Hot Pictures Actress Biography
(General American pronunciation:Afrikaans pronunciation:; born 7 August 1975) is an actress and fashion model who started her acting career in the United States. She rose to fame in the late 1990s following roles in The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999). Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama, the Silver Bear and many other awards for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003), becoming the first South African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. In recent years she has also moved into the field of producing, both in television and film.
She received further Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in North Country in 2005, and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Young Adult in 2011. In 2012 she appeared in Snow White & the Huntsman and Prometheus. Theron became a US citizen in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship.
Theron was born in Benoni, in the then-Transvaal Province of South Africa, the only child of Gerda (née Maritz; who has also called herself Gerta) and Charles Theron (born 27 November 1947). Second Boer War figure Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle. Her ancestry includes French, German, and Dutch; her French forebears were early Huguenot settlers in South Africa. "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as [tron], although she has said that the way she pronounces it in South Africa is [θron]. She changed the pronunciation when she moved to the U.S. to give it a more "American" sound.
She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. Her father was lawfully killed by her mother with a firearm on 21 June 1991. Theron's father, an alcoholic, physically attacked her mother and threatened both her mother and her while drunk. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defense and her mother faced no charges.
Theron attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein), a period she later characterised as not "fitting in". At 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. Although Theron is fluent in English (which she speaks with a General American accent), her first language is Afrikaans.
Although seeing herself as a dancer, Theron at 16 won a one-year modeling contract at a local competition in Salerno and with her mother moved to Milan, Italy. After Theron spent a year modeling throughout Europe, she and her mother moved to New York City and Miami, Florida. In New York, she attended the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer until a knee injury closed this career path. As Theron recalled in 2008,
I went to New York for three days to model, and then I spent a winter in New York in a friend's windowless basement apartment. I was broke, I was taking class at the Joffrey Ballet, and my knees gave out. I realized I couldn’t dance anymore, and I went into a major depression. My mom came over from South Africa and said, "Either you figure out what to do next or you come home, because you can sulk in South Africa."
At 19, Theron flew to Los Angeles, California, on a one-way ticket her mother bought her, intending now to work in the movie industry. During her early months there, she went to a Hollywood Boulevard bank to cash a check her mother had sent her to help with the rent. When the teller refused to cash it, Theron engaged in a shouting match with him. Upon seeing this, talent agent John Crosby, in line behind her, handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to 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. After several 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). Her first speaking role was a supporting but significant and attention-garnering part as a hitwoman in 2 Days in the Valley (1996). Larger roles in widely released Hollywood films followed, and her career expanded in the late 1990s with box-office successes like The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999). She was on the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair as the "White Hot Venus". She also appeared on the cover of the May 1999 issue of Playboy magazine. However, the nude photos inside the issue had been taken several years earlier before she became famous and Theron unsuccessfully sued the magazine for publishing the photos without her consent. She starred in four films in 2000 - Reindeer Games, The Yards, The Legend of Bagger Vance and Men of Honor - and was briefly considered a new It girl. Theron has said of this period in her career that, "I kept finding myself in a place where directors would back me but studios didn't. [I began] a love affair with directors, the ones I really, truly admired. I found myself making really bad movies, too. Reindeer Games was not a good movie, but I did it because I loved John Frankenheimer."
Theron at the premiere of North Country at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005
After appearing in other films, Theron starred as 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 US$10 million 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. AskMen also named her the number one most desirable woman of 2003.
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 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. On 30 September, Theron received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the same year, she starred in the financially unsuccessful science fiction thriller Æon Flux. She also received the 2005 Spike Video Game Award for Best Performance by a Human Female for her voiceover work in the Æon Flux video game.