Orlando Bloom Profile
Born: 13 January 1977
Where: Canterbury, Kent, England
Height: 5' 11"
Awards: No major awards
Orlando was born in Canterbury, Kent on the 13th of January, 1977. His mother, Sonia, was a businesswoman and writer, who ran a language school for foreign students, while his father, Harry, was a Professor of Law at the University of Kent. In the eyes of millions, Harry was a hero. A South African, he had spent much of his life battling against apartheid. And he had not done this by penning a few outraged essays while cocooned in some academic safehouse. Harry had been out there on the frontline, working as a lawyer alongside the likes of Nelson Mandela. His first novel, Episode (later titled Transvaal Episode), published in 1956, had described an uprising in a township following the ANC's campaign of defiance in 1952-3. The book had been banned by the authorities who believed it might stir up racial tension and endanger the state. Harry was now a marked man. His second novel, Whittaker's Wife, was written while he was behind bars serving a 3-month sentence.
These were important books. Exported across the world, for many they were the first glimpse of the horrors of South African apartheid. And consequently for many they marked the beginning of the fight to set things right. The South African state knew this and persecuted Bloom without cease. Come 1963, he exiled himself to Canterbury.
Sadly, Harry Bloom died when Orlando was four, leaving Sonia to raise the boy and his sister Samantha, two years his senior. She did a fine job. Canterbury had a strong hippy history and a continuing ken for creative bohemianism, and Sonia fitted in well. She would constantly encourage her children in their artistic endeavours and, by her influence, young Orlando would become fascinated by language, photography, and art. He'd also be an avid horse-rider, something that would stand him in good stead in his breakthrough film role.
And, of course, there would be drama. As a kid he would always appear in school plays, his enthusiasm and early abilities usually earning him a plum role. Sonia would take the kids to see plays and musicals whenever possible. Then, at age 12, spending one Christmas in Boston with family, his cousin, an art director working in Los Angeles, rented a heap of videos to watch over the festive period.