Little Known Facts About George Clooney

February 4, 2017 | Miles Brucker

Little Known Facts About George Clooney

"I had to stop going to auditions thinking, 'Oh, I hope they like me.' I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem." -- George Clooney

The man, the legend, here are our favorite George Clooney facts!

George Clooney Facts

1. Never say never.

In 1989, he married actress Talia Balsam but divorced in 1993. He said he would never get married again and never have children.  At age 53, he broke his vows when he wed human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. As of 2015, they have no children.

George Clooney at Venice film festival - 2009nicolas genin, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2. How about a wager?

After he swore off marriage, Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidman both bet him $10,000 each that he would be a father before he turned 40. They were both wrong, and each sent him a check. He returned the money, betting double or nothing that he won't have kids by age 50. We’re not sure if they paid the $20,000 – but it’s clear that Clooney won again!

Michelle Pfeiffer smiling - 1985Towpilot, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

3. Too sexy for his shirt.

In 1997, Clooney qas voted "Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine. In the same year, he was voted "Best Dressed Male Television Star."

George Clooney at Venice film festival - 2009nicolas genin, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

4. In solemn memory of a loving pig.

Clooney owned a pet pig named Max the Star for 18 years, which was a gift from then-girlfriend Kelly Preston. Max is often credited with saving Clooney's life by waking him up before the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake. Max appeared in interviews with Clooney, shared his bed, and also got to ride in John Travolta's private jet (pigs can fly, but only Clooney pigs). George Clooney attends 'the monuments men' UK film premiere - 2014BAKOUNINE, Shutterstock

5. Second time is a charm.

Clooney’s first steady TV role was in the medical sitcom E/R (1984) based in Chicago. Ten years later, it would take another TV series ER (1994) (also based in Chicago) to finally launch him into the galaxy of superstardom.

George Clooney at E/R (1984)Sony Pictures, E/R (1984)

6. On smoking.

In his youth, Clooney worked in tobacco fields and took up smoking into his late 20s. He quit after one of his uncles died from lung cancer and has expressed his regret over it in interviews.

George Clooney at Wash D.C. Annual PBS Memorial day celebration - 2001Kingkongphoto, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

7. Major league baseball?

Clooney tried out for a position on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team in 1977, but he didn’t pass the first round of cuts.

George Clooney smiling - 2013Sean Reynolds, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

8. Solid genes.

His mother Nina Bruce was a former beauty pageant queen and his father Nick Clooney was an AMC host. Of course Clooney comes from good looks and classic movie knowledge.

NASA Apollo 10 Astronaut Gene Cernan, right, answers questions from the Newseum's distinguished journalist-in-residence, Nick Clooney - 2009NASA HQ PHOTO, Flickr

9. A family of stars.

Clooney is the nephew of singer and actress Rosemary Clooney and of Oscar-winning actor José Ferrer ("Cyrano de Bergerac"), and the cousin of their actor sons Miguel Ferrer ("Iron Man 3") and Rafael Ferrer. He is also the cousin-in-law of Grammy-winning singer Debby Boone.

George Clooney factsWikimedia Commons, Picryl


10. Going Vogue.

Clooney was the second man after Richard Gere to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine.

Richard Gere with the Crystal Globe at the 50th Karlovy Vary IFF (2015)JanPress, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

11. Through adversity.

In middle school, Clooney temporarily suffered from Bell's palsy, a condition that partially paralyzes the face. The aliment went away within a year, but Clooney has stated that his experience with Bell’s palsy was the worst time of his life. "I was mocked and taunted, but the experience made me stronger."

George Clooney looking and talking - 2009Michael Vlasaty, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

12. Thank you, Rosie.

Clooney was the very first guest on Rosie O'Donnell's talk show in 1996.

Rosie O'Donnell at the premiere of I Am Because We Are at the 2008David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

13. Oh, Clooney, where art though?

Clooney committed to 2000's "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" before reading a script because he wanted to work with the Coen brothers. He even accepted a significantly lower salary than usual.

Screenshot of George Clooney looking at front - from  O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)Universal Pictures, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

14. Well said, George.

Despite his many publicized relationships with women, Clooney's sexual orientation has long been a subject of debate in the media. When asked about the it in an interview, Clooney noted that he wouldn't deny the rumors because, "That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I'm not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing."

George Clooney leaving the press conference of THE MONUMENTS MEN at the Berlinale 2014Siebbi, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

15. Batman.

Clooney is the sixth actor to play the Caped Crusader when he starred in 1997's "Batman and Robin."

Screenshot of George Clooney talking aand looking at side - from  Batman & Robin (1997)Warner Bros, Batman & Robin (1997)

16. Darn it, Brad!

Clooney auditioned five times for the role of J.D. in "Thelma & Louise," a role that went to Brad Pitt and boosted Pitt to fame. For years, Clooney couldn’t bring himself to watch the film, joking in 2011 that he was still “upset.”

