Sharon Yvonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, film producer, and former fashion model. She first achieved international recognition for her performance in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her role in Casino.
Stone was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, located just several miles east of the Ohio border. The second of four children, she is the daughter of Dorothy (née Lawson), an accountant and homemaker, and Joseph Stone, a tool and die manufacturer.Stone graduated in 1975 from Saegertown High School in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, graduating early in an accelerated study program in conjunction with Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, she briefly attended Edinboro.
As a teenager, she worked at a fast food restaurant.
Stone won the title of Miss Crawford County in Meadville. One of the pageant judges said she should quit school and move to New York City to become a fashion model. When her mother heard this, she agreed, and, in 1977 Stone left Meadville, moving in with an aunt in New Jersey. Within four days of her arrival in New Jersey, she was signed by Ford Modeling Agency in New York.
While living in Europe, she decided to quit modeling and become an actress. "So I packed my bags, moved back to New York, and stood in line to be an extra in a Woody Allen movie," she later recalled. While auditioning, she met Michelle Pfeiffer, who recognized her from the pageant she competed in, and the two became friends. Stone was cast for a brief but memorable role in Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), and then had a speaking part a year later in the horror movie Deadly Blessing (1981). When French director Claude Lelouch saw Stone in Stardust Memories, he was so impressed that he cast her in Les Uns et les Autres (1982) starring James Caan. She was only on screen for two minutes and did not appear in the credits.
Her next role was in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and a young Drew Barrymore. Stone plays a starlet who breaks up the marriage of a successful director and his screenwriter wife. The story was based on the real-life experience of director Peter Bogdanovich, his set designer wife Polly Platt and Cybill Shepherd, who as a young actress had starred in Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), which co-starred Stone's mother-in-law Cloris Leachman and won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The highlight of Stone's performance is when her cocaine-addict character plays Scarlett O'Hara in a musical pitched as a remake of Gone with the Wind.
Through the rest of the 1980s she appeared in Action Jackson (1988), King Solomon's Mines (1985) and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987). She was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performance in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. She also played the wife of Steven Seagal's character in Above the Law (1988). She appeared in a two-part episode of Magnum, P.I., titled "Echoes of the Mind", where she played identical twins, one a love interest of Tom Selleck's character.
Also in 1988, Stone took over the role of Janice Henry for the filming of the miniseries War and Remembrance.
Her appearance in Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Stone's career a jolt. To coincide with the movie's release, she posed nude for Playboy, showing off the muscles she developed in preparation for the movie (she lifted weights and learned Tae Kwon Do). In 1999, she was rated among the 25 sexiest stars of the century by Playboy.
Sharon Stone in France, 1991
The role that made her a star was that of Catherine Tramell, a brilliant, bisexual serial killer, in Basic Instinct (1992). Stone had to wait and actually turned down offers for the mere prospect to play Tramell (the part was offered to 13 other actresses and considered to 150 women before being offered to Stone). Several better known actresses of the time such as Geena Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith, Kelly Lynch, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Julia Roberts turned down the part mostly because of the nudity required. In the movie’s most notorious scene, Tramell is being questioned by the police and she crosses and uncrosses her legs, revealing the fact she was not wearing any underwear. According to Stone, upon seeing her own vulva in the leg-crossing scene during a screening of the film, she went into the projection booth and slapped director Paul Verhoeven.
At the 2002 Cannes Film Festival
Stone claimed that although she agreed to film the flashing scene with no panties, and although she and Verhoeven had discussed the scene from the beginning of production, she was unaware just how explicit the infamous shot would be. She said, "I knew that we were going to do this leg-crossing thing and I knew that we were going to allude to the concept that I was nude, but I did not think that you would see my vagina in the scene. Later, when I saw it in the screening I was shocked. I think seeing it in a room full of strangers was so disrespectful and so shocking, so I went into the booth and slapped him and left."
Despite this, she claimed in an earlier interview that "it was so fun" watching the film for the first time with strangers. Verhoeven has denied all claims of trickery and said, "As much as I love her, I hate her too, especially after the lies she told the press about the shot between her legs, which was a straight lie".Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who later befriended the actress, also claimed the actress was fully aware of the level of nudity involved in his memoir, Hollywood Animal.
Following this film, she was listed by People as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.
In 1992, photographer George Hurrell took a series of photographs of Stone, Sherilyn Fenn, Julian Sands, Raquel Welch, Eric Roberts and Sean Penn. In these portraits he recreated his style of the 1930s, with the actors posing in costumes, hairstyle and makeup of the period.
In November 1995, Stone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. That same year, Empire chose her as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history. In October 1997, she was ranked among the top 100 movie stars of all time by Empire.
In 1995, she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Motion Picture for her role as "Ginger" in Martin Scorsese's Casino opposite Robert De Niro. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the role.
In 2001, Stone was linked to a biopic of the German film director Leni Riefenstahl. The prospective director Paul Verhoeven and Riefenstahl herself favoured Stone to portray Riefenstahl in the film. According to Verhoeven, he discussed the project with Stone and she was very interested. Subsequently, Verhoeven pulled out of the project as he wanted to hire a more expensive screenwriter than the producers did.
