penchant for reading that led to her interest in acting, and she decided to become an actress instead.
39. Starting Late
In an industry that prizes youth, Moore got a surprisingly late start. She was already 30 by the time she got her first big-screen role, and that wasn’t the only thing she did late. She didn’t learn to swim until she was 26, she learned to drive at 27, and had her first child at 37. Talk about a late bloomer!
As if winning an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award weren’t accomplishment enough, Moore has the distinction of being the only American actress to win the trifecta of Best Actress at the Berlin, Venice, and Cannes Film Festivals. As pal Ellen Barkin quipped at Moore’s career tribute, “What award hasn’t she won?”
37. Scariest Acting of All
Fear is not a word that is generally associated with Moore, but there is one type of role that absolutely terrified her. The film Trust the Man is a romantic comedy directed by Moore’s real-life husband, and in Moore’s view, comedy is more difficult to get right than drama. Drama, as Moore explains, is just truth, but comedy has to not only contain some kind of truth, but also has to be funny.
36. Emotional Core
The roles that Moore has played might seem to be all over the map, but there’s one common thread that links them all together. From the sensitive porn star to a polarizing politician, many of her characters are in some kind of emotional turmoil and are at their breaking point. As to what draws her to those characters? It’s her interest in human drama and the daily struggle to hang onto some degree of normalcy in their lives.
35. Don’t Drop the Soap
As mentioned, Moore’s first TV role was in the soap opera As The World Turns; this is despite the fact that Moore hates soap operas, according to co-star Larry Pine.
34. Moral Support
Moore’s mom greatly valued education, so she wasn’t too happy to hear about her daughter’s career decision: “Oh Julie, why waste your brain?” she said.
33. Scary Sports
Moore may be a woman of many talents, but athletic ability is not one of them. She told WebMD: The Magazine that she doesn’t like balls, diving, snowboarding, skiing, or any sports really. In fact, skiing and snowboarding absolutely terrify her. On the other hand, she does like scary movies and she’s not afraid of the dark or spiders.
32. Get Around
Whether planned or not, most of Moore’s most notable characters have affairs or near-affairs, such as her characters in Far From Heaven, Boogie Nights, and The Kids Are All Right. As one website put it, Moore is Hollywood’s “go-to gold-star adultress.”
31. Staying on Script
Some actors are known for their ability to create characters with very loose guidelines, but Moore insists that this is not her. She told Red magazine that she absolutely cannot “magic up” a character without a script and has actually turned down roles because there was nothing written. In other words, don’t expect her to improv!
30. Clean Freak
Mental clarity is key to Moore’s work and she can’t get into the zone if there is a mess around her. Her manager, Evelyn O’Neill, recalls that Moore pulled a trunk out of O’Neill’s living room and told O’Neill she couldn’t keep the trunk in there. It sounds like Moore’s brother was right when he said she is “absolutely neurotic about cleaning.”
In Crazy Stupid Love, Moore’s character cheats on her husband (played by Steve Carell) and later requests a divorce. Moore was attracted to the script’s straightforward plot and its depiction of marriage as a difficult relationship. “You generally don’t see anything that bold in a studio comedy. It didn’t pull any punches,” she said.
28. Channeling Nike
When she turned 50, Moore adopted a new life motto: Just do it! She said that reaching that milestone led her to consider whether or not she was doing what she wanted to do, and she doesn’t want to miss out on anything, so now she just tries to find a way to fit it all in. Talk about a positive approach.
27. Not an Accent
Many years after its release, Moore is still remembered for her turn as Maude in the Coen brothers’ masterpiece The Big Lebowski. To create Maude’s voice, she spoke with a kind of boarding school pretension, giving her an affectation rather than a specific accent. It was the perfect choice for a character who creates “vaginal art.”
26. Not Too Prepared
The one thing Moore regretted after accepting her Golden Globe for Still Alice in 2015 was that she didn’t stand up straight on stage. She also admitted that she deliberately didn’t rehearse anything beforehand because she feels like it’s “bad juju” to be too prepared. Noted!
25. A Big Year
Between 1996 and 2006, Moore appeared in an average of more than two movies per year. Her biggest year was 1999 when she appeared in five. It’s a wonder she had time to sleep with a schedule like that.
24. What’s Age Got to Do With It?
Moore’s husband Bart Freundlich is nine years younger than Moore. They met on the set of Myth of Fingerprints in 1995 and have been happily married since 2003. Moore’s first husband was almost 10 years her senior, proving that age is just a number.
23. Blonde Wasn’t More Fun
For Blindness, Moore had to dye her hair blonde, but contrary to the popular expression, she hated every minute of it. Blindness took about four months to film and as soon as it was done, she went back to her trademark red.
22. One Tough Redhead
During an appearance on the Stephen Colbert show, she confirmed that the belief that redheads can take more pain than most is absolutely true. After telling Colbert that she’s a “very tough redhead,” she challenged him to pinch her arm as proof of her claim. Colbert smartly declined and decided to take her at her word.
21. Embracing the Freckles
Julianne Moore has often mentioned how much she disliked her freckles as a child, but as an adult, she found a way to turn those experiences into something positive for children. Her book series Freckleface Strawberry focuses on a seven-year-old freckle-faced, redheaded girl who learns important life lessons through her adventures. While Moore admits that the adventures are inspired by real things that happened to her, unlike Moore, the character will probably stay seven forever.
