Although this African-American actress started out as a beauty queen and model, she went on to become a pioneer for black women in Hollywood. Initially Berry appeared on the small screen in the short-lived series Living Dolls (as a model, of course) as well as a handful of guest spots. Her powerhouse turn as a crack addict in Jungle Fever proved an impressive entry into films. Despite her obvious talent, the beauty was often reduced to window dressing (The Last Boy Scout, Boomerang, The Flintstones). In 1999 Berry realized a lifelong dream and won an acting Emmy when she produced and starred in the TV biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, about the first black performer to be nominated for an Oscar as best actress. The part proved prophetic when Berry became the first black actress to win that coveted award in 2002 for her unglamorous turn as a woman coping with a husband on death row in Monster's Ball. While on a career high, her personal life was messy, including high-profile divorces from professional baseball player David Justice and singer Eric Benét, and a 2000 hit-and-run accident and subsequent civil suit. In the early 2000s, Berry also made some career missteps, including a Razzie-winning performance in Catwoman. But she took all these setbacks in stride and, in an impressive show of good humor, she became the first big-name star to accept her Razzie Award in person in 2005. Her family life took a positive turn when she had her first child, Nahla Ariela Aubry, at the age of 41 with her partner Gabriel Aubry.
- Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 22, she sought treatment from a holistic MD who has helped her to control the disease without insulin injections.
- During high school, she was a cheerleader, editor of the school newspaper, member of the honor society, class president and prom queen.
- Was first runner-up in the 1986 Miss USA contest.
- Named "Artist of the Year" by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations in 1998.
- Accidentally broke her arm during the filming of Gothika and had to wear a cast for most of the movie.
- Became the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress for 2001's Monster's Ball.
- Named Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire magazine in 2008.
- 1999, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Winner
- 2007, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Female Action Star: Winner
- 2011, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
- 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
- 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Made for Television Movie: Nominee
- 2006, Independent Spirit Awards — Best First Feature: Nominee
- 2000, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Winner
- 2002, Berlin Film Festival — Silver Bear for Best Actress: Winner
- 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Winner
- 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Made for Television Movie: Nominee
- 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Winner
- 2006, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
- 2002, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
- 2001, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Winner
- 2003, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
- Eric Benét — Ex-husband
- David Justice — Ex-husband
- Gabriel Aubry — Ex-significant Other
- Maceo-Robert Martinez — Son
- Olivier Martinez — Ex-husband
- Heidi Berry — Sister
- Renee Berry — Half Sister
- Jerome Berry — Father
- Judith Berry — Mother
- Nahla Ariela Aubry — Daughter
- Attended Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio, United States