Childhood & Early Life
Isla Fisher was born in Muscat, Oman, on February 3, 1976, to Scottish parents, Elspeth Reid and Brian Fisher. Her father was a banker who worked for the United Nations in Oman and her mother was a writer.
Fisher moved to Australia with her family when she was six years old and was raised with her four siblings. She attended Swanbourne Primary School and later enrolled at the Methodist Ladies' College in Perth.
Fisher used to take part in school productions regularly, mostly in lead roles. She appeared in productions like ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, a popular horror comedy rock musical.
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Isla Fisher started acting at a tender age. She appeared in many television commercials as a child actor. In 1993, she made her television debut with guest roles in children’s television series like ‘Paradise Beach’ and ‘Bay City’.
After her guest appearance in ‘Paradise Beach,’ she was given her first chance to play a lead role in 1994. Fisher was offered the role of ‘Shannon Reed’ in the Australian television soap opera ‘Home and Away’. She was part of the show between 1994 and 1997, appearing in a total of 345 episodes. The role was really challenging for her as she portrayed the character of a confused young woman who realizes she is bisexual and develops an eating disorder in the show.
Fisher earned her fair share of praise from the critics as well as the audience during her time with ‘Home and Away’. After that, she went to Paris and enrolled at L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq to master her acting skills. She travelled a lot, working in different theaters and also appeared in pantomime in the United Kingdom.
From the UK, Fisher moved to Hollywood in the USA and appeared in the 2002 American live-action computer-animated family comedy adventure film ‘Scooby-Doo’. The film was based on the animated series of the same name, from the Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc... Her entry in the film industry was “smooth and lucky” according to her, and she became a part of a commercially successful film in her very debut in Hollywood.
In the next two years, Fisher played some supporting roles in films like ‘The Wannabes’ (as ‘Kirsty’) in 2003; Scott Caan directorial ‘Dallas 362,’ also in 2003; and the 2004 comedy drama movie ‘I Heart Huckabees’.
In 2005, Fisher was offered the role of a seemingly sexually aggressive daughter of a politician in ‘Wedding Crashers.’ Her character, ‘Gloria Cleary’, falls in love with the wedding crasher, Vince Vaughn’s character ‘Jeremy Grey’. The film was a commercial success and Fisher’s role added a certain charm to the script. She earned two nominations at the Teen Choice Awards and won the Breakthrough Performance Award at the MTV Movie Awards for her performance in the film.
Fisher continued to receive offers from Hollywood producers and appeared in the film ‘London’, an independent drama, featuring Chris Evans, Jason Statham and Jessica Biel. She also appeared in the 2006 romantic film ‘Wedding Daze’, playing the character of a waitress who keeps falling for grieving young men.
In 2007, she appeared alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the crime thriller ‘The Lookout’. Her character ‘Luvlee’ was used as a ‘honeytrap’ by a gang leader. She also appeared in films like ‘Hot Rod’ and ‘Definitely, Maybe’; in the latter, she appeared alongside Ryan Reynolds, Elizabeth Banks, and Rachel Weisz.
Fisher was offered the chance to voice the character of ‘Dr. Mary Lou Larue’ in ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ in 2008, an animated adventure comedy film. She was one of the star-packed lineup which also featured the likes of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Will Arnett. Fisher would later go on to appear in many animated films as a voice artist after this.
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She appeared in the 2009 American romantic comedy film ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ as ‘Rebecca Bloomwood’, a college graduate who works as a journalist in New York City. The film was based on Sophie Kinsella’s ‘Shopaholic’ series. The film did not receive too many positive reviews, but it ended up as a commercially successful film nonetheless. During the time of the filming, Fisher was pregnant and she came back four months after a break to complete her shooting.
In 2011, Fisher again worked as a voice artist. She was part of the film ‘Rango’ (voice of ‘Beans’) which was a great success, both commercially and critically. She was cast alongside Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, and Alfred Molina. She won the Best Animated Female award at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards.
In 2012, she voiced the character of ‘Tooth Fairy’ in the 3D animated film ‘Rise of the Guardians’. She was again nominated at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards in the Best Animated Female category, though she failed to win it this time.
Fisher’s two big roles came in 2013. She was signed for the role of ‘Henley Reeves’, one of the four illusionists in the American heist thriller film ‘Now You See Me’. The film was a huge success and her role in the movie was warmly accepted.
She then appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in the 2013 romance drama film ‘The Great Gatsby’. She was nominated for multiple awards including the AACTA Award, the Australian Film Critics Association Award, and Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.
Her more recent works include the films ‘Visions’ (2015), ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’ (2016), and ‘Nocturnal Animals’ (2016). She is also an author with two teen novels ‘Bewitched’ and ‘Seduced by Fame,’ to her credit.
During her long acting career, Fisher has acted in many television shows as well as films, but the Australian soap opera ‘Home and Away’ remains her biggest work till date. She was part of the show for four years, from 1994 to 1997, appearing in almost 350 episodes. She played the character of a bisexual young woman suffering from an eating disorder and confidence issues. The character was even more challenging for the actress because of her young age and inexperience. She earned two nominations at the Logie Awards, for Most Popular New Talent in 1995 and for Most Popular Actress in 1997.
In 2013, she portrayed the role of a stage magician and an escapist in the American thriller film ‘Now You See Me’. She was one of the five lead characters of the film. The film grossed more than US$350 million worldwide and her role in the film was of such importance that it became a hot topic of debate when the makers revealed she will not be part of the sequel.
Isla Fisher started dating English actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen after they first met at a party in Australia in 2002. The couple got engaged in 2004 and later got married in 2010, three years after their first child, daughter Olive, was born.
Their second daughter Elula was born in 2011 and their only son (their third child), Montgomery was born in 2015. Before they got married, Fisher converted to Judaism and took the Hebrew name ‘Ayala’.
Fisher and her husband Cohen have been actively involved in various social causes. She has donated to various projects and Cohen once donated US$500,000 to ‘Save the Children’, a program to vaccinate children in Northern Syria against measles. They again donated US$500,000 to the International Rescue Committee, to help and support Syrian refugees in 2015.