On July 26, 1964, Sandra Bullock was born in Arlington, Va. With her girl-next-door charm, comedic timing and acting chops, she grew up to become one of the most bankable actresses in Hollywood. Never sticking to the same script, Bullock has avoided typecasting by always taking on a diverse range of roles. She has also made similarly gutsy choices in her personal life. She recently opened up about her decision to adopt her two children in an emotional interview with Hoda Kotb on the “Today Show.” She hoped to inspire women to pursue their dreams and realize that they don’t have to fit into one box to find happiness. As she told Kotb, “There is no box.”
Raised by her opera singer mother and a father who was a US Army employee and a voice coach, it is no wonder that Bullock found her way to a career in show business. She first began performing when she sang in the children’s choruses of her parents’ productions. After graduating from East Carolina University with a BFA in 1982, Bullock moved to New York City to pursue her acting career.
After starring in a couple of television shows, her breakthrough film role was in 1993’s “Demolition Man” starring opposite Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. However, many of us first fell in love with her as Annie Porter in “Speed.” Some of her more popular films throughout the 1990s and early 2000s included “While You Were Sleeping,” “A Time to Kill,” “Hope Floats,” “Miss Congeniality,” “Two Weeks Notice,” and “Crash.”
More than two decades into her acting career, Bullock took home her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in 2009’s “The Blind Side.”
A reflection of Bullock’s versatility as an actress, a few years later she took on the role as an astronaut stuck in outer space in “Gravity.” Starring opposite George Clooney, her performance earned Bullock nominations for both an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. As a result of her high paycheck of $51 million for “Gravity,” Bullock topped the 2014 Forbes’ List of Highest Earning Actresses.
Today, Bullock’s number-one priority is caring for her two adopted children, Louis and Laila. In fact, her dedication to her kids almost forced her to turn down her recent starring role in “Ocean’s 8.” When the filming schedule threatened to disrupt her children’s schooling, Bullock almost passed on the all-female reboot of the Ocean’s franchise. However, her son suggested that they find a school in New York City, where the movie was filmed. Today, she celebrates her 54th birthday and we thank her for being a role model to women refusing to fit into one box in life.