Maria Halle Berry

 

Halle Berry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Halle Berry
Head and shoulders shot of a smiling Berry facing the camera.
Berry in February 2007
Born Maria Halle Berry
August 14, 1966 (age 45)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present
Spouse David Justice (m. 1992–1997)
Eric Benét (m. 2001–2005)
Partner Gabriel Aubry (2005–10)
Olivier Martinez (2010–present)
Children Nahla Ariela Aubry

Halle Berry (play /ˈhæli ˈbɛri/; born August 14, 1966[1]) is an American actress and a former fashion model. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge[2] and 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.[3][4] She has been involved in the production side of several of the films in which she performed.

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.[2] She made her film debut with a small role in 1991’s Jungle Fever. This led to starring 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.[5]

Early life

Berry was born Maria Halle Berry, though her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry in 1971.[6] Berry’s parents selected her middle name from Halle’s Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio.[7] Her mother, Judith Ann (née Hawkins),[8] who is of European descent, 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.[7][9] Berry’s maternal grandmother, Nellie Dicken, was born in Sawley, Derbyshire, England, while her maternal grandfather, Earl Ellsworth Hawkins, was born in Ohio.[10] Berry’s parents divorced when she was four years old; she and her older sister Heidi[11] were raised exclusively by her mother.[7] Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood,[7][12] noting in 1992, “I haven’t heard from him since [he left]. Maybe he’s not alive.”[11]

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.[2] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Acting career

 1989–2002

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?), during the taping of which she lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes.[15][16] 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.[17][18]

Head and shoulders shot of a smiling Berry with dark hair pulled back, wearing a lace shirt and turquoise necklace.

Berry visiting with sailors and Marines during the opening day of Fleet Week New York 2006

Her breakthrough feature film role was in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, in which she played a drug addict named Vivian.[7] 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.[19]

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, shot in Australia, 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.[4][20]

In 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, and it was to Berry a heart-felt project that she introduced, co-produced and fought intensely for it to come through.[7] Berry’s performance was recognized with several awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.[2][21]

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.[22] At first, she refused to be filmed topless in a sunbathing scene, but she changed her mind when Warner Brothers raised her fee substantially.[23] The brief flash of her breasts added $500,000 to her fee.[24] Berry considered these stories to be rumors and was quick to deny them.[22] 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.[25]

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 win the Academy Award for Best Actress (earlier in her career she portrayed Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American to be nominated for Best Actress, and who was born at the same hospital as Berry, in Cleveland, Ohio).[26] 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.”[27] 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.[25] 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.”[25]

Dressed in brown leather jacket, Berry looks up smiling.

Berry signs autographs for US soldiers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, December 24, 1996

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.[28] 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.”[29] 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.

 2002 – present

Upper body shot of Berry dressed in brown and gold evening gown and holding an autograph pen.

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.[30] Lindy Hemming, costume designer on Die Another Day, had insisted that Berry wear a bikini and knife as an homage.[31] Berry has said of the scene: “It’s splashy”, “exciting”, “sexy”, “provocative” and “it will keep me still out there after winning an Oscar.”[25] 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.[32] According to a ITV news poll, Jinx was voted the fourth toughest girl on screen of all time.[33] Berry was hurt during filming when debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye. It was removed in a 30-minute operation.[34]

After Berry won the Academy Award, rewrites were commissioned to give her more screentime for X2.[35]

In November 2003, she starred in the psychological thriller Gothika opposite Robert Downey Jr., during which she broke her arm in a scene with Downey, who twisted her arm too hard. Production was halted for eight weeks.[36] It was a moderate hit at the United States box office, taking in $60 million; it earned another $80 million abroad.[37] 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.[38] In 2004, Berry was voted fourth of Empire magazine’s 100 sexiest film stars of all time poll.[39]

Berry received $12.5 million for the title role in the film Catwoman,[37] a $100 million movie; it grossed $17 million on its first weekend.[40] 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)[41] with a sense of humor, considering it an experience of the “rock bottom” in order to be “at the top”.[5] 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.”[26] 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.”[42]

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).[43]

Upper body shot of Berry in long sleeved red jersey and jeans with midriff slightly exposed. A crowd in is the background.

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.[44] Berry said, “I care about the air we breathe, I care about the marine life and the ecosystem of the ocean.”[45] In May 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the facility.[46] Hasty Pudding Theatricals gave her its 2006 Woman of The Year award.[47]

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, the first film in which she worked with a female director, Danish Susanne Bier, a new feeling of “thinking the same way”, which she appreciated.[48] Berry then starred in the film Frankie and Alice, in which she plays Frankie Murdoch, a young multiracial American women with dissociative identity disorder struggling against her alter personality to retain her true self. She was awarded the African-American Film Critics Association Award 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 $10 million per film.[3] In July 2007, she topped In Touch magazine’s list of the world’s most fabulous 40-something celebrities. On April 3, 2007, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry.[49][50] As of 2011, Berry’s worldwide box office gross has been more than 2.7 billion US$. In 2011, she appeared in New Year’s Eve, and is playing one of the leads in the film Cloud Atlas, which is expected to be released in October 2012.[51] 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.[52]

Head and shoulders shot of Berry in brown jersey and sunglasses, hair cut short, seated at an autograph table.

