Charlize Theron

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Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron WonderCon 2012 (Straighten Crop).jpg
Theron at WonderCon in March 2012 promoting Prometheus
Born (1975-08-07) 7 August 1975 (age 39)
Benoni, Transvaal Province, South Africa
Nationality South African[1]
American
Citizenship South African (1975–present)
American (2007–present)
Occupation Actress, producer, fashion model
Years active 1995–present
Partner(s) Stuart Townsend (2001–10)
Children 1
Website
www.charlizeafricaoutreach.org

Charlize Theron (General American pronunciation: /ʃɑrˈls ˈθɛrən/; Afrikaans pronunciation: [ʃɐrˈlis tron];[2] born 7 August 1975)[3] is a South African and American actress, producer and fashion model. She rose to fame in the late 1990s following roles in the films The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999). Theron received critical acclaim for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003), for which she won the Academy Award, Silver Bear, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress among several other accolades, becoming the first South African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. She received further Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for her performance in North Country in 2005, and a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance in Young Adult in 2011.

Theron became a U.S. citizen in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship. In recent years, she has moved into the field of producing, both in television and film. In 2012, she appeared in Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus, both of which were box office successes.

Early life[edit]

Theron was born in Benoni, in the then-Transvaal Province of South Africa, the only child of Gerda (née Maritz)[4][5] and Charles Theron (born 27 November 1947).[5] Second Boer War figure Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle.[6] Her ancestry includes French, German, and Dutch persons; her French forebears were early Huguenot settlers in South Africa.[6] "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as [tɜːron], although she has said that the way she pronounces it in South Africa is [θron].[7] She changed the pronunciation when she moved to the U.S. to give it a more "American" sound.

She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg.[8][9][10] On 21 June 1991, Theron's father, an alcoholic,[10] physically attacked her mother and threatened both her mother and her while drunk; Theron's mother then shot and killed him. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defence and her mother faced no charges.[11]

Theron attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein), a period she later characterised as not "fitting in".[12] At 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg.[10] Although Theron is fluent in English, her first language is Afrikaans.[13][14]

Career[edit]

Early work[edit]

Although seeing herself as a dancer,[15] Theron at 16 won a one-year modeling contract[10] at a local competition in Salerno[15][16] and with her mother moved to Milan, Italy.[17] After Theron spent a year modeling throughout Europe, she and her mother moved to New York City and Miami, Florida.[17] In New York, she attended the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer until a knee injury closed this career path.[15] As Theron recalled in 2008,

I went to New York for three days to model, and then I spent a winter in New York in a friend's windowless basement apartment. I was broke, I was taking class at the Joffrey Ballet, and my knees gave out. I realized I couldn't dance anymore, and I went into a major depression. My mom came over from South Africa and said, "Either you figure out what to do next or you come home, because you can sulk in South Africa."[15]

At 19,[18] Theron flew to Los Angeles, on a one-way ticket her mother bought her, intending now to work in the movie industry.[15] During her early months there, she went to a Hollywood Boulevard bank to cash a check her mother had sent her to help with the rent.[19] When the teller refused to cash it, Theron engaged in a shouting match with him.[10] Upon seeing this, talent agent John Crosby,[19] in line behind her, handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to casting agents and also an acting school.[19][20] She later fired him as her manager after he kept sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species.[21] After several months in the city, she was cast in her first film role, a non-speaking role in the direct-to-video film Children of the Corn III (1995).[10] Her first speaking role was a supporting but significant and attention-garnering part as a hitwoman in 2 Days in the Valley (1996).[10] Larger roles in widely released Hollywood films followed, and her career expanded in the late 1990s with box-office successes like The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999).[10] She was on the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair as the "White Hot Venus".[22] She also appeared on the cover of the May 1999 issue of Playboy magazine. However, the nude photos inside the issue had been taken several years earlier before she became famous and Theron unsuccessfully sued the magazine for publishing the photos without her consent.[23][24]

Success and hiatus[edit]

She starred in four films in 2000 – Reindeer Games, The Yards, The Legend of Bagger Vance and Men of Honor – and was briefly considered a new It girl. Theron has said of this period in her career that, "I kept finding myself in a place where directors would back me but studios didn't. [I began] a love affair with directors, the ones I really, truly admired. I found myself making really bad movies, too. Reindeer Games was not a good movie, but I did it because I loved John Frankenheimer."[25]

Theron at the premiere of North Country at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005

