Halle Berry (pronounced /ˈhæli ˈbɛri/; born August 14, 1966) is an American actress, former fashion model, and beauty queen. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was also nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball, becoming the first and, as of 2009, only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress. She is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She has also been involved in the production side of several of her films.
Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing runner-up in the Miss USA (1986), and winning the Miss USA World 1986 title. Her breakthrough feature film role was in the 1991 Jungle Fever. This led to roles in The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), X-Men (2000) and its sequels, and as Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day (2002). She also won a worst actress Razzie Award in 2005 for Catwoman and accepted the award in person.
Divorced from baseball player David Justice and musician Eric Benét, Berry dated French-Canadian model Gabriel Aubry for 4 years. Their first child, a girl named Nahla Ariela Aubry, was born on March 16, 2008,.
Halle Berry Early life,
Berry was born Maria Halle Berry, though her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry in 1971.Berry's parents selected her middle name from Halle's Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother, Judith Ann (née Hawkins), who is Caucasian, was a psychiatric nurse. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was an African American hospital attendant in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked; he later became a bus driver. Berry's maternal grandmother, Nellie Dicken, was born in Sawley, Derbyshire, England, while her maternal grandfather, Earl Ellsworth Hawkins, was born in Ohio. Berry's parents divorced when she was four years old; she and her older sister Heidi were raised exclusively by her mother. Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood, noting in 1992, "I haven't heard from him since [he left]. Maybe he's not alive."
Berry graduated from Bedford High School, afterward working in the children's department at Higbee's Department store. She then studied at Cuyahoga Community College. In the 1980s, she entered several beauty contests, winning Miss Teen All-American in 1985 and Miss Ohio USA in 1986. She was the 1986 Miss USA first runner-up to Christy Fichtner of Texas. In the Miss USA 1986 pageant interview competition, she said she hoped to become an entertainer or to have something to do with the media. Her interview was awarded the highest score by the judges.She was the first African-American Miss World entrant in 1986, where she finished sixth and Trinidad and Tobago's Giselle Laronde was crowned Miss World.
In 1989, during the taping of the short-lived television series Living Dolls, Berry lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1,.
Halle Berry Acting career,
Berry, as Miss Ohio USA 1987, preparing to embark on a USO tour with other Miss USA 1986 contestants
In the late 1980s, Berry went to Illinois to pursue a modeling career as well as acting. One of her first acting projects was a television series for local cable by Gordon Lake Productions called Chicago Force. In 1989, Berry landed the role of Emily Franklin in the short-lived ABC television series Living Dolls (a spin-off of Who's the Boss?). She went on to have a recurring role on the long running serial Knots Landing. In 1992, Berry was cast as the love interest in the video for R. Kelly's seminal single, "Honey Love".
Her breakthrough feature film role was in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, in which she played a drug addict named Vivian. Her first co-starring role was in the 1991 film Strictly Business. In 1992, Berry portrayed a career woman who falls for Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy Boomerang. That same year, she caught the public's attention as a headstrong biracial slave in the TV adaptation of Queen: The Story of an American Family, based on the book by Alex Haley. Berry was in the live-action Flintstones movie as "Sharon Stone", the sultry secretary who seduced Fred Flintstone.
Playing a former drug addict struggling to regain custody of her son in Losing Isaiah (1995), Berry tackled a more serious role, starring opposite co-star Jessica Lange. She portrayed Sandra Beecher in Race the Sun (1996), which was based on a true story, and co-starred alongside Kurt Russell in Executive Decision. From 1996 onwards, she was a Revlon spokeswoman for seven years and renewed her contract in 2004.
In 1998, Berry received praise for her role in Bulworth as an intelligent woman raised by activists who gives a politician (Warren Beatty) a new lease on life. The same year, she played the singer Zola Taylor, one of the three wives of pop singer Frankie Lymon, in the biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love. In the 1999 HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, she portrayed the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award.Berry's performance was recognized with several awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
In 2001, Berry appeared as Leticia Musgrove, the wife of an executed murderer, in the film Monster's Ball. Her performance was awarded the National Board of Review and the Screen Actors Guild prizes, and in an interesting coincidence she became the first African-American woman to receive a Best Leading Actress Academy Award (earlier in her career she portrayed Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Actress). The NAACP issued the statement: "Congratulations to Halle Berry and Denzel Washington for giving us hope and making us proud. If this is a sign that Hollywood is finally ready to give opportunity and judge performance based on skill and not on skin color then it is a good thing." Her role also generated controversy. Berry's graphic, nude love scene with a racist character played by co-star Billy Bob Thornton was the subject of much media chatter and discussion among African-Americans. Many in the African-American community were critical of Berry for taking the part.Berry responded: "I don't really see a reason to ever go that far again. That was a unique movie. That scene was special and pivotal and needed to be there, and it would be a really special script that would require something like that again."
