Halle Berry Undressed
Halle Maria Berry (born August 14, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning American actress and former fashion model and beauty queen. In 2002, Berry won Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her role in Monster's Ball.
Berry's parents selected her first name from that of Halle's Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. She is the daughter of Judith Ann Hawkins, a Liverpudlian, and Jerome J. Berry, who was African American.
Berry was a popular student at Bedford High School and was a cheerleader, honor society member, editor of the school newspaper, class president and prom queen. She worked in the children's department at Higbee's Department store. She subsequently attended Cuyahoga Community College.
Before becoming an actress, she entered and won several beauty contests, including Miss Ohio USA, Miss Teen All-American, Miss USA (was first runner-up in 1986 to Christy Fichtner of Texas, the second of the Texas Aces), and Miss World 1986 (as "Miss United States World", she placed sixth in a contest won by Trinidad and Tobago's Giselle Laronde). 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 or newspaper. Her interview was awarded the highest score by the judges.
In the late 1980s, she went to Chicago, 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."
Berry auditioned for a role in an updated Charlie's Angels television series by producer Aaron Spelling. She impressed Spelling with her skills, and he encouraged her to continue perfecting her craft.
In 1989, Berry landed the role of brainy Emily Franklin in the short-lived ABC television series Living Dolls (a spin-off of Who's the Boss?). Her breakthrough feature film role was in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever in which she played a drug addict named Vivian. Her first co-starring role was in the film Strictly Business. Another early role Berry played was the villain/friend in the Flintstones movie as "Sharon Stone", in a part rumored to have been intended for Sharon Stone (Berry would later co-star alongside Stone in Catwoman). In 1996, she played the role of Sandra Beecher in Race the Sun, which was based on a true story. The year before, Berry caught the public's attention with her portrayal as a female biracial slave in the TV adaption of Queen: The Story of an American Family, by Alex Haley.
Berry is also known by many comic book fans for her portrayal of the mutant Storm in the movie adaptation of the popular comic book series X-Men (2000) and its successful sequels X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
In late 2001, Berry appeared as Leticia Musgrove, the wife of an executed murderer, in the film Monster's Ball. The role earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
As Bond Girl Jinx in 2002's Die Another Day she famously re-created the scene from Dr. No, bursting from the surf - scantily clad - to be greeted by James Bond, as Ursula Andress did 40 years earlier.
In late 2003, Berry starred in the psychological thriller Gothika opposite Charles S. Dutton, which was the first film that she "carried," i.e., her role was the most important one in the film. Her next lead role was in the film Catwoman, for which she was awarded a "worst actress" Razzie award in 2005, which she actually accepted in person with a sense of humor and recognition that "to be at the top, you must experience the rock bottom".
She has recently (2006) filmed the thriller Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis and just wrapped shooting Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio Del Toro. She is next set to star in "Class Act", based on the real life story of a teacher whose students helped her run for political office.
Berry is also making a transition to behind the scenes work in film and television. She is working with author Angela Nissel to executive produce a comedy series based on Nissel's two memoirs, The Broke Diaries and Mixed: My Life in Black and White.
Berry has served many years as the face of Revlon cosmetics and was recently named the new face of Versace. She is featured in Maxim magazine's Girls of Maxim gallery. She is also one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, commanding $14 million each for Gothika and Catwoman.