After appearing in other films, Theron starred as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003).[10] Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema".[26] For this role, Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004,[27] as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award.[28] She is the first South African to win an Oscar for Best Actress.[29] The Oscar win pushed her to The Hollywood Reporter's 2006 list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood; earning US$10 million for both her subsequent films, North Country and Aeon Flux, she ranked seventh, behind Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Renée Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.[30] AskMen also named her the number one most desirable woman of 2003.[31]

In 2005, Theron portrayed Rita, Michael Bluth's (Jason Bateman) love interest, on the third season of Fox's critically acclaimed television series Arrested Development.[32] She also received Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her role of Britt Ekland in the 2004 HBO film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.[33] On 30 September, Theron received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[29] In the same year, she starred in the financially unsuccessful science fiction thriller Aeon Flux. She also received the 2005 Spike Video Game Award for Best Performance by a Human Female for her voiceover work in the Aeon Flux video game.[34][35]

Theron received Best Actress Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for her lead performance in the drama North Country.[27][28] Ms. magazine also honoured her for this performance with a feature article in its Fall 2005 issue.[36] She was supposed to star in the screen adaption of the short story The Ice at the Bottom of the World by Mark Richard, and it was to be directed by Kimberly Peirce[37] and produced by Theron's company Denver and Delilah Films (Theron's two dog's names). Theron has owned the rights for many years.[38] She was also supposed to star in a movie adaption of the graphic novel Jinx, but neither project has been produced yet.[37]

In 2008, Theron was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year.[39] That year she also starred with Will Smith in the superhero film Hancock, and in late 2008 she was asked to be a UN Messenger of Peace by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.[40]

In October 2009, Theron was cast to star in a sequel to the Mad Max films, titled Mad Max: Fury Road.[41][42]

On 4 December 2009, Theron co-presented the draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, accompanied by several other celebrities of South African nationality or ancestry. During rehearsals she drew an Ireland ball instead of France as a joke at the expense of FIFA, referring to Thierry Henry's handball controversy in the play-off match between France and Ireland.[43][44] The stunt alarmed FIFA enough for it to fear she might do it again in front of a live global audience.[45]

Recent work[edit]

Following a three-year hiatus from the big screen, Theron returned to the spotlight in 2011 with Young Adult. Directed by Jason Reitman, the film earned critical acclaim especially for Theron's performance. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and several other high profile awards. Theron played the Wicked Queen in the film Snow White & the Huntsman, which began production in 2011 and was released in 2012.[46]

In 2011, she described her process for becoming the characters in her film:

When I'm figuring out a character, for me it's easy, since once I say yes to something, I become super-obsessed about it – and I have an obsessive nature in general. How I want to play it starts at that moment. It's a very lonely, internal experience. I think about [the character] all the time – I observe things, I see things and file things [in my head], everything geared to what I'm going to do. I'm obsessed with the human condition. You read the script and become obsessed with [a character's] nature, her habits. When the camera rolls, it's time to do my job, to do the honest truth. You can't do that part of the [character-creation] work when you're [in the middle of] making the film. At least I can't.[47]

In 2012, she starred in Ridley Scott's science fiction film Prometheus. On 7 February 2013 it was announced that Theron was cast as Libby Day, the lead character in the film adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel Dark Places. The film is to be directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, and Theron will also have a producer credit.[48]

In 2013 Vulture/NYMag named her the 68th Most Valuable Star in Hollywood saying "We’re just happy that Theron can stay on the list in a year when she didn’t come out with anything ... any actress who’s got that kind of skill, beauty, and ferocity ought to have a permanent place in Hollywood."[49]

Other ventures[edit]

Activism[edit]

The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) was created in 2007 by Charlize Theron, Academy Award winning actor and UN Messenger of Peace, in an effort to support African youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS. CTAOP's mission is to help keep African youth safe from HIV/AIDS. The Project is committed to supporting community-engaged organizations that address the key drivers of the disease. Although the geographic scope of CTAOP is Sub-Saharan Africa, the primary concentration has mostly been Charlize's home country of South Africa. CTAOP's approach is based on the belief that community-based organizations on the ground understand the social and structural relationships of their communities better than anyone. By supporting these organizations through grant giving, networking, and spotlighting their work, CTAOP enables communities to mobilize and empower themselves to prevent HIV.[50]

In 2008, Theron was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.[51] In his citation, Ban Ki-Moon said of Theron "You have consistently dedicated yourself to improving the lives of women and children in South Africa, and to preventing and stopping violence against women and girls."[52] She recorded a public service announcement in 2014 as part of their Stop Rape Now program.[53]