Berry signs autographs for US soldiers in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Berry asked for a higher fee for Revlon advertisements after winning the Academy Award, and Ron Perelman, the cosmetics firm's chief, congratulated her, saying how happy he was that she modeled for his company. She replied, "Of course, you'll have to pay me more." Perelman stalked off in a rage. Her win at the Academy Awards led to two famous "Oscar moments." In accepting her award, she gave an acceptance speech honoring previous black actresses who had never had the opportunity. She said, "This moment is so much bigger than me. This is for every nameless, faceless woman of colour who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened." One year later, as she presented the Best Actor award, winner Adrien Brody ran on stage and, instead of giving her the standard peck on the cheek, planted a long kiss on Berry.
Berry portrayed the mutant superhero Storm in the film adaptation of the comic book series X-Men (2000) and its sequels, X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). In 2001, Berry appeared in the film Swordfish, which featured her first on-screen nude scene. At first, she refused to be filmed topless in a sunbathing scene, but she changed her mind when Warner Brothers raised her fee substantially. The brief flash of her breasts added $500,000 to her fee. Berry considered these stories to be rumors and was quick to deny them. After turning down numerous roles that required nudity, she said she decided to make Swordfish because her husband, Benét, supported her and encouraged her to take risks,.
Halle Berry International success,
Berry in Hamburg in 2004,
As Bond girl Giacinta 'Jinx' Johnson in the 2002 blockbuster Die Another Day, Berry recreated a scene from Dr. No, emerging from the surf to be greeted by James Bond as Ursula Andress had 40 years earlier. Lindy Hemming insisted that she wear a bikini and knife as an homage. Berry has said of the scene: "It's splashy", "exciting", "sexy", "provocative" and "it will keep me still out there after winning an Oscar." The bikini scene was shot in Cadiz, the location was reportedly cold and windy, and footage has been released of Berry wrapped in thick towels in between takes to avoid catching a chill. According to a ITV news poll, Jinx was voted the fourth toughest girl on screen of all time. Berry was hurt during filming when debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye. It was removed in a 30-minute operation.
Because of winning the Academy Award, rewrites were commissioned to give Berry more screentime for X2.Berry stated during interviews for X2 that she would not return as Storm unless the character had a significant presence comparable to the comic-book version.
In November 2003, she starred in the psychological thriller Gothika opposite Robert Downey Jr., during which she broke her arm. Downey was supposed to grab her arm and twist but twisted too hard. Production was halted for eight weeks. It was a moderate hit at the United States box office, taking in $60 million; it earned another $80 million abroad. Berry appeared in the Limp Bizkit music video for "Behind Blue Eyes" for the motion picture soundtrack for the film. The same year, she was named #1 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll.In 2004 Berry was voted fourth of Empire magazine's 100 sexiest film stars of all time poll.
Berry received $12.5 million for the title role in the film Catwoman, a $100 million movie; it grossed $17 million on its first weekend.She was awarded a "worst actress" Razzie award in 2005 for this role. She appeared at the ceremony to accept the award in person (making her the third person, and second actor, to ever do so) with a sense of humor, considering it an experience of the "rock bottom" in order to be "at the top". Holding the Academy Award in one hand and the Razzie in the other she said, "I never in my life thought that I would be here, winning a Razzie. It's not like I ever aspired to be here, but thank you. When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there's no way you could be a good winner."The Fund for Animals praised Berry's compassion towards cats and for squelching rumors that she was keeping a Bengal tiger from the sets of Catwoman as a "pet."
Berry next appeared in the Oprah Winfrey-produced ABC TV movie Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005), an adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's novel, in which Berry portrayed Janie Crawford, a free-spirited woman whose unconventional sexual mores upset her 1920s contemporaries in her small community. For this TV film, she was nominated for an Emmy. Meanwhile, she voiced the character of Cappy, one of the many mechanical beings in the animated feature Robots (2005).