Berry at the 2003 Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA

Personal life

Berry at the 83rd Academy Awards, 27 February 2011

Berry has been married twice. Her first marriage was to former baseball player David Justice, shortly after midnight on January 1, 1993.[53] The couple separated in 1996 and their divorce was finalized in 1997.[54] Berry has stated publicly that she was so depressed after her breakup with Justice that she considered taking her own life,[55] but she could not bear the thought of her mother finding her body.[56]

Berry married Eric Benét in early 2001 on a beach in Santa Barbara.[25][57] Berry credited Benét with support after she was involved in a February 2000 traffic collision, in which she left the scene of the accident. Some in the media complained that her misdemeanor hit and run charge was preferential treatment;[58][59] she had also been the driver in an alleged hit and run incident three years earlier in which no charges were filed.[60] The incident became fodder for comedians. Berry pled no contest, did community service, paid a fine and was placed on three years’ probation.[61] A civil lawsuit was settled out of court.[62][63]

The couple separated in 2003.[57] After the separation, Berry stated, “I want love, and I will find it, hopefully.”[64] While married to Benét, Berry adopted his daughter, India.[57] The divorce was finalized in January 2005.[65]

In November 2005, Berry began dating French-Canadian supermodel Gabriel Aubry. The couple met at a Versace photoshoot.[66] 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.”[67] Berry gave birth to a girl named Nahla Ariela Aubry on March 16, 2008, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[68] Nahla means “honeybee” in Arabic; Ariela is Hebrew for “lion for God”.[69] 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”.[70]

On April 30, 2010, it was reported that Berry and Aubry had separated. Several days later, Berry’s representative confirmed the relationship had ended.[71] 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.[72][73]

In the media

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!”[74] During the editing of the program, the comment was obscured by a laugh track.[75]

Berry took part in a nearly 2000-house party cell-phone bank campaign for Barack Obama in February 2008.[76]

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.”[77] Men’s Health named her one of the “100 Hottest Women of All-Time”, ranking her at No. 35.[78]

Filmography

Title Year Role Notes
Living Dolls 1989 Emily Franklin TV (canceled after 13 episodes)
Amen 1991 Claire TV series, episode: “Unforgettable”
A Different World 1991 Jaclyn TV series, episode: “Love, Hillman-Style”
They Came from Outer Space 1991 Rene TV series, episode: “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”
Knots Landing 1991 Debbie Porter TV (cast member in 1991)
Jungle Fever 1991 Vivian Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
Strictly Business 1991 Natalie
The Last Boy Scout 1991 Cory
Boomerang 1992 Angela Lewis
Alex Haley’s Queen 1993 Queen NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
CB4 1993 Herself Cameo
Father Hood 1993 Kathleen Mercer
The Program 1993 Autumn Haley
The Flintstones 1994 Sharon Stone[19]
Solomon & Sheba 1995 Nikhaule/Queen Sheba TV
Losing Isaiah 1995 Khaila Richards Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Executive Decision 1996 Jean
Race the Sun 1996 Miss Sandra Beecher
Girl 6 1996 Cameo
The Rich Man’s Wife 1996 Josie Potenza
B*A*P*S 1997 Nisi
The Wedding 1998 Shelby Coles TV
Bulworth 1998 Nina Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Why Do Fools Fall in Love 1998 Zola Taylor
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge 1999 Dorothy Dandridge Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
X-Men 2000 Ororo Munroe/Storm
Welcome to Hollywood 2000 Documentary
Swordfish 2001 Ginger Knowles NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Monster’s Ball 2001 Leticia Musgrove Academy Award for Best Actress
Black Reel Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Silver Bear for Best Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Performance – Female
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Die Another Day 2002 Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson
X2: X-Men United 2003 Ororo Munroe/Storm
Gothika 2003 Miranda Grey Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Actress – Drama/Action Adventure
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Kids Choice Award for Favorite Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Performance – Female
Catwoman 2004 Patience Phillips / Catwoman Razzie Award for Worst Actress[79]
Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (with either Benjamin Bratt or Sharon Stone)
Their Eyes Were Watching God 2005 Janie Starks Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actress: T.V. Movie/Cable
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Robots 2005 Cappy (Voice)
X-Men: The Last Stand 2006 Ororo Munroe/Storm
Perfect Stranger 2007 Rowena Price
Things We Lost in the Fire 2007 Audrey Burke
Frankie and Alice 2010 Frankie/Alice African-American Film Critics Association for Best Actress
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
PRISM Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film
Nominated—BET Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Dark Tide 2011 Kate Mathieson
New Year’s Eve 2011 Nurse Aimee
Cloud Atlas 2012 filming
Movie 43 2012 filming

[edit] Awards

Year Award Category Film Result
1995 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Alex Haley’s Queen Won
2000 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Won
2000 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Won
2000 Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Won
2000 Black Reel Awards Best Actress in a TV Movie/Mini-Series Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Won
2000 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Won
2001 Academy Award Best Actress Monster’s Ball Won
2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Monster’s Ball Won
2001 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Lead Actress Monster’s Ball Nominated
2001 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Monster’s Ball Nominated
2001 NBR Best Actress Monster’s Ball Won
2002 Black Reel Awards Best Actress Monster’s Ball Won
2002 NAACP Image Award NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Swordfish Won
2002 BET Awards Best Actress Won
2002 Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards Crystal Award for Outstanding Woman who have helped expand the role of women in Entertainment Recipient[80]
2003 BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress Die Another Day Won
2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress Gothika Nominated
2004 BET Awards Best Actress Won
2004 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress Catwoman Won
2004 Worst Screen Couple Catwoman (with either Benjamin Bratt or Sharon Stone) Nominated
2005 BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
2005 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 Their Eyes Were Watching God Nominated
2006 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Movie Their Eyes Were Watching God 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
2011 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Frankie and Alice Nominated
2011 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Frankie and Alice Won

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