Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron

Theron in February 2008
Born 7 August 1975 (1975-08-07) (age 36)
Benoni, Transvaal Province, South Africa
Occupation Actress, producer, director, fashion model
Years active 1995–present
Partner Stuart Townsend (2000–2010; separated)
Official website

Charlize Theron (play /ʃɑrˈls ˈθɛrən/; born 7 August 1975) is a South African actress, film producer and former fashion model.

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 Benoni, in the then Transvaal Province of South Africa, the only child of Gerda Jacoba Aletta (née Maritz; born 27 January 1953) and Charles Jacobus Theron (27 November 1947 – 21 June 1991).[1] Her mother is of German descent and her father was of Occitan and Dutch ancestry; Theron is descended from early Huguenot settlers, and Boer War figure Daniel Theron was her great-great uncle.[2] "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has said that the way it is pronounced in South Africa is "Thrown".[3] She changed the pronunciation when she moved to the U.S.

Although fluent in English, her first language is Afrikaans.[4][5] She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg.[6] Her father died on 21 June 1991, after he was shot by Theron's mother. Theron's father, who suffered from alcoholism,[6] physically attacked her mother and threatened both women while being drunk. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defence and her mother faced no charges.[2][7]

Theron attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein). At the age of thirteen, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg.[6]


At the age of sixteen, Theron travelled to Milan on a one-year modelling contract,[6] after winning a local competition. She went to New York 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.[8][9]

Unable to dance, Theron flew to Los Angeles on a one-way ticket her mother bought her.[8] During her early months there, she went to a bank to cash a cheque 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.[6] 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.[10][11] She later fired him as her manager after he kept sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species.[12] After several 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).[6] Her first speaking role was a supporting but significant part in 2 Days in the Valley.[6] Larger roles in widely released Hollywood films followed, and her career expanded in the late 1990s with box office successes like The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999).[6] She was on the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair as the "White Hot Venus".[13]

Theron at the premiere of North Country at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival

After appearing in a few notable films, Theron starred as the serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003).[6] Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema".[14] For this role, Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004,[15] as well as the SAG Award and the Golden Globe Award.[16] She is the first South African to win an Oscar for Best Actress.[17] The Oscar win pushed her to The Hollywood Reporter's 2006 list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood; 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.[citation needed]

On 30 September 2005, Theron received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[17] In the same year, she starred in the financially unsuccessful science fiction thriller Æon Flux.[citation needed]

Theron received Best Actress Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her lead performance in the drama North Country.[15][16] Ms. magazine also honoured her for this performance with a feature article in its Fall 2005 issue.[citation needed] She also received the 2005 Spike Video Game Award for Best Performance by a Human Female for her voiceover work in the Æon Flux video game.[18][19]

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.[20] 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.[citation needed]

In 2008 Theron was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year.[21] That year she also starred with Will Smith in Hancock, a film that grossed $227.9M in the U.S. and $396.4M internationally,[22] and in late 2008 she was asked to be a UN Messenger of Peace by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.[23]

In October 2009, Theron was cast to star in a sequel to the Mad Max films, titled Mad Max: Road Fury, which filmed at Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia in late 2010.[24][25]

On 4 December 2009, Theron co-presented the draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, accompanied by several other celebrities of South African origin. During rehearsals she drew an Ireland ball instead of France as a joke at the expense of FIFA, referring to Thierry Henry's handball controversy in the play off match between France and Ireland.[26][27] The stunt alarmed FIFA enough for it to fear she might do it again in front of a live global audience.[28]

As reported on Piers Morgan Tonight on 2 July 2011, Theron's movies have earned a combine total of 800 Million dollars.[citation needed]

Theron has been cast in the role of The Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman.[29]

Personal life

Theron lives in the Los Angeles area. She separated from her partner of almost a decade, Irish actor Stuart Townsend (with whom she starred in the 2004 film Head in the Clouds as well as in the 2002 film Trapped), in January 2010.[30]

