Sandra Annette Bullock (born on July 26, 1964) is an American actress and producer. Bullock rose to fame in the 1990s with roles in films such as Demolition Man, Speed, The Net, While You Were Sleeping, A Time to Kill, and Hope Floats. In the new millennium, she appeared in Miss Congeniality, The Lake House, and the critically acclaimed Crash. In 2007, she was ranked as the 14th richest woman in the entertainment industry. She is considered to be the biggest female star of modern Hollywood, replacing Julia Roberts (1990s) and Angelina Jolie (2000s).
She is listed in the 2012 edition of the Guinness Book Of World Records as the highest-paid actress, with $56 million. In 2013, she starred in The Heat, financially the most successful comedy of the year, and in the Sci-fi thriller Gravity.
Bullock was born in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Her father, John W. Bullock, was a United States Army employee and part-time voice coach; and her mother, Helga Mathilde Meyer, was a German-born opera singer and voice teacher. Bullock's father was from Birmingham, Alabama, and had English, Irish, German, and French ancestry. Bullock has a younger sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado, who was formerly the vice-president of Bullock's production company Fortis Films, and is now a pastry chef in Vermont.
As a child, Bullock frequently accompanied her mother on European opera tours. She spent time in Salzburg and Nuremberg, where she stayed with her aunt and grandmother and became fluent in German. Bullock studied ballet and vocal arts as a child, taking small parts in her mother's opera productions. She sang in the operas children's choir. The scar above her left eye was caused when she fell into a creek as a child. Bullock attended Washington-Lee High School, where she was a cheerleader and performed in high school theater productions. After graduating in 1982, she attended East Carolina University in Greenville, where she received a degree in drama in 1986. She then moved to Manhattan and supported herself as a bartender, cocktail waitress, and coat checker while auditioning for roles.
While in New York, Bullock appeared in several student films, and later landed a role in an Off-Broadway play No Time Flat. Director was impressed by Bullock's performance and offered her a part in the TV movie Bionic Showdown. Afterward, she was cast in a series of small roles in several independent films as well as in the lead role of the short-lived NBC television version of the film Working Girl. She later appeared in several films, such as Love Potion No. 9, The Thing Called Love and Fire on the Amazon. A prominent supporting role in the science-fiction/action movie Demolition Man led to her breakthrough performance in Speed the following year. She became a movie star in the late 1990s, carrying a string of successes, including While You Were Sleeping, and Miss Congeniality in 2000.
Bullock was selected as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1996 and 1999, and was also ranked #58 in Empire magazine's Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time list. In 2002, she starred opposite Hugh Grant in Two Weeks Notice and in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
In 2004, Bullock had a supporting role in the film Crash. She received positive reviews for her performance, with some critics suggesting that it was the best performance of her career. In 2005, she was a co-recipient of the Women in Film Crystal Award.
Bullock later appeared in The Lake House, a romantic drama also starring her Speed co-star, Keanu Reeves. Because their film characters are separated throughout the film (due to the plot revolving around time travel), Bullock and Reeves were only on set together for two weeks during filming. The same year, Bullock appeared in Infamous, playing author Harper Lee. Bullock also starred in Premonition with Julian McMahon. 2009 proved to be especially good for Bullock, giving the actress two record highs in her career, as earlier in the year she released The Proposal, with co-star Ryan Reynolds, a huge hit, making it her most successful picture to date.
In 2009, Bullock starred in The Blind Side. She won the award for Best Actress at the Golden Globes, Academy Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in The Blind Side. Bullock had initially turned down the role three times due to a discomfort with portraying a devout Christian. Winning the "Oscar" also gave her another unique distinction — since she won two "Razzies" the day before, for her performance in All About Steve, she is the only performer ever to have been named both "Best" and "Worst" for the same year.
In 2011, Bullock starred in the drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a film adaptation based on the novel of the same name. Despite mixed reviews, the film and Bullock were nominated for numerous awards.
She starred in the 2013 comedy film The Heat, alongside Melissa McCarthy. It met with positive reviews from critics. She will star in Gravity, a science fiction film opposite George Clooney, which is set to be released in October 2013.
Critics, while praising her screen persona, have been less receptive to her films. As of the 2009 release of The Proposal, Mark Kermode said she's made only three "good" films in her career—Speed, While You Were Sleeping, and Crash, and says "she's funny, she's gorgeous, it's impossible not to love her and yet she makes rotten film after rotten film after rotten film." As of December 2009, Bullock has appeared on three Entertainment Weekly covers. She was selected by People magazine as its "Woman of the Year" for 2010. She was ranked #12 on People's Most Beautiful 2011 list.
In 2006 Bullock founded an Austin, Texas restaurant. She later opened another business, Walton's Fancy and Staple, across the street in a building she extensively renovated. Walton's is a bakery, upscale restaurant and floral shop that also offers services including event planning.
In 2010, a scandal arose when several women claimed to have had affairs with James during his marriage to Bullock. Their divorce was finalized that year, with "conflict of personalities" cited as the reason.
Bullock announced in 2010, that she had proceeded with plans to adopt a baby boy. Bullock and James had begun an initial adoption process four years earlier. Given the couple's separation and then divorce, Bullock continued the adoption of the baby, named Louis Bardo Bullock, as a single parent.