Orlando Bloom became a star and instant heart-throb as elfin warrior Legolas in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Not bad for someone who got the role just 48 hours before finishing his drama degree. "One minute I'm in school, the next I have my own action figure," says the star, who cites Christopher Reeve's Superman as his inspiration to act. "It's awesome."
Named after the 17-century composer Orlando Gibbons - rather than the Virginia Woolf novel, as is so often reported - Orlando Bloom was born in Canterbury, England, on January 13, 1977. As a youngster, Orlando believed South African lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Harry Bloom was his father. A friend and colleague of Nelson Mandela, Harry died in 1981 when Orlando was just four years old. It was later revealed, however, that Colin Stone, a family friend long-thought to be only Orlando's guardian, was in fact the actor's father.
Raised by his mother along with elder sister Samantha, he left Canterbury's St Edmunds school aged 16 to pursue his dream with the National Youth Theatre. One year after receiving a scholarship to attend the British American Drama Academy in London in 1995 he entered the city's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1999, he graduated and at the same time scooped a starring role in Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
His career soared following the high-profile part, but Orlando's big break actually came after his memorable 1997 feature film debut as a "rent boy" in Wilde, the Oscar Wilde biopic. The part was only one line, but his on-screen charisma drew a flurry of film and TV offers. However, the aspiring actor had other plans. "I wasn't influenced," he says. "I always planned to go to drama school. I suppose I could have trained in the industry more; but, instead, I chose an environment that would be more conducive to experimenting."
Later, during the filming of Lord Of The Rings the self-described "adrenalin junkie" would do some experimenting of his own, using his spare time to learn surfing, skydiving, white-water rafting and bungee jumping.
He also courted danger on-set, cracking a rib during a stunt on horseback. However, the injury wasn't exactly a new experience; he's also broken his back, ribs, nose, both legs, arm, wrist, finger and toe, as well as fracturing his skull three times in past incidents. "I'm rather accident-prone, I have to admit," he says in an understatement.
Superman aside, Orlando confesses to "getting into acting 'cos of the women" the screen hunk has been linked with celebs such as Jemma Kidd, Christina Ricci and Kate Bosworth and freely admits to being a romantic. "I once flew to Dubai just to hang out with a girl," he recalls. "Another time I had a crush on this girl and sent her an airline ticket from Ireland to London so she could come and visit me." The tale comes to an unsurprising conclusion. "She came," he says.
Then in 2007, Orlando met the girl who would become his wife - Australian model Miranda Kerr. The extremely private pair did their best to keep their romance out of the spotlight, and in July 2010 announced they had wed in secret. The birth of their first child remained similarly hush-hush, with reports filtering through the press that a son had been born in early 2011. Weighing almost ten pounds, the little one's arrival was first reported by X17 after a photographer overheard the Pirates of the Caribbean star talking about "my son".
After Lord Of The Rings wrapped, Orlando moved on to 2003's big budget flick Pirates Of The Caribbean also featuring Johnny Depp, Ned Kelly with Geoffrey Rush and Troy, in which he starred alongside Brad Pitt and Peter O´Toole. And with so much work in the pipeline, the handsome daredevil likes to take it a bit more easy these days when he's away from the set. "When I'm not working, I prefer to sit and do nothing," he says. "Go to a beach, go for a walk. The simple things have suddenly become more enjoyable."