11/19/2012 10:57 am ET

Jodie Foster: ActressTurns 50 Today

Happy 50th birthday, Jodie Foster!

From her first commercial at the age of 3 as a bare-bottomed model for Coppertone suntan lotion, to her most recent big screen appearance as an irritated mother in “Carnage,” Jodie Foster has been in the public eye for more than four decades.

Originally born Alicia Christian Foster, Foster was first introduced to acting by her film-producing single mother and actor older brother (Jodie's father left the family when her mother was pregnant with her). By the time she has 8, the Los Angeles native had appeared in more than 40 television commercials and by age 10, her many appearances on television shows such as "The Patridge Family," and "Bonanza" allowed her to financially support her three older siblings and mother.

After starring in several Disney films including the original “Freaky Friday,” Foster’s break out role came at the age of 14, when she played a 12-year-old child prostitute in the movie, “Taxi Driver”. Starring alongside Robert De Niro, the role won her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress, and propelled her to Hollywood stardom. Since then, Foster acted in more than 35 movies, and won Academy Awards for her starring roles in “The Accused,” and “The Silence Of The Lambs.”

Foster has been equally impressive off-screen: As a teen she was very involved in academics, and graduated valedictorian of her high school. After high school, Foster attended Yale University, where she graduated with honors.
However, Foster’s time at Yale was not easy, despite her academic success. After she had run-ins with two off-campus stalkers (including Ronald Regan’s attempted assassin, John Hinckley), she vowed to keep her private life exactly that. As a result, there is much speculation about her love life (although the actress is largely believed to have come out in 2007) and the identity of her children’s father is unknown.

These days Foster is gearing up to direct the indie drama “Money Monster,” and is set to star in the 2013 film “Elysium.”

It seems like Foster is enjoying the stability and wisdom of middle age. In 2010, she told Esquire:

"You couldn't pay me to be in my twenties again. I didn't know that I was ever going to be successful. I didn't know if I would be able to ever afford a place to live. I didn't know if I would take care of my family. These seem like dumb questions when you're forty-five. But when you're twenty-three, all these are just a bunch of question marks ahead of you. I can't live with that anxiety."



Jodie Foster