It is the prevailing opinion amongst most people that the majority of actors are pretty but dumb. It is the multi-billion dollar tabloid industry in fact that helps promote these ideas and circulate them throughout the populace. Though there is no doubt that a great deal of actors and actresses these days are beautiful but lacking in the common sense and the whits department, I want to put the kabosh on the fact that they all are. Here is a list of some actors that are fluent in multiple languages. As one who speaks one and a half languages, I can attest that keeping up more than one in my head at a time is no mean feat.
The always lovely and charming Sandra Bullock is more than just America’s funny lady. She has become more known of late for her authentic screen presence which can be seen in movies like “The Blind Side” for which she won an Academy Award. Her mother, Helga Meyer, was a German opera singer who met Bullock’s father John while he was stationed in Nuremberg. As a child, Sandra spent several years living in Germany and Austria. When she won a German film award in 2000 she gave the entire acceptance speech in flawless German as well as delivering press conferences in German while she is there.
A native of Benoni, South Africa, Charlize Theron speaks fluent Afrikaans, her first language. Because of her flawless English, the average viewer is shocked that she did not learn English until later in life. Theron was the very first South African to win an Academy Award for her work in the 2004 film “Monster.”
Foster attended prep school at Lycee Francias de Los Angeles growing up (at this school they teach every single lesson in French through all the years). Here she was her class valedictorian, (which says a lot at these snooty prep schools) and spoke French fluently. She took a break from her childhood acting to attend Yale University. Foster has won 2 Academy Awards and she performs the French Dubbing for all of her movies herself.
Viggo Mortensen was born in New York City to his Danish father and American mother. He speaks Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian and French. It is crazy to think that he could be fluent in all these languages, but it is said that he sounds like a native speaker with each and every one of them. He was the translator for the 1980 Swedish Olympic Hockey team and attended the “miracle” game between the United States and the USSR.
Los Angeles native Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio speaks German fluently, thanks to his mother Iremlin, who was a German native. She survived a bombing raid during World War II, and married George DiCaprio, a comic book artist.
An Oregon native, Jon Heder made his film debut in 2004’s cult favorite “Napoleon Dynamite.” Heder lived and worked in Japan for 2 years and is said to speak the language expertly. He is married, has kids and does a great deal of movie translation work for Japanese subtitles.