Remarkable People

ID #5238

Charlize Theron, Academy-Award Winning Actress, Film Producer and Fashion Model, South Africa.

Charlize Theron (1975-) is an Academy-award (AA) winning actress, film producer, and fashion model. She rose to fame in the late 1990s following her roles in 2 Days in the Valley, Mighty Joe Young, The Devil's Advocate, and The Cider House Rules. She received critical acclaim and an AA for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster. She received a second AA nomination for her performance in North Country.

Theron was born in Benoni, the only child of Gerda Maritz and Charles Theron. She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni near Johannesburg. Her mother is of German descent and her father was of French and Dutch ancestry. Theron is directly descended from early Huguenot settlers and the Anglo-Boer War figure, Danie Theron, was her great-grandfather's brother.

Although fluent in English, her first language is Afrikaans. She attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein). At 13 Theron was sent to boarding school and began studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. At 15 Theron witnessed the death of her father, reportedly an abusive alcoholic. When he attacked her, her mother shot him in self-defence.

At 16 Theron traveled to Milan on a one-year modeling contract. She went to New York with Pauline's Model Management and decided to remain after her contract ended, attending the Joffrey Ballet School. A knee injury at 19 closed this career path. Unable to dance, Theron flew to Los Angeles on a one-way ticket. On arrival, she went into a bank to cash a check her mother had sent her. When the teller refused to do so, Theron started a shouting match. An agent in line behind her subsequently introduced her to casting agents and an acting school. After eight months, she was cast in her first film part -- Children of the Corn III (1995). Larger roles followed, and her career skyrocketed in the late 1990s with successes like The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998) and The Cider House Rules (1999). She was on the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair.

Later Theron starred as Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003). Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema". Theron won an AA for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in 2004, as well as SAG and Golden Globe Awards for the role. She is the first African to win an Oscar for Best Actress, which made her one of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.

In 2005 Theron received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the same year, she starred in the unsuccessful thriller Ćon Flux. Theron received Best Actress AA and Golden Globe nominations for her lead performance in the drama North Country. Ms. Magazine honored her with a feature article in its fall 2005 issue. In 2005 Theron portrayed Rita, Michael Bluth's love interest in the third season of the TV series Arrested Development. She also received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her role as Britt Ekland in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. In 2008 Theron was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year. That year she starred with Will Smith in Hancock and in 2008 she was asked to be a UN Messenger of Peace by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

In 2009 Theron co-presented the draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town accompanied by several other celebrities.
Theron signed with William Morris Endeavour in 2009 and is represented by CEO Ari Emanuel.

Having signed a deal with John Galliano in 2004, Theron appeared in the J'ADORE advertisements by Christian Dior. On December 18, 2007, she stripped for Dior's J'Adore perfume. Galliano reputedly cited her as his muse and has been creating couture dresses for her to wear to red carpet events. During 2005- 2006, Theron appeared in an advertising campaign for Raymond Weil watches. In February 2006 she and her corporation were sued by Weil for breach of contract which was settled on November 2008.

Theron is involved in women's rights organizations, and marched for abortion rights. She is a supporter of animal rights and an active member of PETA. She appeared in a PETA anti-fur campaign. She is also an supporter of Democracy Now! and Link TV.  
In July 2009, it was announced that Charlize Theron's Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) would form a coalition with the LAFC Soccer Club to create soccer fields in South Africa. The help includes uniforms, cleats, balls and equipment, along with professional training for local coaches, referees, administrators as well as health education.

Theron resides in Los Angeles and became a US citizen in May 2007.

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Last update: 2014-05-14 16:44
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.3

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