Natalie (Hershlag) Portman was born in Jerusalem, Israel on June 9, 1981. When she was a young child, her parents immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in Long Island, NY.
Portman began modeling at the age of 11, but soon after decided she'd rather pursue acting. From her page at biography.com:
Portman made her film debut in Luc Besson's memorable 1994 feature, The Professional. The demanding role, which featured her as hitman's apprentice, caught the attention of critics and audiences. The following year, she sustained her popularity with a brief but captivating performance as Al Pacino's troubled daughter in Heat(1995).
She's been in a series of films since then, including the three Star Wars prequels (and all the while earning her degree at Harvard.) Last year, she won an Oscar for her star role in the dark and disturbing film, Black Swan. Here's the trailer for my favorite Portman film, V for Vendetta: