Halle Maria Berry (born August 14, 1966) is an American actress.
Halle was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She was named after Halle's Department Store, a local landmark. Although she is generally considered African American, she is biracial, with a white English-born mother, Judith Ann Hawkins, and a black American father, Jerome Berry. Halle's parents divorced when she was four years old and she was subsequently raised by her mother, a psychiatric-ward nurse. Halle has an older sister, Heidi.
Halle was a popular student at her high school and was a cheerleader, honor society member, editor of the school paper, class president, and prom queen. She subsequently attended Cuyahoga Community College.
Before becoming an actress, Halle entered several beauty queen contests including Miss Ohio USA, Miss Teen All American, Miss USA, and Miss World. Her talents as an actress have often been overshadowed by her physical beauty.
In the late 1980's, 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."
Halle auditioned for a role in an updated "Charlie's Angels" television series by producer Aaron Spelling. At the time, Spelling wanted one of the "Angels" to be a woman of color. She did not get the role but she impressed Spelling by her skills. He encouraged her to continue perfecting her craft.
In 1989, Halle landed the role of brainy "Emily Franklin" in the ABC television series called "Living Dolls."
Halle's breakthrough feature film role was in "Jungle Fever" where she played a drug addict named Vivian. Her first co-starring role was in the film "Strictly Business." Another one of her early roles was in a supporting capacity in the Flintstones movie where she played "Sharon Stone." She played the superhero Storm in 2000 in the successful film, X-Men. "Gothika" was the first film that she "carried," i.e., the film focusing entirely on her.
She won the best actress Oscar in 2002 for Monster's Ball, becoming the first African American woman to win this award. Interestingly, Berry had played Dorothy Dandridge, the first African American woman to be nominated for a best actress Academy Award, in HBO's "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" in 1999. Another similarity the two women shared was being born in the same hospital.
In February 2000, Halle was involved in a automobile accident when she struck another vehicle after running a red light and left the scene before the police arrived. Halle, who had sustained a head injury, later stated she had no recollection of the accident and pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge. She paid a fine, made restitution to the other driver, performed community services, and was placed on three years probation.
Having long refused to do any nude scenes, much was made of Halle's first topless scene in the film Swordfish, a thirty second scene for which she was allegedly paid an additional $500,000. Halle followed this with a more extended nude love scene in Monster's Ball.
Halle has been married twice. Her first marriage in 1992 to baseball player David Justice ended in a 1996 divorce. Her second marriage in 2001 to musician Eric Benét has resulted in a 2003 separation. Halle has never had children herself, but is close to her step-daughter India from her marriage to Benet.
Halle is expected get her "star" on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California sometime in 2004.
Halle has diabetes and is partially deaf.
2003 X2: X-Men United
2002 Die Another Day
2001 Monster's Ball
1999 Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
1998 Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding
1998 Why Do Fools Fall In Love
1996 Race the Sun
1996 The Rich Man's Wife
1996 Girl 6
1996 Executive Decision
1995 Losing Isaiah
1994 The Flintstones
1993 Father Hood
1993 The Program
1993 CB4: The Movie
1992 Queen [TV]
1991 Jungle Fever
1991 Strictly Business
1991 The Last Boy Scout
1989 Living Dolls