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Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron (IPA: ʃɑ:rˈliːz θəˈrɒn; born August 7, 1975), is an Academy Award-winning South African-born American actress, film producer and former fashion model. She is best known for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Acting career

At the age of 16, Theron traveled to Milan, Italy, on a one-year modeling contract, after winning a local competition. She went to New York with Pauline's Model Management. She decided to remain after her contract ended, attending the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer. A knee injury closed this career path when Theron was 19.

Unable to dance, Theron flew to Los Angeles on a one-way ticket her mother bought her. During her early months there, she went to a bank to cash a check her mother had sent her to help with the rent. When the teller refused to cash it, Theron immediately started into a shouting match with her. Afterwards, a talent agent in line behind her handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to some casting agents and also an acting school. She later fired him as her manager after he kept sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species, which would have traded solely on her appearance.

After eight months in the city, she was cast in her first film part, a non-speaking role in the direct-to-video film Children of the Corn III (1995). Larger roles in widely released Hollywood films followed, and her career skyrocketed in the late 1990s with box office successes like The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999).

After appearing in a few notable films, Theron starred as the serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003). Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema". For this role, Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004, as well as the SAG Award and the Golden Globe Award. She is the first South African to win an Oscar for Best Actress. The Oscar win pushed her to The Hollywood Reporter's 2006 list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood; earning $10,000,000 for both her subsequent films, North Country and Æon Flux, she ranked seventh, behind Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Renée Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman.

On September 30, 2005, Theron received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the same year, she starred in the financially unsuccessful science fiction thriller Æon Flux,. Additionally, Theron received Best Actress Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her lead performance in the drama North Country. Ms. magazine also honored her for this performance with a feature article in its Fall 2005 issue.

In 2005, Theron portrayed Rita, Michael Bluth's (Jason Bateman) love interest, on the third season of FOX's critically-acclaimed television series Arrested Development. She also received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her role of Britt Ekland in the 2004 HBO movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

In 2008, Theron was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year.

Promotional deals

Having signed a deal with John Galliano in 2004, Theron replaced Estonian model Tiiu Kuik as the spokeswoman in the J'ADORE advertisements by Christian Dior. From October 2005 to December 2006, Theron earned $3,000,000 for the use of her image in a worldwide print media advertising campaign for Raymond Weil watches. In February 2006, she and her loan-out corporation were sued by Weil for breach of contract.

Awards and other recognition

Academy Award
Golden Globe Award
Berlin Film Festival
GLAAD Media Awards
Hasty Pudding Theatricals

In May 2006, Maxim named Theron #25 in its annual "Hot 100" issue. In October 2007, Esquire named Theron The Sexiest Woman Alive in its annual issue.

Activism

Theron is involved in women's rights organizations, and marched for abortion rights. Theron is a supporter of animal rights and active member of PETA. She recently appeared in a PETA ad for their anti-fur campaign.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest Young Woman Uncredited
1996 2 Days in the Valley Helga Svelgen
That Thing You Do! Tina Powers
1997 Trial and Error Billie Tyler
The Devil's Advocate Mary Ann Lomax
1998 Celebrity Supermodel
Mighty Joe Young Jill Young
1999 The Astronaut's Wife Jillian Armacost
The Cider House Rules Candy Kendall Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2000 Reindeer Games Ashley Mercer
The Yards Erica Stoltz
The Legend of Bagger Vance Adele Invergordon
Men of Honor Gwen Sunday
2001 Sweet November Sara Deever
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion Laura Kensington
15 Minutes Rose Heam
2002 Trapped Karen Jennings
Waking Up in Reno Candy Kirkendall
2003 The Italian Job Stella Bridger
Monster Aileen Wuornos Academy Award for Best Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture
Year Film Role Notes
2004 The Life and Death of Peter Sellers Britt Ekland Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Head in the Clouds Gilda Bessé
2005 North Country Josey Aimes Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture
Æon Flux Æon Flux
2007 In the Valley of Elah Det. Emily Sanders
2008 Sleepwalking Joleen Also producer
Hancock Mary Embrey
Battle in Seattle Ella Stuart Townsend directing
2009 The Brazilian Job Stella Bridger Announced

Personal life

Theron was born in Benoni, South Africa, the daughter and only child of Charles and Gerda Theron, and is of German and French descent. Theron's first language is Afrikaans; she is fluent in English and speaks some Xhosa. "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has said that she prefers the pronunciation "Thrown".

Theron grew up on her parents' farm near Johannesburg (Benoni). She attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein). At the age of 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School Of The Arts in Johannesburg. At 15, Theron witnessed the death of her father, an abusive alcoholic; Gerda shot him in self-defense when he attacked her. The police pressed no charges against her.

From January 1998 to July 2001, Theron dated the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, Stephan Jenkins. Jenkins ended the relationship after failing to take her marriage requests seriously.

Theron resides in Los Angeles, in the home of late 1930s actress Helen Twelvetrees, with her long-time boyfriend Stuart Townsend, with whom she starred in the 2004 film Head in the Clouds, as well as in the 2002 film Trapped and uncredited 2005 Æon Flux. She, like Sarah Silverman, and Brad Pitt, has said that she will not marry until same-sex couples are able to have their marriages recognized. Townsend recently stated he considers himself and Theron to be husband and wife. "We didn't have a ceremony," he said. "I don't need a certificate or the state or the church to say otherwise. So no there's no big official story on a wedding, but we are married... I consider her my wife and she considers me her husband".

While filming Æon Flux in Berlin, Germany, Theron had suffered a herniated disc in her neck, which occurred as a result of her suffering a fall while filming a series of back handsprings. This required her to wear a neck collar for a month.

Theron became a naturalized citizen of the United States in May 2007.

References

External links

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