Halle Maria Berry (IPA: /ˈhælɪ ˈbɛrɪ/; born August 14, 1966) is an American actress and former fashion model and beauty queen. Berry has received Emmy and Golden Globe awards for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002 for her performance in Monster’s Ball, becoming the only woman of African-American descent to have won the award for Best Actress. She is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She is attempting to expand into the production side of Hollywood.
Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing runner-up in Miss USA (1986), and winning the Miss USA World 1986 contest. Her breakthrough feature film role was in the 1991 Jungle Fever. This led to roles in The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), X-Men (2000) and its sequels, and Die Another Day. She also won a worst actress Razzie award in 2005 for Catwoman, and accepted the award in person.
Berry studied at Bedford High School She worked in the children’s department at Higbee’s Department store. She subsequently attended the Cuyahoga Community College. In the 1980s, she entered several beauty contests, winning Miss Teen All-American in 1985 and Miss Ohio USA in 1986. Other entries included Miss USA (first runner-up in 1986 to Christy Fichtner of Texas, the second of the Texas Aces), and sixth place in Miss World 1986 (the winner being Trinidad and Tobago’s Giselle Laronde). In the Miss USA 1986 pageant interview competition, she said she hoped to become an entertainer or to have something to do with the media. Her interview was awarded the highest score by the judges.
As Bond girl Jinx in the 2002 blockbuster Die Another Day, she famously recreated the scene from Dr. No, bursting from the surf to be greeted by James Bond, as Ursula Andress had 40 years earlier. In late 2003, she starred in the psychological thriller Gothika opposite Robert Downey Jr. The same year, she was named #1 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll. Her next lead role was in the film Catwoman, for which she was awarded a “worst actress” Razzie award in 2005. She accepted the award in person with a sense of humor, considering it an experience of the “rock bottom” in order to be “at the top”. Holding the Academy Award in one hand and the Razzie in the other she said, “I never in my life thought that I would be here, winning a Razzie. It’s not like I ever aspired to be here, but thank you. When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there’s no way you could be a good winner”.
Berry is making the transition to working on the production side of film and television. She is working with author Angela Nissel to executive-produce a comedy series based on Nissel’s two memoirs, The Broke Diaries and Mixed: My Life in Black and White. Berry has served many years as the face of Revlon cosmetics and also served as the face of Versace. She is featured in Maxim magazine’s Girls of Maxim gallery.
Berry is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, earning $14 million each for Gothika and Catwoman. In July 2007, she topped In Touch magazine’s list of the world’s most fabulous 40-something celebrities. On April 3, 2007, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry.