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Charlize Theron ( ; born August 7, 1975) is a South African actress, film producer, and former fashion model. She became an American citizen in 2007.

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 Academy Award for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster, for which she became the first African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. She received another Academy Award nomination for her performance in North Country.

Early life

Theron was born in Benonimarker, South Africa, the only child of Charles and Gerda Theron, and is of German and French descent. Theron's first language is Afrikaans, she is fluent in English and speaks some Zulu. "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has said that she prefers the pronunciation "Thrown".

Theron grew up on her parents' farm near Johannesburgmarker (Benoni). She attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein). At the age of 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School Of The Arts in Johannesburg. At 15, Theron witnessed the death of her father, an abusive alcoholic; her mother shot him in self-defence when he attacked her. The police pressed no charges against her.


At the age of 16, Theron traveled to Milanmarker, Italymarker, on a one-year modeling contract, after winning a local competition. She went to New Yorkmarker with Pauline's Model Management. She decided to remain after her contract ended, attending the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer. A knee injury closed this career path when Theron was 19.

Unable to dance, Theron flew to Los Angelesmarker on a one-way ticket her mother bought her. During her early months there, she went to a bank to cash a check her mother had sent her to help with the rent. When the teller refused to cash it, Theron immediately started a shouting match with her. Afterwards, a talent agent in line behind her handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to some casting agents and also an acting school. She later fired him as her manager after he kept sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species. After eight months in the city, she was cast in her first film part, a non-speaking role in the direct-to-video film Children of the Corn III (1995). Larger roles in widely released Hollywoodmarker films followed, and her career skyrocketed in the late 1990s with box office successes like The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999). She glossed the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair as the "White Hot Venus".

After appearing in a few notable films, Theron starred as the serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003). Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema". For this role, Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004, as well as the SAG Award and the Golden Globe Award. She is the first African to win an Oscar for Best Actress. The Oscar win pushed her to The Hollywood Reporter's 2006 list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywoodmarker; earning $10,000,000 for both her subsequent films, North Country and Æon Flux, she ranked seventh, behind Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Renée Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman.

On September 30, 2005, Theron received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker. In the same year, she starred in the financially unsuccessful science fiction thriller Æon Flux. Additionally, Theron received Best Actress Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her lead performance in the drama North Country. Ms. magazine also honored her for this performance with a feature article in its Fall 2005 issue.

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. She also received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her role of Britt Ekland in the 2004 HBO movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

In 2007, Esquire named her the Sexiest Woman Alive.

In 2008, Theron was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year. That year she also starred with Will Smith in Hancock, a movie that grossed $227.9M in the U.S.A. and $396.4M internationally, and in late 2008 she was asked to be a UN Messenger of Peace by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

On November 10, 2008, TV Guide reported that Theron will star in the film adaptation of The Danish Girl alongside Nicole Kidman. Theron will play Gerda Wegener, wife of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe (Kidman), the world's first known person to undergo sex reassignment surgery. In October 2009, Theron was cast to star in a sequel to the Mad Max films, titled Mad Max: Road Fury, which will commence filming at Broken Hill in New South Wales Australia in late 2010

Personal life

Theron resides in Los Angeles with her boyfriend Stuart Townsend, with whom she starred in the 2004 film Head in the Clouds, as well as in the 2002 film Trapped and 2005 Æon Flux. She has said that she will not marry until same-sex couples are able to have their marriages recognized. Townsend recently stated he considers himself and Theron to be husband and wife. "We didn't have a ceremony," he said. "I don't need a certificate or the state or the church to say otherwise. So no there's no big official story on a wedding, but we are married... I consider her my wife and she considers me her husband".

Theron became a naturalized citizen of the United States in May 2007.

Theron signed with William Morris Endeavour in 2009 and is represented by CEO Ari Emanuel.

Health concerns

While filming Æon Flux in Berlinmarker, Germanymarker, Theron suffered a herniated disc in her neck, which occurred as a result of her suffering a fall while filming a series of back handsprings. This required her to wear a neck collar for a month.

In July 2009, Theron was diagnosed with a serious virus, thought to be contracted while traveling overseas. She was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Promotional deals

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. Invariably, she would bearably bare the uppermost part of her bosom for Dior's ads. Then, on December 18, 2007, she finally stripped for Dior's J'Adore perfume. Galliano has reputedly cited her as a muse and has been creating couture dresses for her to wear to formal red carpet events such as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.

From October 2005 to December 2006, Theron earned $3,000,000 for the use of her image in a worldwide print media advertising campaign for Raymond Weil watches. In February 2006, she and her loan-out corporation were sued by Weil for breach of contract. The lawsuit was settled on November 4, 2008.


Theron is involved in women's rights organizations, and marched for abortion rights.

Theron is a supporter of animal rights and active member of PETA. She appeared in a PETA ad for their anti-fur campaign. She is also an active supporter of Democracy Now! and Link TV. She is a supporter of same sex marriage and attended the march in Fresno, California on 30 May 2009.

In July 2009, it was announced that Charlize Theron's Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) would form a coalition with LAFC Soccer Club to give soccer fields to rural areas in South Africa. LAFC Chelsea, one of America's most successful and prominent youth soccer clubs, made a three-year commitment to help build a community-wide soccer program for the schools in the Umkhanyakude District. This help includes uniforms, cleats, balls and equipment, along with professional training for local coaches, referees and administrators. The soccer league training will also include life-saving health education administered through a CTAOP-funded mobile health program. With the 2010 FIFA World Cup on African soil for the very first time, CTAOP wants to put a spotlight on the urgent need to provide sustainable health, education and recreational resources to remote areas where HIV/AIDS rates are unacceptably high.

Don Sheppards, president of LAFC Chelsea said:


Year Film Role Notes
1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest Young Woman Uncredited
1996 2 Days in the Valley Helga Svelgen
That Thing You Do! Tina Powers
1997 Hollywood Confidential Sally TV film
Trial and Error Billie Tyler
The Devil's Advocate Mary Ann Lomax
1998 Celebrity Supermodel
Mighty Joe Young Jill Young Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1999 The Astronaut's Wife Jillian Armacost
The Cider House Rules Candy Kendall Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Movie

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2000 Reindeer Games Ashley Mercer
The Yards Erica Stoltz
The Legend of Bagger Vance Adele Invergordon
Men of Honor Gwen Sunday
2001 Sweet November Sara Deever
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion Laura Kensington
15 Minutes Rose Heam
2002 Trapped Karen Jennings
Waking Up in Reno Candy Kirkendall
2003 The Italian Job Stella Bridger
Monster Aileen Wuornos Academy Award for Best Actress

Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress

Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress

Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama

Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature

Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress

National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress

National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress

National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress

Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama

Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture

Silver Bear for Best Actress (tied with Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria full of Grace)

Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress

Nominated — Irish Film & Television Award for Best International Actress
2004 The Life and Death of Peter Sellers Britt Ekland Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Miniseries or a Movie

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Head in the Clouds Gilda Bessé
2005 North Country Josey Aimes Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama

Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture

Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Æon Flux Æon Flux
2007 In the Valley of Elah Det. Emily Sanders
2008 Sleepwalking Joleen Also producer
Hancock Mary
Battle in Seattle Ella Stuart Townsend directing
2009 The Burning Plain Sylvia Also producer
The Road Wife Post-production
Astro Boy Narrator 'Our Friends'

TV guest appearances

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Arrested Development Rita 5 episodes
2006 Robot Chicken Daniel's Mom / Mother / Waitress 1 episode

Other lists

In May 2006, Maxim named Theron #25 in its annual "Hot 100" issue. In October 2007, Esquire named Theron The Sexiest Woman Alive in its annual issue.


  1. Family Tree
  2. Philippe J. Salazar An African Athens, p. 112, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002 ISBN 978-0805833416
  3. IMDB Business Data
  4. Charlize Theron - Awards
  5. Laura Corn Passport to Pleasure, p. 111, Simon & Schuster, 2008 ISBN 978-1416964049
  6. Hasty Pudding To Honor Walken, Theron from the Harvard Crimson
  7. Nicole Kidman to Star as Transsexual, Marrying Charlize Theron in New Film" TV Guide. November 10, 2008. Retrieved on November 12, 2008.
  8. Sex in Women's Magazine Advertising p. 97
  9. Charlize Theron's Screen Gems from The Smoking Gun
  10. " Actress Charlize Theron Sued by Swiss Watchmaker". Associated Press, February 6, 2007.
  11. Link TV January 22, 09
  12. Maxim Online
  13. Charlize Theron Is the Sexiest Woman Alive 2007 from Esquire magazine

External links

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