CHARLIZE THERON (Photo Gallery)
Date of Birth: August 7, 1975
An only child of Afrikaaner parents, Theron was born and raised in Benoni, South Africa where she
grew up on a farm. The youngster devoted her free time to studying ballet and American movies: A
particular favorite being the Tom Hanks-Daryl Hannah mermaid romance Splash, which caused the
wide-eyed Theron to develop a huge crush on Hanks.
Her study of ballet landed her at a performing arts school in Johannesburg. After winning a
modeling contest at 16, an Italian fashion scout informed her there was a modeling contract
awaiting her in Milan. She went. Unable to land any major modeling contracts or cover shots,
the newness of her latest endeavor wore thin. When an American magazine flew her to New York
for a photo shoot, she decided to stick around and make a new life for herself in the States.
Arriving in the Big Apple at 18, Theron worked modeling jobs whenever she could get them and
kept up with ballet. But when a career-ending knee injury forced her to give up dance, she was
troubled. At her mother's suggestion, she went to Southern California in pursuit of becoming an actor.
Newly arrived, she threw an impressive tantrum when a bank teller refused to cash an out-of-state check. Hollywood talent manager John Crosby was behind her in line, and after helpfully explaining that she could cash her check at any post office, asked if she was an actress. Theron
replied that she wasn't, but that she fully intended to become one. Crosby offered his card. Theron
got in touch with him, and he agreed to take her on as a client.
After countless unsuccessul auditions, she finally landed a role in 2 Days in the Valley which
was immediately followed by a chance to work with childhood crush Hanks on his directorial
debut, 1996's That Thing You Do! He cast her in a small role as an all-American everygirl who
finds love with the dentist of her dreams after her drummer boyfriend starts spending too much
time with his bandmates.
The following year, Theron logged prominent roles in decidedly different lawyer flicks, the
Michael Richards farce Trial and Error and the Keanu Reeves-Al Pacino thriller The Devil's
Advocate. Though absent from theaters during most of 1998, she turned heads with her bang-on
portrayal of a shallow supermodel in Woody Allen's Celebrity that fall, and made her debut in a
starring role opposite Bill Paxton in Disney's remake of Mighty Joe Young.
Her star has continued to rise since then, in the romantic comedy Sweet November again starring with Reeves, then as a mother whose child is kidnapped in Trapped and as a serial killer/prostitute in Monster, based on a true life story. For the latter, she gained 30 pounds and underwent a laborious daily makeup routine to play executed murderer Aileen Wuornos, and for her effort, Charlize received not only a Golden Globe award, but an Oscar in the Best Actress category at the 2004 Academy Awards. She again received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations just two years later for her work in North Country (2005). Theron has since been keeping busy with her latest roles—a struggling author in Young Adult (2011), the Evil Queen in Snow White & the Huntsman (2012) and a space explorer in Prometheus (2012).
Theron has been engaged to actor Stuart Townsend since September 2002. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 29, 2005.
Snow White & the Huntsman
The Brazilian Job (2011)
Astro Boy (2009) (voice)
The Burning Plain
The Ice at the Bottom of the World (2008)
Battle in Seattle
In the Valley of Elah
Head in the Clouds
The Italian Job
Waking Up in Reno
Waking Up in Reno
Sweet Home Alabama
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Men of Honor
The Cider House Rules
The Astronaut's Wife
Mighty Joe Young
The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Trial and Error (1997)
2 Days in the Valley (1996)
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996) (V) (uncredited)
That Thing You Do! (1996)