Stone was hospitalized in late 2001 for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which was diagnosed as a vertebral artery dissection rather than the more common ruptured aneurysm, and treated with an endovascular coil embolization.
Stone starred opposite actress Ellen DeGeneres in the 2001 HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk 2, in which she played a lesbian trying to start a family. In 2003, she appeared in three episodes from the eighth season of The Practice. For her performances, she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
Stone attempted a return to the mainstream with a role in the film Catwoman (2004); however, the film was a critical and commercial flop.
After years of litigation, Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction was released on March 31, 2006. A reason for a long delay in releasing the film was reportedly Stone's dispute with the filmmakers over the nudity in the movie; she wanted more, while they wanted less. A group sex scene was cut in order to achieve an R rating from the MPAA for the U.S. release; the controversial scene remained in the U.K. version of the London-based film. Stone told an interviewer, "We are in a time of odd repression and if a popcorn movie allows us to create a platform for discussion, wouldn't that be great?"
Despite an estimated budget of $70 million, it placed only 10th in gross on its debut weekend with a meager $3,200,000, and was subsequently declared a bomb. It ultimately ran in theaters for only 17 days and finished with a total domestic gross of under $6 million. Despite the failure of Basic Instinct 2, Stone has said that she would love to direct and act in a third Basic Instinct film.
She appeared in the drama Alpha Dog opposite Bruce Willis, playing Olivia Mazursky, the mother of a real-life murder victim. Stone wore a fatsuit for the role. In February 2007, Stone found her role as a clinically depressed woman in her latest film, When a Man Falls in the Forest, uplifting, as it challenged what she called "Prozac society." "It was a watershed experience," she said. "I think that we live in a... Prozac society where we're always told we're supposed to have this kind of equilibrium of emotion. We have all these assignments about how we're supposed to feel about something."
In December 2006, she co hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with Anjelica Huston. The concert was in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize winners Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank.
In 2007, she appeared in a television commercial demonstrating the symptoms of a stroke.
On January 5, 2010, it was announced that Sharon will be joining the cast of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for a four-episode arc beginning in April 2010. She will play a former cop-turned-prosecutor.. The performance has been met with lukewarm enthusiasm by critics.
On January 28, 2005, Stone helped solicit pledges for $1 million in five minutes for mosquito nets in Tanzania,
turning a panel on African poverty into an impromptu fund-raiser at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Many observers, including UNICEF, criticized her actions by claiming that Stone had reacted instinctively to the words of Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, because she had not done her research on the causes, consequences and methods of preventing malaria; if she had done so, she would have found out that most African governments already distribute free bed nets through public hospitals.
Of the $1 million pledged, only $250,000 was actually raised. In order to fulfill the promise to send $1 million worth of bed nets to Tanzania, UNICEF contributed $750,000. This diverted funds from other UNICEF projects. According to prominent economist Xavier Sala-i-Martín, officials are largely unaware of what happened with the bed nets. Some were delivered to the local airport. These reportedly were stolen and later resurfaced as wedding dresses on the local black market.
Chinese earthquake controversy
Stone sparked storm of criticism for her comments made in an exchange on the red carpet with Hong Kong's Cable Entertainment News during the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2008. When asked about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake she remarked:
"Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like that. And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that Karma? When you're not nice then the bad things happen to you?"
Observers have also noted that Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the earthquake, is located in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, where ethnic Tibetans comprise over half of the population. According to the Hollywood Reporter, after her comments, one of China's biggest cinema chains released statements stating its company would not show her films in its theaters. The founder of the UME Cineplex chain and the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, Ng See-Yuen called Stone's comments "inappropriate" and said the UME Cineplex chain would not be releasing her films in the future. Christian Dior advertisements featuring Stone's image were also dropped from all ads in China amid the public uproar.Stone was also struck from the 2008 Shanghai International Film Festival guest list, with the event's organizers considering a permanent ban for the actress.
Dior China had originally posted an apology in Stone's name, but Stone later denies making the apology during an interview with the New York Times, saying "I'm not going to apologize. I’m certainly not going to apologize for something that isn’t real and true — not for face creams," although she does admit she had "sounded like an idiot". While Stone cited the Dalai Lama as her "good friend" when she made the remark at the Cannes film festival, the Dalai Lama has reportedly distanced himself from her remark, stating, "yes, I've met that lady".
For many years Sharon Stone maintained that she had an IQ of 148 and was a member of Mensa, but in April 2002, she admitted she was not, and had never been, a member of the high-IQ society. Jim Blackmore of Mensa said, "It's delightful to finally see Ms. Stone admit that she's not and never has been a member of our society." However, Stone went on to claim that she "went to a Mensa school." In response to this new claim, Blackmore said that would not have been possible as there had been no Mensa schools since the early 1960s.
