Born Diane Heidkrüger in Hildesheim, Germany, Diane Kruger initially aspired to be a dancer and studied with the Royal Ballet in London. When an injury ended her hopes for a dancing career, she began modeling in Germany, where she became a finalist of the Look of the Year contest at the age of 15. She worked with renowned fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana, and her pictures graced the covers of magazines like Vogue and Elle. Moving to Paris on the advice of film director Luc Besson, Kruger decided to take up acting and enrolled in the Ecole Florent, where she became top of her class in 2002. The same year, the actress made her big-screen debut opposite Dennis Hopper and Christopher Lambert in the indie feature The Piano Player (aka The Target), but she was not truly revealed until her role in Mon Idole, co-starring and directed by her then-real-life companion Guillaume Canet. After a couple more acting assignments in France, Kruger began her Hollywood career by acting alongside Josh Hartnett and Rose Byrne in Wicker Park, a remake of the 1996 French film L'Appartement. While still filming Wicker Park in 2003, she was selected among many other candidates to play the legendary beauty Helen of Troy in Wolfgang Petersen's historical epic Troy (2004). The latter film ended up being released before Wicker Park, thus becoming her high-profile introduction to the American public. She also starred opposite Nicolas Cage in Jon Turteltaub's National Treasure. In 2009 she had a small but important part in Quentin Tarantino's award-winning Inglourious Basterds. She followed that up with roles in Inhale and Unknown and branched out to American TV with The Bridge. Kruger played a supporting role in The Infiltrator, opposite Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo, in 2016.
Biography by Yuri German
- Studied with the Royal Ballet in London until an injury halted her dream of becoming a ballerina.
- Was a finalist in a modeling competition at the age of 15.
- Decided to pursue an acting career full time at the urging of French director Luc Besson.
- Was an unknown actress when she beat out more than 2000 other women for the role of Helen in the 2004 film Troy.
- Hostess for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
- Named a global spokesperson for L'Oréal in 2009.
- Was awarded the French Order of Arts and Letters in 2014.