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Halle Berry


X Men 2 [DVD] [2003]

X Men 2 [DVD] [2003]

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Halle Berry 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.

 She won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball, becoming the first and, as of 2011, only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress.

She is one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She has been involved in the production side of several of the films in which she performed.

Halle Berry on a Naval visit 2006

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Halle Berry on a Naval visit 2006

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Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing as the 1st runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant (1986), and coming in 6th place in the Miss World Pageant in 1986. 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 the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for Catwoman and accepted the award in person—one of the few performers to do so.

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.

Acting career

1989–2002

In the late 1980s, Berry went to Illinois to pursue a modelling 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?), during the taping of which she lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes.

She went on to have a recurring role on the long-running primetime 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 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. Beginning in 1996, she was a Revlon spokeswoman for seven years and renewed her contract in 2004.

1997, Halle starred alongside Natalie Deselle Reid in the comedy film, B*A*P*S. Although panned by critics, it showed Halle's acting versatility. 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.

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 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 rumours 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.

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 best-actress prizes; in an interesting coincidence she became the first African-American to receive a Best Leading Actress Academy Award (earlier in her career she portrayed Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American 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 colour 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 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 modelled 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 honouring 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.

International success

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, costume designer on "Die Another Day", had insisted that Berry 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.

After Berry won the Academy Award, rewrites were commissioned to give her more screen time 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 humour, 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 rumours 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 a small community. She was nominated for an Emmy for this TV film. Meanwhile, she voiced the character of Cappy, one of the many mechanical beings in the animated feature Robots (2005).

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 both produced and starred in the thriller Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis and in Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio del Toro.

Berry then starred in the film Frankie and Alice in which she plays Frankie Murdoch who is a young multiracial American women with dissociative identity disorder struggling to retain her true self and not give into her racial alter personality. She was awarded the African-American Film Critics Association for best actress and also was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.

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 for many years as the face of Revlon cosmetics and also 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.

Personal life

Family and relationships

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 misdemeanour 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 a 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 photo shoot. 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 rumours, 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 Centre 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, who said 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 stated that she hoped to have a second child right away. Aubry 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. Several days later, Berry's representative confirmed the relationship had ended, 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 was not final. Aubry filed documents with the Los Angeles Superior Court on December 30, 2010, asking the court to formally recognize his paternity and grant a court order giving him and Berry joint legal and physical custody over their daughter.

On January 31, 2011, Berry's representative told People that Berry had pulled out of the film New Year's Eve to make time for custody litigation because the actress "has serious concerns for her daughter's well-being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her". The publicist claimed that Berry "has attempted to resolve these custody issues amicably with her daughter's father...directly, but given his lack of cooperation, Halle has no choice but to seek swift judicial intervention."

The following day, Aubry responded by saying through his representative that he was "disappointed in Halle's decision to falsely malign him publicly and for her own purposes", calling himself "a caring father who shares custody of Nahla". Aubry further stated that "he refuses to be pulled into her dispute over a cancelled film production" and "also refuses to air their issues in the press as he believes this may ultimately harm their daughter".

In the media

Berry has stated that the manner in which people have reacted to her because of her racial background 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."

Filmography

Title Year
Living Dolls 1989
Amen 1991
A Different World 1991
They Came from Outer Space 1991
Knots Landing 1991
Jungle Fever 1991
Strictly Business 1991
The Last Boy Scout 1991
Boomerang 1992
Alex Haley's Queen 1993
CB4 1993
Father Hood 1993
The Program 1993
The Flintstones 1994
Solomon & Sheba 1995
Losing Isaiah 1995
Executive Decision 1996
Race the Sun 1996
Girl 6 1996
The Rich Man's Wife 1996
B*A*P*S 1997
The Wedding 1998
Bulworth 1998
Why Do Fools Fall in Love 1998
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge 1999
X-Men 2000
Welcome to Hollywood 2000
Swordfish 2001
Monster's Ball 2001
Die Another Day 2002
X2: X-Men United 2003
Gothika 2003
Catwoman 2004
Their Eyes Were Watching God 2005
Robots 2005
X-Men: The Last Stand 2006
Perfect Stranger 2007
Things We Lost in the Fire 2007
Frankie and Alice 2010
Movie 43 2012  

Awards

Year Award Category Film
1995 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Alex Haley's Queen
2000 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
2000 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
2000 Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
2000 Black Reel Awards Best Actress in a TV Movie/Mini-Series Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
2000 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
2001 Academy Award Best Actress Monster's Ball
2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Monster's Ball
2001 NBR Best Actress Monster's Ball
2002 Black Reel Awards Best Actress Monster's Ball
2002 NAACP Image Award NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Swordfish
2002 BET Awards Best Actress  
2002 Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards Crystal Award for Outstanding Woman who have helped expand the role of women in Entertainment  
2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress Die Another Day
2004 BET Awards Best Actress  
2004 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress Catwoman
2007 People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Action Hero X-Men: The Last Stand
2008 BET Awards Best Actress  
2009 Spike Guys' Choice Awards Decade of Hotness Award  
2011 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Frankie and Alice

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