Theron became a naturalised citizen of the United States in May 2007.[31]

She signed with William Morris Endeavour in 2009 and is represented by CEO Ari Emanuel.[32]

Health concerns

While filming Æon Flux in Berlin, Germany, 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.[33]

In July 2009 Theron was diagnosed with a serious stomach virus, thought to be contracted while travelling outside the United States.[34] She was hospitalised at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and she finished convalescing in her own home.[35]

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.[36] 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.[citation needed]

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.[37] In February 2006, she and her loan-out corporation were sued by Weil for breach of contract.[37][38] The lawsuit was settled on 4 November 2008.[39]


Theron is involved in women's rights organisations, and has marched in pro-choice rallies.[40]

Theron also is a supporter of animal rights and active member of PETA. She appeared in a PETA ad for their anti-fur campaign.[41] She is a supporter of marriage equality and attended a march to support that in Fresno, California, on 30 May 2009.

In July 2009 it was announced that 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 the United States's most successful and prominent youth soccer clubs, made a three-year commitment to help build a community-wide soccer programme 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.[42] 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:

When I learned about Charlize's incredible plan to give sustainable opportunities to young South Africans who are at enormous risk, I knew that LAFC Chelsea was in position to help.[42]
"Our goal is to help truly create a safer, healthier and better life for young people in South Africa, especially those living in remote areas, and to ensure that the resources we bring are self sustaining. The three year commitment is so incredible and key to being sure that the program will be around for many years to come", says Charlize Theron. "I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to Don and LAFC Chelsea for their commitment to help us give these beautiful, young people a recreational outlet that is sorely lacking from their lives."[42]

In December 2009, CTAOP and TOMS Shoes partnered to create a limited edition unisex shoe. The shoe was made from vegan-materials and was inspired by the African Baobab tree, whose silhouette was embroidered on blue and orange canvas. 10,000 pairs were given to destitute children, and a portion of the proceeds went direcly to CTAOP.[43]


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest Young Woman Uncredited
1996 2 Days in the Valley Helga Svelgen
1996 That Thing You Do! Tina Powers
1997 Hollywood Confidential Sally TV film
1997 Trial and Error Billie Tyler
1997 Devil's Advocate, TheThe Devil's Advocate Mary Ann Lomax
1998 Celebrity Supermodel
1998 Mighty Joe Young Jill Young Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1999 Astronaut's Wife, TheThe Astronaut's Wife Jillian Armacost
1999 Cider House Rules, TheThe 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
2000 Yards, TheThe Yards Erica Stoltz
2000 Legend of Bagger Vance, TheThe Legend of Bagger Vance Adele Invergordon
2000 Men of Honor Gwen Sunday
2001 Sweet November Sara Deever
2001 Curse of the Jade Scorpion, TheThe Curse of the Jade Scorpion Laura Kensington
2001 15 Minutes Rose Heam
2002 Trapped Karen Jennings
2002 Waking Up in Reno Candy Kirkendall
2003 Italian Job, TheThe Italian Job Stella Bridger
2003 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
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 Life and Death of Peter Sellers, TheThe 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
2004 Head in the Clouds Gilda Bessé
2005 North Country Josey Aimes Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
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
2005 AEon FluxÆon Flux Æon Flux
2007 In the Valley of Elah Det. Emily Sanders
2008 Sleepwalking Joleen Also producer
2008 Hancock Mary Embrey Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2008 Battle in Seattle Ella Stuart Townsend directing
2009 Burning Plain, TheThe Burning Plain Sylvia Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
2009 Road, TheThe Road Wife
2009 Astro Boy Narrator
2011 Young Adult Mavis Gary Post-production
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman Ravenna Filming
2012 Prometheus Meredith Vickers Filming
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Arrested Development Rita 5 episodes
2006 Robot Chicken Daniel's Mom / Mother / Waitress 1 episode
Music Videos
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Crossfire Mysterious and dangerous rescuer Song by Brandon Flowers


