Charlize Theron (born August 7, 1975) is an Academy Award-winning
South African actress.
Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, South Africa. Her father, Charles
Theron, was a construction company owner of French Huguenot descent;
her mother, Gerda, is of German descent and took over her husband's
business after his death. Charlize Theron's first language is Afrikaans,
and her second is English. "Theron" is a French surname
pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has stated
that she prefers the pronunciation "Thrown".
Charlize Theron grew up as the only child on her parents' farm
near Johannesburg (Benoni) and was sent to a boarding school at
the age of thirteen. At fifteen, Charlize Theron witnessed the death
of her father; he was an abusive alcoholic, and her mother shot
him in self defense when he attacked her. No charges were pressed.
At the age of sixteen, Charlize Theron travelled to Milan, Italy
on a one-year modelling contract, after winning a local competition.
Her contract ended while she was in New York City, and she decided
to remain there, attending the Joffrey Ballet School, where she
trained as a ballet dancer. A knee injury ended this career path
at the age of 18.
Unable to dance, she bought a ticket to Los Angeles. 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. She followed
this with larger roles in widely released Hollywood films, and her
career skyrocketed in the late 1990s, with box office successes
like The Devil's Advocate, The Cider House Rules, and Mighty Joe
The May 1999 issue of Playboy published nude photos of Charlize
Theron, taken during the early years of her modeling career. Claiming
they had been "for private use", Charlize Theron ended
up suing photographer Guido Argentini.
After appearing in a few notable films, Charlize Theron starred
as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster (2003). Receiving
praise for her performance (film critic Roger Ebert called it "one
of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema"),
Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Oscar 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.
Having signed a deal with John Galliano in 2004, Charlize Theron
replaced Estonian model Tiiu Kuik in the J'ADORE advertisements
by Christian Dior; she is the current spokeswoman for Dior perfume.
On September 30, 2005, she received her own bronze star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame. In the same year, she starred in the financially unsuccessful
science fiction thriller Æon Flux and was given positive reviews,
as well as a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination, for her lead
performance in the drama North Country. She had also been nominated
for an Oscar as a lead actress for the role, although she did not
win; this was her second nomination.
In 2005, Charlize Theron also portrayed Rita, Michael Bluth's (Jason
Bateman) love interest on the third season of FOX's critically acclaimed
sitcom, Arrested Development.
Charlize Theron dated the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, Stephan
Jenkins, from January 1998 to July 2001. Jenkins broke up with her
after failing to take her requests of marriage seriously. Charlize
Theron now resides in Los Angeles with her long-term boyfriend,
Stuart Townsend, with whom she starred in the 2004 film, Head in
the Clouds as well as in the 2002 film, Trapped; she has said that
she will not marry him until same-sex couples are able to have their
marriages recognized. In October 2005, her mother, Gerda, was married
in California. The media thought that Charlize was the one getting
married (to Townsend) and the paparazzi got as close as they could
for the photos.
While filming Æon Flux in Berlin, Germany, Charlize Theron
had surgery on a herniated cervical disc in her neck, the result
of an injury incurred on the set during a stunt.
Charlize Theron is also involved in women's rights organizations.
She has tried to apply for a German passport because of her mother's
German ancestry, but was turned down because she did not have any
family members currently residing there.
2005 Æon Flux Æon Flux
2005 North Country Josey Aimes
2004 Head in the Clouds Gilda Bessé (limited release)
2003 Monster Aileen Wuornos
2003 The Italian Job Stella Bridger
2002 Waking Up in Reno Candy Kirkendall
2002 Trapped Karen Jennings
2001 Sweet November Sara Deever
2000 The Legend of Bagger Vance Adele Invergordon
2000 The Yards Erica Stoltz
2000 Reindeer Games Ashley Mercer
1999 The Cider House Rules Candy Kendall
1999 The Astronaut's Wife Jillian Armacost
1998 Mighty Joe Young Jill Young
1998 Celebrity Supermodel
1997 The Devil's Advocate Mary Ann Lomax
1997 Trial and Error Billie Tyler
1996 2 Days in the Valley Helga Svelgen
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