Stone in 2004
Stone lives in Beverly Hills, California, and owns a ranch in New Zealand. In March 2006, Stone traveled to Israel to promote peace in the Middle East through a press conference with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres. Stone also has diabetes.
In the early 1990s, Stone became a member of the Church of Scientology. Stone remained with the religion until recently when she converted to Tibetan Buddhism, after fellow actor Richard Gere introduced her to the Dalai Lama. She is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.
Stone was first married briefly to George Englund Jr. In 1984, she married television producer Michael Greenburg on the set of The Vegas Strip War, a TV movie he produced and she starred in. The marriage lasted three years. They separated three years later, and their divorce was finalized in 1990.
On February 14, 1998, she married Phil Bronstein, executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner and later San Francisco Chronicle. Stone and Bronstein were divorced in January 2004. They have an adopted son named Roan Joseph Bronstein, born on May 22, 2000. She also adopted her second son, Laird Vonne Stone on May 7, 2005. On June 28, 2006, Stone adopted her third son, Quinn Kelly.
In 2005, during a television interview for her movie Basic Instinct 2, Stone hinted an interest in bisexuality, stating "Middle age is an open-minded period". Stone has said that in the past she's "dated" girls. While filming Basic Instinct, her best girlfriend was there to hold her hand out of camera range during some of the scenes. And in a biography, Naked Instinct, author Frank Sanello details a sexual liaison between Stone and a woman in the bathroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel. In an interview on the Michael Parkinson talk show in England on March 18, 2006, she said she was "straight". However, in January 2008, she was quoted as saying, "Everybody is bisexual to an extent. Now men act like women and it's difficult to have a relationship because I like men in that old-fashioned way. I like masculinity and, in truth, only women do that now".
Year Film Role Notes
1980 Stardust Memories Pretty Girl on train Debut
1981 Les Uns et les autres Girl with Glenn Senior Uncredited
Deadly Blessing Lana Marcus
1982 Not Just Another Affair Lynette TV Movie
Silver Spoons Debbie (TV Series)
1983 Bay City Blues Cathy St. Marie (TV Series)
Remington Steele Jillian Montague (TV Series)
1984 The New Mike Hammer Julie Eland
Magnum, P.I. Diane Dupree and Diedra Dupree (TV Series)
Calendar Girl Murders Cassie Bascomb TV Movie
The Vegas Strip War Sarah Shipman TV Movie
Irreconcilable Differences Blake Chandler
1985 T. J. Hooker Dani Starr
King Solomon's Mines Jesse Huston
1986 Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Ashley Hamilton Ryan TV movie
1987 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol Claire Mattson
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold Jesse Huston
Cold Steel Kathy Connors
1988 Tears in the Rain Casey Cantrell TV Movie
Action Jackson Patrice Dellaplane
Above the Law Sara Toscani
Badlands 2005 Alex Neil TV movie
1989 Beyond the Stars Laurie McCall
Blood and Sand Doña Sol
War and Remembrance Janice Henry
1990 Total Recall Lori Quaid
1991 He Said, She Said Linda Metzger
Scissors Angie Anderson
Year of the Gun Alison King
Diary of a Hitman Kiki
Where Sleeping Dogs Lie Serena Black
1992 Basic Instinct Catherine Tramell MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Female
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
1993 Sliver Carly Norris Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Female
1994 Intersection Sally Eastman
The Specialist May Munro Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Female
1995 The Quick and the Dead Ellen 'The Lady' Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
Roseanne Trailer Park Resident (TV Series)
Casino Ginger McKenna Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
1996 Diabolique Nicole Horner
Last Dance Cindy Liggett
1998 Sphere Dr. Elizabeth 'Beth' Halperin
Antz Princess Bala Voice
The Mighty Gwen Dillon Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1999 Gloria Gloria
The Muse Sarah Little Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Simpatico Rosie Carter
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Henny Penny voice
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Fran TV movie
Picking Up the Pieces Candy Cowley
Beautiful Joe Alice 'Hush' Mason
2001 Harold and the Purple Crayon Narrator 2001-2002
2003 Cold Creek Manor Leah Tilson
2004 A Different Loyalty Sally Cauffield
Catwoman Laurel Hedare
The Practice Sheila Carlisle Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Drama Series (TV Series)
Kurtlar Vadisi (eng. Valley of the Wolves) Lisa Turkish TV Serial
2005 Higglytown Heroes Nicky - Blind Art Teacher Voice
Will & Grace Dr. Georgia Keller (TV Series)
Broken Flowers Laura Daniels Miller
2006 Alpha Dog Olivia Mazursky
Basic Instinct 2 Catherine Tramell
Huff Dauri Rathburn (TV Series)
Bobby Miriam Ebbers Hollywood Film Festival for Cast of the Year
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2007 If I Had Known I Was a Genius Gloria Fremont
When a Man Falls in the Forest Karen Fields
Democrazy Patricia Hill Short
2008 The Year of Getting to Know Us Jane Rocket
Five Dollars a Day Dolores Jones
2009 Streets of Blood Nina Ferraro
2010 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jo Marlowe Four episodes (TV Series)