Biography

This captivating former model has carved out an impressive career by playing some not-so-pretty characters. After capturing attention as a sexy hit woman in her 1996 film debut, 2 Days in the Valley, Theron took on a succession of less flashy parts, including an uptight girlfriend in That Thing You Do and a naive Southern wife in The Devil's Advocate. In the late '90s and early 2000s, Theron appeared in a plethora of high-minded (if not always successful) Hollywood films (The Cider House Rules, The Legend of Bagger Vance, 15 Minutes), but it was her turn as a lesbian prostitute/serial killer in the 2003 indie hit Monster that established her as a great actress. Virtually unrecognizable under many pounds of extra weight and makeup, Theron took home a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her transformative performance. She continued her deglamorized cinema streak as a sexually harassed miner in North Country, which earned her Golden Globe and Oscar nods in 2006. Off-screen, Theron is devoted to a number of charitable causes, including the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), which she founded to help create safer and healthier lives for impoverished children in South Africa.

Fast Facts

  • Left her native South Africa in 1991, the same year that her mother shot and killed Charlize's father in self-defense.
  • Won a modeling contest in Italy at the age of 16.
  • Studied with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City for eight months.
  • First attracted the attention of talent manager John Crosby with a tirade in a Los Angeles-area bank after a teller refused to cash her out-of-state check.
  • Made her feature-film debut in 2 Days in the Valley (1996), playing a sexy villain who engages in a bruising fight scene with Teri Hatcher.
  • Became the first South African to win an Academy Award for Best Actress when she won for Monster (2003).
  • Starred with then-real-life boyfriend Stuart Townsend in 2004's Head in the Clouds.
  • Created the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program in 2007.
  • Shaved her head for her role in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Awards

  • 1999, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2005, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
  • 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 2012, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical: Nominee
  • 2006, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 2003, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Winner
  • 2003, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Winner
  • 2005, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2004, Berlin Film Festival — Silver Bear for Best Actress: Winner
  • 2005, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2005, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2004, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Winner
  • 2004, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
  • 2004, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee

Relationships

  • Charles Theron — Father
  • Gerda Theron — Mother
  • Denver — Stepbrother
  • Stuart Townsend — Ex-significant Other
  • Sean Penn — Ex-significant Other
  • Stephan Jenkins — Ex-significant Other
  • Jackson — Son