Charlize Theron (7.8.1975)
Charlize Theron is an Academy Award winning actress from South Africa. She became an American citizen in 2007.
Charlize Theron: Childhood
Charlize Theron was born to Gerda and Charles Theron, in Benoni, South Africa. She is of French and German descent. Charlize's first language is Afrikaans but also speaks English and some Zulu.
Theron was raised on her parents' farm near Johannesburg and she attended Putfontein Primary School. At 13 years old, she was sent to boarding school, where she began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. Two years later, Charlize would witness the death of her father. He was an abusive alcoholic and Gerda shot him in self-defence when he tried to attack her. No charges were brought against Gerda.
When she was 16, Charlize Theron travelled to Milan, Italy to complete a one-year modeling contract that she had won in a local competition. When the year was up, she moved to New York and signed to Pauline's Model Management. Whilst in New York, Theron attended the Joffrey Ballet School, though her dancing career was scuppered when she injured her knee at the age of 19.
Charlize Theron then moved to Los Angeles, where her path into acting took an unusual course. When a bank teller refused to cash a cheque that her mother had sent her, Charlize entered into a shouting match with the teller. A talent agent happened to be in the queue behind her at the bank, and handed her a business card.
The agent briefly worked as her manager but she soon fired him, as he was sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species. It was eight months into her stay in Los Angeles before she got her first film role. It was a non-speaking part in Children of the Corn III, which went straight to video.
However, more significant roles soon followed. In 1997, she appeared in Devil's Advocate, alongside Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino and the following year, she starred in Mighty Joe Young opposite Bill Paxton.
In 1999, Charlize Theron earned her first taste of Academy Award success when she appeared in the award-winning film The Cider House Rules. Although Theron herself was not nominated, the film was nominated for Best Picture (among other awards) and Michael Caine won Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The film also starred Erykah Badu, Tobey Maguire and Paul Rudd. Later that year, Vanity Fair magazine put Charlize Theron on the cover, dubbing her the 'White Hot Venus'.
In 2002, she worked alongside Courtney Love, Kevin Bacon and Dakota Fanning in Trapped.
A pivotal moment in Charlize Theron's career came in 2003 when she played Aileen Wuornos in Monster, based on the true story of a serial killer. In the film, Christina Ricci plays her lover. Theron won the Best Actress Oscar at the 76th Academy Awards, becoming the first African to win an Oscar. The win catapulted her Hollywood status and as a consequence, she earned $10 million for her next two films, North Country (with Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek and Woody Harrelson) and Aeon Flux (a science fiction action film starring Sophie Okonedo and Jonny Lee Miller). She joined the ranks of Cameron Diaz, Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore as one of the highest paid actresses in the US film industry.
In September 2005, Charlize Theron was granted her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the third series of the acclaimed comedy show Arrested Development, Charlize Theron played the role of Rita, Michael Bluth's (Jason Bateman) love interest. The series also starred Portia de Rossi and Michael Cera.
Charlize Theron received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her role as Britt Ekland in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. The title role was played by Geoffrey Rush.
2008 saw Theron star alongside Will Smith in Hancock, which grossed almost $400 million across the world. Later that year, she was asked by Ban Ki-Moon to become a UN Messenger of Peace. It was also reported that Charlize Theron would star alongside Nicole Kidman in The Danish Girl, the story of the first known person to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
Charlize Theron: Personal Life
Charlize Theron lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend Stuart Townsend.