Halle Berry Biography:
A woman whose combination of talent,
tenacity, and beauty has made her
one of Hollywood's busiest actors,
Halle Berry has enjoyed a level of
success that has come from years of
hard work and her share of career
Berry's interest in show business came
courtesy of her participation in a
number of beauty pageants
throughout her teens, including the
1986 Miss U.S.A. Pageant. A native of
Cleveland, OH, where she was born to
an African-American father and white
mother on August 14, 1968, Berry was
raised by her mother, a psychiatric
nurse, following her parents' divorce.
At the age of 17, she appeared in the
spotlight for the first time as the winner
of the Miss Teen All-American
Pageant, and subsequently became a
model. Berry won her first professional
acting gig on the TV series Living
Dolls, and then appeared on Knots
Landing before winning her first
big-screen role in Spike Lee's Jungle
Fever. It was on the set of the film that
she first earned her reputation for her
full commitment to acting, reportedly
refusing to bathe for weeks in
preparation for her portrayal of a crack
Following her film debut, Berry was
cast opposite Eddie Murphy in
Boomerang (1992) as the comedian's
love interest; not only did she hold her
own against Murphy, but the same
year she did acclaimed work in the title
role of the Alex Haley miniseries
Queen, playing a young woman
struggling against the brutal conditions
After a comedic turn as sultry
secretary Sharon Stone in the 1994
live-action version of The Flintstones,
Berry returned to more serious fare
with her role in the adoption drama
Losing Isaiah (1995). Starring opposite
Jessica Lange as a former crack addict
battling to win custody of her child, who
as a baby was adopted by an affluent
white couple, Berry earned a mixed
reception from critics, some of whom
noted that her scenes with Lange
highlighted Berry's own shortcomings.
However, critical opinion of the actress'
work was overwhelmingly favorable in
1998, when she starred as a street
smart young woman who comes to the
aid of a bumbling politician in Warren
Beatty's Bullworth. The following year,
Berry won even greater acclaim -- and
an Emmy and Golden Globe -- for her
turn as tragic screen siren Dorothy
Dandridge in the made-for-cable
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.
Unfortunately, any acclaim Berry
enjoyed was overshadowed by her
widely publicized brush with the law in
February of 2000, when she allegedly
ran a red light, slammed into another
car, and then left the scene of the
accident. The actress, who suffered a
gash to her forehead (the driver of the
other car sustained a broken wrist),
was booked in a misdemeanor court in
early April of that year.
Fortunately for Berry, her subsequent
onscreen work removed the spotlight
from her legal troubles; that same
year, she starred as Storm in Bryan
Singer's hugely successful adaptation
of The X-Men. Working alongside a
cast that included Ian McKellen, Hugh
Jackman, Famke Janssen, and Anna
Paquin, Berry was hailed for her work
as the first African-American comic
book heroine on the screen. Acclaim
was not quite as forthcoming for her
work opposite John Travolta in Dominic
Sena's cheesy thriller Swordfish, which
touted itself as the first movie to
feature Berry baring her breasts.
Unfortunately, it didn't allow for equal
exploitation of the talents that Berry
possessed above her collarbone.
Berry again bared more than her
character's inner turmoil in Monster's
Ball (2001), a romantic drama directed
by Marc Forster that starred the
actress as a woman who becomes
involved with a racist ex-prison-guard
(Billy Bob Thornton) who oversaw the
prison execution of her husband (Sean
Combs). Berry earned wide critical
praise for her work in the film, as well
as Golden Globe and Oscar
nominations for Best Actress. And
though she may have lost out to Sissy
Spacek in the Golden Globes, her
night at the Oscars found Berry the
favored performer as took home a
statue for Best Actress. A momentous
footnote in Academy Award history,
Berry's win marked the first time an
African American had been bestowed
that particular honor.
Although her turn in the James Bond
flick Die Another Day was so
successful that talk began of a spin-off
film, Berry's first true post-Oscar
vehicle Gothika proved to be
unpopular with both critics and
moviegoers. Luckily, 2003 wasn't a
total loss for her though as X2: X-Men
United was a box-office smash and was
regarded by many to be superior to its
predecessor. Sticking with
comic-books as source-material, Berry
could be seen in Catwoman the
following Summer. Rebecca Flint, All
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