  1. ^ "Charlize Theron". Biography Channel. Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Karsten, Chris (2009). Charlize: Life's One Helluva Ride. Human & Rousseau. pp. 14–19. 
  3. ^ "interview". 6 September 2001. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "Charlize Theron". Access Hollywood. Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  5. ^ "Charlize Theron". People. Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2004
  7. ^ Biography of Charlize Theron
  8. ^ a b Lynn Hirschberg (Spring 2008). "Charlize Angel" (Flash). New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  9. ^ Charlotte Higgins (24 August 2006). "Play It Tough". The Guardian (UK).,,1857161,00.html. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  10. ^ Sara Davidson (October 2005). "Charlize Theron Interview". Reader's Digest. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  11. ^ Jack Foley. "In the Valley of Elah — Charlize Theron interview". Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  12. ^ Gabriel Snyder (June 2008). "Charlize". W (magazine). Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  13. ^ Philippe J. Salazar An African Athens, p. 112, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002 ISBN 978-0805833416
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (1 January 2004). "Reviews: Monster". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  15. ^ a b "Academy Awards Database: Charlize Theron". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  16. ^ a b "Golden Globe Award Database: Charlize Theron". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  17. ^ a b "Hollywood honours actress Theron". BBC NEWS. 30 September 2005. 
  18. ^ "Spike TV Video Game Awards 2005 Winners Announced". Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "Video Game Awards 05' Pictures". Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  20. ^ 9: 30 a.m. ET (30 August 2005). "Charlize Theron gets 'Arrested' this season — TV comedy —". MSNBC. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  21. ^ Hasty Pudding To Honor Walken, Theron from the Harvard Crimson
  22. ^ "Hancock". Box Office Mojo. 
  23. ^ "Entertainment | Actress to become UN peace envoy". BBC News. 15 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "Mad Max to the Rescue... again". Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  25. ^ McNary, Dave (29 October 2009). "Charlize Theron to star in 'Mad' film". Variety. Retrieved 30 October 2009. 
  26. ^ If you want to get ahead... (3 December 2009). ""Theron has a ball at FIFA's expense" by Jason O'Brien, Irish Independent, Thursday December 3, 2009". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  27. ^ Charlize puts Ireland in the finals. 4 December 2009
  28. ^ "FIFA shock as Charlize Theron picks Ireland as first team in World Cup draw, Hollywood star pulls stunt on World Cup officials in South Africa". Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  29. ^ Huffington Post – Charlize Theron to play evil queen in Snow White and the huntsman
  30. ^ Graham, Caroline (31 January 2010). "Charlize Theron 'rings off' after secret split with Stuart Townsend". The Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  31. ^ Judy Rosen (12 March 2008). "Charlize Theron: Glad To Be A U.S. Citizen". CBS News. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  32. ^ "Ari Emanuel: 21st Century Hollywood Mogul". The Independent (UK). 15 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  33. ^ Rebecca Murray. "Charlize Theron Talks About Starring in "Aeon Flux"". Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  34. ^ "Report: Charlize Theron Hospitalized With Serious Virus". Fox News. 11 July 2009.,2933,531461,00.html. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  35. ^ "Charlize Theron Recovering From 'Unknown' Virus". Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  36. ^ "Dior signs Charlize Theron". CNN. 13 August 2004. 
  37. ^ a b Charlize Theron's Screen Gems from The Smoking Gun
  38. ^ "Actress Charlize Theron Sued by Swiss Watchmaker". Associated Press, 6 February 2007.
  39. ^ "Charlize Theron settles $20M lawsuit brought by Swiss watchmaker". 4 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  40. ^ "Hillary takes on Bush". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 April 2004. 
  41. ^ "Charlize Theron Dogs the Fur Trade". People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Retrieved 16 January 2008. 
  42. ^ a b c "Charlize Theron gives soccer opportunities to children". 15 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  43. ^ "Charlize Theron Designs Shoes with TOMS for Charity". People. 17 December 2009. 

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