In December 2009, CTAOP and TOMS Shoes partnered to create a limited edition unisex shoe. The shoe was made from vegan materials and inspired by the African baobab tree, the silhouette of which was embroidered on blue and orange canvas. Ten-thousand pairs were given to destitute children, and a portion of the proceeds went to CTAOP.[54]

Theron is involved in women's rights organisations, and has marched in pro-choice rallies.[55] Theron also is a supporter of animal rights and active member of PETA. She appeared in a PETA ad for its anti-fur campaign.[56]

Theron is a supporter of same-sex marriage and attended a march and rally to support that in Fresno, California, on 30 May 2009.[57] She has publicly stated that she refuses to get married until same sex marriage is legal in the United States. Theron commented on the subject matter, saying: "I don't want to get married because right now the institution of marriage feels very one-sided, and I want to live in a country where we all have equal rights. I think it would be exactly the same if we were married, but for me to go through that kind of ceremony, because I have so many friends who are gays and lesbians who would so badly want to get married, that I wouldn't be able to sleep with myself."[58] Theron further elaborated on her stance in a June 2011 interview on Piers Morgan Tonight. She stated: "I do have a problem with the fact that our government hasn't stepped up enough to make this federal, to make [gay marriage] legal. I think everybody has that right."[59]

In March 2014, CTAOP was among the charities that benefited from the annual Fame and Philanthropy fundraising event on the night of the 86th Academy Awards. Theron was an honored guest along with Halle Berry and keynote speaker James Cameron.[60]

Endorsements[edit]

Having signed a deal with John Galliano in 2004, Theron replaced Estonian model Tiiu Kuik as the spokeswoman in the "J'adore" advertisements by Christian Dior.[61] From October 2005 to December 2006, Theron earned US$3 million for the use of her image in a worldwide print media advertising campaign for Raymond Weil watches.[62] In February 2006, she and her loan-out corporation were sued by Weil for breach of contract.[62][63] The lawsuit was settled on 4 November 2008.[64]

Personal life[edit]

Theron at the Meteor Awards in 2008

Theron has a son, Jackson, whose adoption was announced in March 2012.[65] She lives in Los Angeles.[66] Theron became a naturalised citizen of the United States in May 2007,[67] while retaining her South African citizenship.[68]

In the mid-1990s, Theron had a two-year relationship with actor Craig Bierko.[69][70] From 1997 to 2001, she dated Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins.[71] Theron then began a relationship with Irish actor Stuart Townsend, with whom she starred in Trapped (2002) and Head in the Clouds (2004).[71] Theron and Townsend separated in January 2010 after nearly nine years together.[72] Since early 2014, she has been dating actor Sean Penn.[73]

Health concerns[edit]

While filming Aeon Flux in Berlin, Germany, Theron suffered a herniated disc in her neck, caused by a fall while filming a series of back handsprings. It required her to wear a neck brace for a month.[74] In July 2009, she was diagnosed with a serious stomach virus, thought to be contracted while travelling outside the United States.[75][76] While filming The Road, Theron injured her vocal cords during the labour screaming scenes.[77]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest Young Woman Uncredited
1996 2 Days in the Valley Helga Svelgen
1996 That Thing You Do! Tina Powers
1997 Trial and Error Billie Tyler
1997 Devil's Advocate, TheThe Devil's Advocate Mary Ann Lomax
1998 Celebrity Supermodel
1998 Mighty Joe Young Jill Young
1999 Astronaut's Wife, TheThe Astronaut's Wife Jillian Armacost
1999 Cider House Rules, TheThe Cider House Rules Candy Kendall
2000 Reindeer Games Ashley Mercer
2000 Yards, TheThe Yards Erica Stoltz
2000 Legend of Bagger Vance, TheThe Legend of Bagger Vance Adele Invergordon
2000 Men of Honor Gwen Sunday
2001 Sweet November Sara Deever
2001 Curse of the Jade Scorpion, TheThe Curse of the Jade Scorpion Laura Kensington
2001 15 Minutes Rose Heam
2002 Trapped Karen Jennings
2002 Waking Up in Reno Candy Kirkendall
2003 Italian Job, TheThe Italian Job Stella Bridger
2003 Monster Aileen Wuornos
2004 Life and Death of Peter Sellers, TheThe Life and Death of Peter Sellers Britt Ekland
2004 Head in the Clouds Gilda Bessé
2005 North Country Josey Aimes
2005 Aeon FluxAeon Flux Aeon Flux Also in the video game
2007 In the Valley of Elah Det. Emily Sanders
2008 Sleepwalking Joleen Reedy Also producer
2008 Hancock Mary Embrey
2008 Battle in Seattle Ella
2009 Burning Plain, TheThe Burning Plain Sylvia
2009 Road, TheThe Road Wife
2009 Astro Boy Narrator Voice
2011 Young Adult Mavis Gary
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman Queen Ravenna
2012 Prometheus Meredith Vickers
2014 A Million Ways to Die in the West Anna
2014 Dark Places Libby Day Post-production
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road Imperator Furiosa Post-production
2015 The Last Face Filming
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1997 Hollywood Confidential Sally Movie
2005 Arrested Development Rita (Mr.F) 5 episodes
2006 Robot Chicken Daniel's Mom / Mother / Waitress Voice; Episode: "Book of Corrine"
Music videos
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Crossfire Mysterious and dangerous rescuer Song by Brandon Flowers
Producer
Year Title Notes
2003 Monster Also actress
2006 East of Havana Documentary
2008 Sleepwalking Also actress
2008 The Burning Plain Executive, also actress
2014 Dark Places Also actress