Actor Brad Pitt during the world premiere of the movie - 2014DoD News Features, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

17. A four-legged tribute to comedy.

Clooney owned two bulldogs, Bud and Lou, named after the famous comedy team Abbott and Costello. Both dogs have died, one from a rattlesnake bite.

George Clooney arrived at Ciampino airport in Rome - 2008.Marco Iacobucci Epp, Shutterstock

18. Aging with style.

For Clooney, aging gracefully is a must. One of his very famous quotes from the Playboy Magazine narrates his point of view about how he prefers to look while he grows old: ‘You don’t want to try to look younger because you’ll look wrong,’ he said. ‘You dye your hair, you look wrong. You wear a bad toupee, you look wrong. You wear makeup to hide things, you get your eyes done, you look wrong.’

George Clooney at the premiere of "The Men Who Stare at Goats" - 2009Josh Jensen, Flickr

19. Rolling up the sleeves for the extras.

Clooney reportedly got into a fistfight with "Three Kings" director David O. Russell on the set over Russell deriding a few extras. Russell has since said, "I wouldn't make another George Clooney movie if they paid me $20 million."

David O Russell attending the premiere of The Union at the 2011David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

20. Don’t snoop on Clooney.

In 2007, Clooney and his then-girlfriend Sarah Larson were both injured in a motorcycle accident in New Jersey. A month later, more than two dozen staff at the hospital he was treated at were suspended without pay for viewing the actor's medical records in violation of federal law.

George Clooney - Men Who Stare at Goats premiere - September 11, 2009Courtney, Flickr

21. Going down to South Park.

Clooney has been spoofed multiple times by the "South Park" creators in episodes and movies. However, Clooney loves the show and has even said that he would've been offended if they hadn't made fun of him. When he got in touch with the creators, he asked for a part in an episode and was given the role of "Sparky," the gay dog. In the feature film "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" Clooney got a larger role as an ER surgeon.

George Clooney at the world premiere of his movie Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock

22. Not the vocalist?

His voice was dubbed for the singing scenes in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Screenshot of George Clooney singing - from O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)Universal Pictures, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

23. Ouch.

Clooney has said in multiple interviews that he has suffered from bleeding stomach ulcers and is still on medication for stomach pain.

George Clooney talking and looking at side - 2009Michael Vlasaty, CC BY 2.0,Wikimedia Commons


24. A few odd jobs.

He went to the University of Cincinnati but did not graduate. Instead, he started selling women’s shoes, insurance door-to-door, stocking shelves, working in construction and cutting tobacco to make money.George Clooney visit a refugee camp for victims of the earthquake - Aquila, Italy - 2009Marco Iacobucci Epp, Shutterstock

25. Darfur.

In September 2006, he addressed the United Nations Security Council, urging it to act over Darfur. "After Sept. 30 you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones," the 45-year-old actor warned.

Screenshot of George Clooney seating on the table - from  Intolerable Cruelty (2003)Imagine Entertainment, Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

26. Tarantino, you dirty dog!

He auditioned for the role of Mr. Blonde in "Reservoir Dogs," but was turned down. Michael Madsen got the role instead.

Michael Madsen speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con InternationalGage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

27. Big bucks.

He has a net worth around $180 million, and his role in Ocean’s Eleven gave him a colossal $20 million.

Screenshot of George Clooney standing outside in suit - from Ocean's Eleven (2001)Warner Bros., Ocean's Eleven (2001)

28. Working for Jesus.

Before making it to the big screen, Clooney was inclined towards Christianity. In an interview with Larry King, Clooney disclosed that a large part of his childhood was spent being an altar boy in a neighborhood church.

Larry King - 2016Sam Aronov, Shutterstock

29. Not just a pretty face, folks.

Clooney also made it to Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 50 Smartest People in Hollywood. What a perfect combination of beauty and brains!

George Clooney walking outside - 2017John Bauld, Flickr

30. Growing up around talent.

Clooney spent some very close times with his aunt Rosemary Clooney, who was a famous songstress and actress of her time. During his first days in Hollywood, Rosemary’s place is what Clooney called home.

Rosemary Clooney - June 1997John Mathew Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

31. Humble beginnings.

While he was a struggling actor in Los Angeles, Clooney rode a bicycle to get to auditions and lived in a friend's closet.

George Clooney at the world premiere of his new movie Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock

32. Life-threatening injuries.

Did you know Clooney suffered some life-threatening injuries during his shoot for Syriana? He cracked his head open and sustained major damage to his spinal membrane, causing spinal fluid to leak into his brain. Massive headaches and terrible back pain had to be treated over a course of months to get his body back to normal. It took doctors weeks to figure out what was wrong with him. Relief only came after his actress friend, Lisa Kudrow, referred him onto her neurologist brother, who noticed the fluid leaking from Clooney's spine.

We’re sure glad recovering and continued making legendary movies!

George Clooney at Up in the Air premiere - 2009Courtney, Flickr

Sources:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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