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Halle Berry - The Angel of Monster's Ball
There are actresses some people love, and others hate. But there’s little disagreement over Halle Berry. Everyone agrees this screen goddess knows how to act—she’s even got the Academy Award to prove it. And everyone, even those who haven’t seen a single Halle Berry movie, agrees that she’s quite possibly the world’s most beautiful woman. The life of the screen icon that is Halle Berry began on August 14, 1966 in the bustling American metropolis known as Cleveland, Ohio. Halle Berry proves the age-old cliché that mixed children are the most beautiful in the world: her mother, Englishwoman Judith Ann Hawkins, was white, and her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was African-American. Both of her parents worked in a psychiatric ward—her mother as a nurse, her father as the orderly. But the Berry parents split when young halle berry was just four years old. Her father took off, leaving Halle Berry’s mother to look after Halle and her older sister, Heidi, on her own. Perhaps it was in her destiny to become an icon.
Halle Maria Berry was named after an icon: Halle’s Department Store, an iconic landmark in Cleveland. Indeed, Halle Berry seemed destined for success from day one. At Bedford High School, she was the epitome of popularity. Her high school life sounds almost like a cliché from a Thursday night drama about rich teens: she was class president, editor of the high school newspaper, member of the Honor Society, cheerleader and—you guessed it!—prom queen. This is not to say that Halle Berry was ever a rich, prime time drama-esque teenage brat; she pulled her own weight working at the children’s department in Higbee’s department store. Once graduating Bedford High School, she made her way to Cuyahoga Community College to study broadcast journalism. Halle Berry got sidetracked, however, from entering (and, obviously, winning) several beauty pageants. She was Miss Ohio USA and Miss Teen All-American. She was also the runner-up in Miss USA, and placed an impressive sixth in 1986’s Miss World pageant. Before you start hating Halle Berry, we should point out that her life was not all roses and chocolate, peaches and cream. This screen sensation-in-progress faced her fair share of hardships growing up. As a bi-racial child, she often encountered scorn and disbelief from her fellow students, who simply didn’t believe her mother was white.
She often hung out with her fellow black students, simply because she looked more like them. Her mother often warned her that, as an African-American, she would face racism. Her experiences growing up influenced Halle Berry’s liberal attitudes towards racial harmony: “We’re all members of the same race. The human race,” she has been known to say. Her hardships continued into the late 1980s. On the set of her first real acting gig, a short-lived sitcom named Living Dolls, Halle Berry collapsed and ended up in a coma. The diagnosis: diabetes mellitus type 1. But enough with the sad stuff. Let’s talk about how this alluring actress progressed from wearing sexy gowns at sexist pageants to carrying the Best Actress Oscar at the Academy Awards. Halle Berry’s career began in Chicago in the late 1980s. She’d moved to the Windy City to pursue modeling and acting. She started out acting in local gigs—the TV show Chicago Force, for example—then appeared in an R. Kelly video, Honey Love. She auditioned for an updated TV version of Charlie’s Angels. She didn’t get the role, but the producer, Aaron Spelling of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame, encouraged her to continue acting. One of Halle Berry’s earliest big breaks came in 1989, when she landed a role in a short-lived ABC series called Living Dolls. Eighties trivia fans might remember this show as a spinoff from the incredibly popular Who’s the Boss?. The series centered around Charlie, a friend of the lovely Samantha (played by another of the world’s most beautiful women, Alyssa Milano). Living Dolls was a let-down—just about everyone, critics and audiences alike, hated it—and it disappeared from the air after a mere three months. In fact, nowadays, the only memorable detail about Living Dolls is that it was the site of Halle Berry’s diabetes discovery. Halle Berry’s breakthrough film role was 1991’s Jungle Fever, directed by Spike Lee, where she played a drug addict. She then went to star in a wide range of roles: a career woman cruising Eddie Murphy in Boomerang; a biracial slave in Queen: The Story of an American Family; a sultry secretary in The Flinstones; one of singer Frank Lymon’s three wives in Why Do Fools Fall in Love.
She also starred in Bullworth, Executive Decision, and Race the Sun. Although she’d started appearing in mega-popular, successful movies, two roles in particular let the true talent and versatility of Halle Berry shine through. One was Losing Isaiah, a story in which a recovering drug addict, played by Halle Berry, struggles to regain custody of her son. It would have taken a strong actress to share the spotlight with established great Jessica Lange, but Halle Berry succeeded. Another role that caught the public’s eye was Halle Berry’s portrayal of troubled actress Dorothy Dandridge in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, a TV movie that follows the story of the first African American woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. Interestingly, this TV movie also launched the career of another famous black woman in show business: Shonda Rhimes, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge’s screenwriter, now the creator and executive producer of the megahit TV show Grey’s Anatomy. Even more interestingly, this role foreshadowed Halle Berry’s future: Ms. Dandridge may have been the first African American women to be nominated for the Academy Award, but Halle Berry was the first African American woman to win it. Halle Berry’s role as Dorothy Dandridge won her an Emmy award and a Golden Globe award. But the role that really earned Halle Berry lasting recognition was her role as the wife of an executed murderer in the 2001 movie Monster’s Ball. Halle Berry earned both a Screen Actor’s Guild award and a National Board of Review prize for the role, but the award that counted most for her was the Academy Award for Best Actress. In a historic ceremony that honored several African American actors, including presenting a lifetime achievement award to legendary actor Sidney Poitier, Halle Berry made cinematic history by becoming the first African American woman to take an Oscar home.
Unlike other actresses, who become pompous and arrogant after receiving this honor, Halle Berry kept her sense of humor: “I carried my Oscar to bed with me,” she said. “My first and only three-way happened that night.” Following Monster’s Ball, Halle Berry demonstrated her versatility by taking on commercial roles like the Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day, and by starring in Catwoman, and X-Men. Her role in Catwoman earned her another award: the 2005 Razzie for Worst Actress. Again, Halle Berry kept her sense of humor: “To be at the top,” she said, “you must experience rock bottom.” Today, Halle Berry is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, earning $14 million for her roles in Gothika and Catwoman. She has starred in several other movies, and hopes to move to the production side of film and television. Now that we’ve covered the career of halle berry, let’s dish a little about her personal life. From 1992 to 1996, Halle Berry was married to baseball player David Justice. Their respective careers often took them quite literally in different directions, making marital bliss an impossibility. Halle Berry was so distraught over their breakup that she considered suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. A vision of her mother, who had done so much to raise her children right, finding her, stopped Halle Berry. She talked about the event on Oprah, hoping to reach other women in crisis. She then married singer Eric Benet in 2001. Sadly, this marriage, too, dissolved, and since 2005, Halle Berry has been a free woman. Until recently, that is. She is now reportedly dating French-Canadian supermodel Gabriel Aubry, whom she met at a Versace photo shoot, and is now experiencing relationship happiness for the first time in her life. Rumor has it she plans to adopt children someday, but never wishes to be “somebody’s wife” ever again. But don’t get us wrong: Halle Berry isn’t perfect. She was fined, sentenced to community service and placed on three years’ probation for her role in a car accident. More recently, she began showing signs of Diva-like behavior a la Julia Roberts: when contractors were hired to touch up her kitchen cupboards (for a whopping $57,000), they were told in writing that they were not to communicate with halle berry unless she addressed them first. In reality, though, Halle Berry can pretty much do whatever she wants. She’s beautiful and she’s talented, and people are still going to watch her movies and search for halle berry nude on the internet. There’s no question about it: Halle Berry has achieved immorality. From her star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame to her number-one spot on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll, we just can’t seem to get enough of this doe-eyed goddess.