Berry on the red carpet of Robots
In 2006, Berry, Pierce Brosnan, Cindy Crawford, Jane Seymour, Dick Van Dyke, Tea Leoni, and Daryl Hannah successfully fought the Cabrillo Port Liquefied Natural Gas facility that was proposed off the coast of Malibu. Berry said "I care about the air we breathe, I care about the marine life and the ecosystem of the ocean."In May 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the facility. Hasty Pudding Theatricals gave her its 2006 Woman of The Year award.
Berry is involved in production of films and television. She served as executive producer on Introducing Dorothy Dandridge in 1999, and Lackawanna Blues in 2005. Berry produces as well as stars in the thriller Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis and Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio del Toro and Class Act, based on the real life story of a teacher whose students helped her run for political office. She will produce and star in the 2009 film Tulia, which will reunite her with Monster's Ball costar Billy Bob Thornton.
Berry is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, earning $10 million per film. In July 2007, she topped In Touch magazine's list of the world's most fabulous 40-something celebrities. On April 3, 2007, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry.
Berry has served many years as the face of Revlon cosmetics and also served as the face of Versace. The Coty Inc. fragrance company signed Berry to market her debut fragrance in March 2008. Berry was delighted, saying that she had created her own fragrances at home by mixing scents. She was paid $3–5 million with a royalty of about 5%,.
Halle Berry Personal life,
Berry at the 2003 Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA
Berry has been married twice. Her first marriage was to former baseball player David Justice, shortly after midnight on January 1, 1993. The couple separated in 1996 and their divorce was finalized in 1997.Justice played with the Atlanta Braves and experienced a measure of fame as the team rose to prominence in the early 1990s. The couple found it difficult to maintain their relationship while he was playing baseball and she was filming elsewhere. Berry has stated publicly that she was so depressed after her breakup with Justice that she considered taking her own life, but she could not bear the thought of her mother finding her body.
Berry's second marriage was to musician Eric Benét. They met in 1997 and married in early 2001 on a beach in Santa Barbara. Berry credited Benét with support after she was involved in a February 2000 traffic collision, in which she suffered a concussion and left the scene of the accident before the police arrived. Some in the media complained that her misdemeanor hit and run charge was preferential treatment; she had also been the driver in an alleged hit and run incident three years earlier in which no charges were filed. The incident became fodder for comedians. Berry pled no contest, did community service, paid a fine and was placed on three years' probation.A civil lawsuit was settled out of court.
The couple separated in 2003. After the separation, Berry stated, "I want love, and I will find it, hopefully". While married to Benét, Berry adopted his daughter, India. The divorce was finalized in January 2005.
Berry has been the victim of domestic violence, and now works to help other victims. In 2005, she said "Domestic violence is something I've known about since I was a child. My mother was a victim of it. Early on in my life I made choices, and I chose men that were abusive because that was what I knew growing up...First time it happened, I knew enough to keep moving."
In November 2005, Berry began dating French-Canadian supermodel Gabriel Aubry, nine years her junior. The couple met at a Versace photoshoot. After six months with Aubry, she stated in an interview, "I'm really happy in my personal life, which is a novelty to me. You know, I'm not the girl that has the best relationships".
At one point, Berry had indicated that she planned to adopt children, but her experience playing a mother in Things We Lost In The Fire opened her mind to the possibility of motherhood. After initially denying rumors, she confirmed in September 2007 that she was three months pregnant. Berry gave birth to a girl named Nahla Ariela Aubry on March 16, 2008 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Nahla means "honeybee" in Arabic; Ariela is Hebrew for "lion for God." Berry hired security guards after receiving racist threats to her unborn baby from a stalker saying her child will be "cut into hundreds of pieces."
At one time, Berry indicated that she did not intend to marry again,insisting the couple's life was already complete without the need for a marriage. She has stated that she hopes to have a second child right away. Aubry recently told In Touch magazine, "I'd like Nahla to have a sibling in 2009."
On April 30, 2010, it was reported that Berry and Aubry had separated. Berry's representative confirmed their relationship had ended a few days later, saying: 'They have been split for some time, but remain friends and committed parents to their daughter' They worked out a financial and 50/50 custody deal with a family lawyer, but TMZ reported that it is not final. The source said: "As much as it can be it's been an amicable split. They both traveled a lot for work anyway, so they were used to spending time apart for long periods, but I think Halle has taken it pretty badly, she truly loved Gabriel and thought she had found the one,."
