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Foster, Jodie (b. 1962)  
 
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One of the most accomplished film actresses of her generation, Jodie Foster has been a glbtq icon for decades, though only recently has she acknowledged her lesbianism.

No other contemporary actress has generated as much interest in her personal life as Foster, an interest intensified by her steadfast refusal to discuss her private life in interviews. For years, with her lesbianism an open secret in the film industry, the gay press demanded--to no avail--that she come out publicly.

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Foster's tomboyish roles as a child and her strong female protagonist roles as an adult fueled speculation as to her sexuality, especially among her numerous lesbian fans. Occasionally, pictures surfaced of Foster and her live-in companion for many years, producer Cydney Bernard, with Foster's children; and although the couple did not attend premieres or award shows together in the United States, they did so frequently in France. Moreover, in a couple of interviews, Foster spoke of her "partner" without explaining exactly what that role entailed.

In December 2007, at Hollywood Reporter's "Women in Entertainment" event, after accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, which recognized her prominence in the film industry, Foster finally acknowledged her partner of fifteen years, paying tribute to ". . . my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through the rotten and the bliss."

The revelation surprised no one, and the enigmatic actress, director, and producer seemed unflustered by the publicity generated as a result of her apparent public coming out.

Foster became more forthcoming about her private life at another awards ceremony in 2013, when she more forthrightly acknowledged her homosexuality.

In April 2014, Foster married photographer Alexandra Hedison in a private ceremony, news of which was revealed only after the fact.

Early Life

Born November 19, 1962 in Los Angeles, Alicia Christian "Jodie" Foster started her career at age three in a television commercial for Coppertone as the result of a happy accident. Her mother, Brandy, had taken Buddy Foster, Jodie's older brother, to audition for the part, but when the producers saw Jodie, they fell in love with her. She soon became America's favorite child star, appearing in almost fifty commercials before her mother moved her into more serious roles.

Foster and her three siblings were raised by her single mother, Evelyn "Brandy" Ella Almond Foster. Her father, Lucius Fisher Foster III, a retired United States Air Force officer turned real estate broker, left his wife before Jodie was born.

Foster's mother supported her family by working as a film producer. Foster's brother Buddy began appearing in commercials and television shows, helping to alleviate some of the family's financial strain, but when his career began to fade, Brandy Foster threw herself into managing Jodie's. She shrewdly guided her daughter's choice of roles and haunted the television and movie sets, provoking some to claim she that was exploiting her gifted daughter.

Foster, however, rejects the charge that she was exploited by her mother. She explained to a reporter, "My mom and I sit and talk about everything. That was our bond. That was our tie. It was all about staying within four walls and discussing things. So I haven't lived a normal life but I think I've lived a very healthy one."

In 1968, Foster debuted as a television actress in an episode of Mayberry R.F.D. She also appeared occasionally as Joey Kelly, Eddie's friend, on The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

In 1970, she made her film debut in the made-for-television movie Menace on the Mountain. In the 1970s, she also appeared in several Disney films, including Napoleon and Samantha (1972), One Little Indian (1973), Freaky Friday (1976), and Candleshoe (1977), and she starred with Christopher Connelly in the 1974 television series Paper Moon.

In 1976, she appeared with Martin Sheen in The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, directed by Nicholas Gessner, and hosted Saturday Night Live at the age of 14. In the same year, she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her breakthrough performance as a teenage prostitute in Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver. She also received two BAFTA awards (the British Oscars) in 1976: Best Newcomer and Best Supporting Actress for her roles in Alan Parker's musical Bugsy Malone and Taxi Driver.

In addition to acting, the teen-aged Foster also made appearances on the French pop music circuit, releasing two musical recordings in France in 1977.

Foster's allure as an actress comes from her versatility--her convincingness in a wide range of genres, from thrillers to science fiction movies, and her equal adeptness in comic and dramatic roles--and her uncanny ability to seemingly become the strong female characters she plays. Largely self-taught as an actress, she is not a "method actor" but she has an instinctual facility for living within her roles. One reason her performance playing a teenage prostitute in Taxi Driver was such a revelation was because, as she observed, "It was the first time anyone asked me to create a character who wasn't myself."

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Jodie Foster at the premiere of the film The Brave One in Berlin, Germany in 2007. Photograph by Franz Richter.
  
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