20. Disappointing Loss
Actors always hope that it’s their name that’s read out when the Oscar winners are announced, but there was one loss that was particularly difficult for Moore. Far From Heaven was the first role that had been written specifically for her, which made the nomination (and loss) all that more personal.
When Moore evaluates her own performance, the technical setup of the cameras and frames is just as important to her as the emotion she conveys. As she says, “acting is not all about feeling…. There’s a physicality to what the frame is.”
18. No Scalpels
Hollywood might be infamous for the amount of people who have had surgical work done in an attempt to preserve their youthful appearance. Moore is proudly botox free, “I see a lot of it, but I don’t think it looks any better–you’re not going to suddenly look 25.”
17. Making an Impression
Moore’s appearance in The Fugitive may have been brief, but it certainly made an impression. Her performance so impressed Steven Spielberg that he cast her as Sarah Harding in The Lost World: Jurassic Park without an audition.
16. Show and Tell
Back in 2015, Moore found herself in the hospital undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Not only was she out promoting her latest movie shortly after, but she took snapshots of the removed appendix to show her friends. Now that is one thing I don’t need to see.
15. Beating Out the Heavyweights
When Jodie Foster declined to reprise her role in the Silence of the Lambs sequel, Julianne Moore beat out a number of well-known actresses such as Helen Hunt, Gillian Anderson, and Cate Blanchett for the role.
14. Promoting Literacy
Moore credits being a reader as the reason that she is an actress, and Project Literacy is a cause that is near and dear to her heart. In 2016, she and other global celebrities banded together on International Literacy Day to help raise awareness for literacy. According to Moore, reading “opened up the world” to her and “The ability to read and write, can, and will, change lives and pave the way for future generations to thrive.”
13. Bread and Butter
As much as Moore wishes that she could just do a movie because she wants to, she also knows that indie films don’t put food on the table. While the labor-of-love projects might be the most creatively satisfying, it’s the high-concept blockbusters that pay the bills. Not that working with big directors on those blockbusters is anything to sneeze at!
12. Exclusive Club
In the history of the Oscars, Moore is one of the only actresses to get Best Supporting and Lead Actress nominations (for The Hours and Far From Heaven) in the same year. Since she lost out on both awards that year, I wonder if they cancelled each other out?
11. I Want to Play Her!
When Moore found out that David Hare was adapting Michael Cunningham’s book The Hours to film, she immediately called up producer Scott Rudin and told him that she wanted to play the role of Laura Brown. Moore had read the book a few years before and was excited to play the character in the book with which she most closely identified.
10. Bringing Home the Joy
With a role as intense as Alice, one might think that some of the fear and sadness of the character would spill over into her real life, but with Moore, it was just the opposite. The role made her appreciate what she has, and instead of being afraid, she felt lucky and joyful instead.
9. Added Security
Moore was extremely fortunate that her parents supported her decision to pursue an acting career, but they did have one stipulation. They insisted that she study acting at a university so that she’d have the security of receiving a degree. She took their advice and earned a B.F.A in acting from Boston University.
8. Playing Politics
Moore took a turn at portraying Alaskan governor Sarah Palin in an HBO political drama based on the 2008 US Election. The role won her a Prime Time Emmy, but she later confessed to having a moment of worry immediately after accepting the role. She needn’t have worried though, because her transformation was so good that critics said she looked more like Sara Palin than Palin does.
6. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Moore provided the voice of Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration Analyst (ARIIA), the supercomputer that serves as the nemesis in Eagle Eye.
7. For the Kids
The Hunger Games trilogy is a worldwide phenomenon, but if it weren’t for her children, Moore might never have pursued the role of Alma Coin in the movies. Both her son and her daughter were big fans of the books, and as soon as she read them, she knew she wanted to play Coin. The role was also meaningful for Moore because it was the first one of her movies that her kids could actually see.
5. She Reads Them All
Unlike many Hollywood stars, Moore reads every script that she receives. Considering that she’s starred in almost 90 productions, just imagine how much reading that must be.
4. Tough Customer
Aside from the attention she pays to her own performances, Moore is also very critical of her co-stars’ work. If Moore doesn’t buy the performance her co-star is giving her, she tends “to turn off…She would emotionally go away.”
3. More Frightening Than Hannibal
Hannibal Lecter is one of the most terrifying movie villains ever, but that wasn’t the scariest thing that Moore faced on set while filming Hannibal. What terrified her more than anything else, much to the amusement of the crew, was a herd of cows. I guess she won’t be playing a farmer anytime soon.
2. Lucky Way
One of Moore’s rare vulnerabilities is her confessed OCD. Prior to having children, she obsessively stuck to a daily routine that she never wavered from. She started her day with two cups of coffee, left her apartment at the same time each day, followed the same route, and even adjusted her pace to hit all of the walk signs at traffic lights so she’d never have to stop. Now she calls that “an indulgence of youth” because with kids and a crazy schedule, she has no time for obsessing.
1. Acting Badly
For the movie Boogie Nights, director Paul Thomas Anderson explained to the cast that acting poorly for the porn scenes (which is what he wanted them to do) would be really difficult for them to do. He challenged the cast to see who could act the worst, and not surprisingly, Julianne Moore won the contest. She’s so talented that she’s even good at being bad!