Halle Berry In the media,
Berry at the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Parade, Cambridge, MA in February 2006
Berry has stated that the manner in which people have reacted to her is often the result of ignorance. Her own self-identification has been influenced by her mother. She is quoted as saying
After having many talks with my mother about the issue, she reinforced what she had always taught me. She said that even though you are half black and half white, you will be discriminated against in this country as a black person. People will not know when they see you that you have a white mother unless you wear a sign on your forehead. And, even if they did, so many people believe that if you have an ounce of black blood in you then you are black. So, therefore, I decided to let folks categorize me however they needed to.
While taping the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 19, 2007, Berry displayed a distorted image of her face, remarking: "Here's where I look like my Jewish cousin!" During the editing of the program, the comment was obscured by a laugh track. Berry later stated "What happened was I was backstage before the show and I have three girls who are Jewish who work for me. We were going through pictures to see which ones looked silly, and one of my Jewish friends said [of the big-nose picture], 'That could be your Jewish cousin!' And I guess it was fresh in my mind, and it just came out of my mouth. But I didn't mean to offend anybody. I didn't. I didn't mean any harm. – and after the show I realized it could be seen as offensive, so I asked Jay to take it out, and he did.'"
Berry took part in a nearly 2000-house party cell-phone bank campaign for Barack Obama in February 2008, and said that she will "collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear."
In October 2008, Berry was named Esquire Magazine's "Sexiest Woman Alive", about which she stated "I don't know exactly what it means, but being 42 and having just had a baby, I think I'll take it." She is quoted as saying to Esquire
You know that stuff they say about a woman being responsible for her own orgasms? That's all true, and, in my case, that makes me responsible for pretty damn good orgasms. They're much better orgasms than when I was 22, and I wouldn't let a man control that. Not anymore. Now, I'd invite them to participate,.
Halle Berry Filmography,
Year Film Role Notes
1989 Living Dolls Emily Franklin TV (cancelled after 13 episodes)
1991 Amen Claire TV series, episode: "Unforgettable"
A Different World Jaclyn TV series, episode: "Love, Hillman-Style"
They Came from Outer Space Rene TV series, episode: "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow"
Knots Landing Debbie Porter TV (cast member in 1991)
Jungle Fever Vivian
Strictly Business Natalie
The Last Boy Scout Cory
1992 Boomerang Angela Lewis
1993 Queen: The Story of an American Family Queen NAACP Image Award
CB4 Herself Cameo
Father Hood Kathleen Mercer
The Program Autumn Haley
1994 The Flintstones Sharon Stone
1995 Solomon & Sheba Nikhaule/Queen Sheba TV
Losing Isaiah Khaila Richards
1996 Executive Decision Jean
Race the Sun Miss Sandra Beecher
Girl 6 Cameo
The Rich Man's Wife Josie Potenza
1997 B*A*P*S Nisi
1998 The Wedding Shelby Coles TV
Why Do Fools Fall in Love Zola Taylor
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Dorothy Dandridge Emmy
NAACP Image Award
2000 X-Men Ororo Munroe/Storm
Welcome to Hollywood Documentary
2001 Swordfish Ginger Knowles NAACP Image Award, BET Award
Monster's Ball Leticia Musgrove Academy Award for Best Actress
2002 Die Another Day Giacinta 'Jinx' Johnson NAACP Image Award
2003 X2: X-Men United Ororo Munroe/Storm
Gothika Miranda Grey BET Award
2004 Catwoman Patience Phillips / Catwoman Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
2005 Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Starks
Robots Cappy (Voice)
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Ororo Munroe/Storm
2007 Perfect Stranger Rowena Price
Things We Lost in the Fire Audrey Burke
2009 Frankie and Alice Frankie/Alice Post-Production
2010 Nappily Ever After Venus Johnson Announced,
Halle Berry Awards,
Year Award Category Film Result
1995 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Queen Won
2000 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Won
Black Reel Awards Best Actress in a TV Movie/Mini-Series Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Won
2001 Academy Award Best Actress Monster's Ball Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Won
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Lead Actress Nominated
Golden Globes Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
NBR Best Actress Won
2002 Black Reel Awards Best Actress Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress Swordfish Won
BET Awards Best Actress Won
2003 BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress Die Another Day Won
2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress Gothika Nominated
BET Awards Best Actress Won
2005 BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie Their Eyes Were Watching God Nominated
2006 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress – TV series Nominated
2007 People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Action Hero X-Men: The Last Stand Won
2008 BET Awards Best Actress Won
2009 Spike Guys' Choice Awards Decade of Hotness Award Won