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1998 Mighty Joe Young Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1999 The Cider House Rules Bambi Award Shooting Star: Female Won
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Teen Choice Award Film – Choice Actress Nominated
2001 Sweet November Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actress Nominated
2003 Monster Academy Award Best Actress Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Won
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Actress Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Won
Independent Spirit Award Best Female Lead Won
Irish Film & Television Award Best International Actress Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award Best Actress Won
London Film Critics' Circle Award Actress of the Year Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Female Performance Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Kiss Nominated
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Actress Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Nominated
New York Film Critics Online Awards Best Actress Won
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award Best Actress Won
Satellite Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Won
Silver Bear (Silberner Bär) (tied with Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria Full of Grace) Best Actress Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award Best Actress Won
2004 The Life and Death of Peter Sellers Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated
2005 North Country Academy Award Best Actress Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Actress Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best Female Images in a Movie Won
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Won
2008 Hancock Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2009 The Burning Plain Saturn Award Best Actress Nominated
2011 Young Adult Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Actress Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Award Best Actress Nominated
Georgia Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Best Actress (runner-up) Nominated
Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman's Vanguard Award Won
Satellite Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
2012 Prometheus Teen Choice Award Choice Summer Movie Star: Female Nominated
People's Choice Award Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress Nominated
Snow White and the Huntsman People's Choice Award Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Hissy Fit Won
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Villain Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Summer Movie Star: Female Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farber, Tanya. "Charlize defends her 'unique' American accent". IOL News. I am a South African. 
  2. ^ "Charlize Theron Speaks Afrikaans". YouTube. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1271). 9 August 2013. p. 22. 
  4. ^ Karsten, Chris (2009). Charlize: Life's One Helluva Ride. Human & Rousseau. p. 18. 
  5. ^ a b Karsten, p. 16
  6. ^ a b Karsten, p. 14
  7. ^ "Charlize Theron Interview". UPI via AClassCelebs.com. 6 September 2001. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
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  16. ^ "Charlize Theron at Salerno "I could fall in love with Allen". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
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  18. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (24 August 2006). "Play It Tough". The Guardian (UK). Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
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  21. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (June 2008). "Charlize". W. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  22. ^ Philippe J. Salazar An African Athens, p. 112, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002 ISBN 978-0-8058-3341-6
  23. ^ "Charlize Theron to Drew Barrymore: 10 Surprising Playboy Cover Star". ibtimes.com. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "Most Scandalous Photoshoots". 6 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Johnathan Van Meter (October 2004). Bronzed bombshell[dead link]. Vogue/Style.com. Accessed 2008-06-24.
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  33. ^ Charlize Theron Emmy Award Winner
  34. ^ "Spike TV Video Game Awards 2005 Winners Announced". gamezone.com. Retrieved 5 March 2011. [dead link]
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  46. ^ Huffington Post – Charlize Theron to play evil queen in Snow White and the huntsman
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  48. ^ Berlin TOLDJA! Charlize Theron Locked For 'Dark Places' - Deadline.com
  49. ^ http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/most-valuable-movie-stars.html#/all/vulture-rankings
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  57. ^ "Thousands attend Fresno rally supporting gay marriage". latimes.com. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
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  77. ^ The Road Region 1 DVD, Special feature: The Making of The Road

External links[edit]