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Jodie Foster's Breakout Role You Totally Forgot About

Jodie Foster is undeniably one of the greatest acting talents of her generation. Her list of awards include two Best Actress Oscars — one for her portrayal of a waitress who is the victim of a gang rape in 1988's "The Accused" and the other for her role as FBI agent Clarice Starling in 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs." While Foster doesn't appear in as many films as she used to, she was one of Hollywood's most prolific and successful actors from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s. The Los Angeles native had unparalleled range and was as captivating in the everyday weirdness of "Hotel New Hampshire" as she was in "Contact," a familiar story in an extraordinary setting.

Foster's films have grossed more than $2 billion, including nine movies that earned more than $100 million each. But we might not even know her name had she not been cast by Martin Scorsese in a controversial role when she was just 12 years old.

Jodie Foster played a 12-year old prostitute in Taxi Driver

The 1976 classic "Taxi Driver" follows cabby Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) as he winds his way through the dirty and crime-filled streets of New York City. In his travels he meets Foster's character, a young prostitute named Iris Steensma. The film put the pre-teen Foster in a role that would have challenged any adult, and her performance is so brilliant that it is often easy to forget how young she is. She earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the role and became one of the few successful child actors to go on to similar accomplishments as an adult.

At the end of "Taxi Driver," Travis murders Iris' pimp Sport (Harvey Keitel) in front of her, leaving her sobbing while he searches for a gun with a bullet left for his own head in one of the most powerful and iconic scenes in movie history. Foster has the last line of dialogue in the scene, a plea for Travis to spare Sport's life, and carries the climax through its last two minutes with her terrified sobs.

"Taxi Driver" often appears on lists of the greatest movies of all time and Foster's portrayal of Iris is a primary reason why.