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Halle Berry

Born August 14th, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio, Halle Maria Berry was raised by her mother Judith, a psychiatric ward nurse, with her older sister Heidi. Judith's husband (Halle's father) walked out on the family when Halle was only 4 years old.

Although living in a single parent household was somewhat tough, Halle's mom managed to move the family out of the inner-city neighborhood and into the suburbs of Cleveland. Because the neighborhood was predominantly white, Halle and her sister were treated cruelly because of their dark skin.

Determined not to let the color of her skin get the better of her, Halle made it a point to make friends, while her dream of becoming an actress had already begun to surface.

By the time Halle reached high school, she was a cheerleader, an honor society member, editor of the school paper, and class president. Not surprisingly, she was crowned her high school's prom queen.

In 1983, when she was only 17 years old, Halle's boyfriend at the time entered her name in the Miss Teen Ohio beauty pageant. Once again, it's no surprise that Halle got to wear the crown in that competition.

But it didn't stop there: Halle won many other high-profile competitions, including Miss Teen All American, Miss USA and Miss World. Once she was done raking in points by winning pageant after pageant, Halle continued her education at Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College in 1986, studying broadcast journalism.

Unfortunately, Halle didn't complete her degree -- she left the program to pursue a more glamorous career in modeling, and started studying acting in Chicago. Although Halle auditioned for soap opera and drama guru Aaron Spelling for a part in Charlie's Angels and didn't get the part, Spelling encouraged Halle to pursue her dreams of being an actress.

Halle moved to Manhattan, where she immediately landed her first TV gig in Living Dolls. Although the show was short-lived, Halle was more determined than ever to become a great actress.

Halle got her first big break in 1991, when Spike Lee cast her as a crack-addicted woman in Jungle Fever, starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson. She was so determined to execute the role perfectly that Halle actually interviewed real addicts and stopped bathing 10 days before filming the racially-charged film.

Soon after, Halle reverted back to television and had a recurring role on the popular primetime soap opera, Knots Landing, in 1991.

But the big screen was where Halle wanted to be and she soon landed another part, this time playing Damon Wayans' exotic girlfriend in the film The Last Boy Scout (1991), which also starred Bruce Willis.

As with her Jungle Fever role, Halle delved into this role wholeheartedly, so much so that she convinced a Hollywood strip club owner to let her dance on stage.

In 1992, Halle landed a starring role opposite none other than the man of comedy himself, Eddie Murphy, in Boomerang. In 1993, she married Atlanta Braves right fielder David Justice. Unfortunately, the marriage was short-lived and they divorced in 1996.

Halle made an equally unwise decision in 2001, when she married soul singer Eric Benet only to file for divorce in 2003.

Berry decided to take a lighter acting job and starred in the 1994 movie The Flintstones, but her riveting big-screen role as an illiterate addict who abandons her child in a garbage can in 1995's Losing Isaiah shot her star up high.

Unfortunately for Halle, she missed the role of a lifetime when she passed up the lead role in the film Speed, which ultimately worked wonders for Sandra Bullock's career.

Other movies that Halle starred in include Executive Decision (1996), Race the Sun (1996), B*A*P*S (1997), Bulworth (1998), and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, for which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV movie.

In 2000, Halle starred in the live film adaptation of the cartoon strip X-Men, as Storm/Ororo Munroe -- along with fellow mutants Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Famke Janssen.

Berry has also returned to modeling, as a spokeperson for Revlon. And because Halle was diagnosed with diabetes not too long ago, she is an avid volunteer of the Juvenile Diabetes Association.

Unfortunately, Berry made headlines when she was charged with a hit and run in 2000, and pleaded no contest -- the judge ordered her to perform 200 hours of community service. She also made news when she was allegedly paid a $500,000 bonus to reveal her breasts in a scene in 2001's hacker film, Swordfish.

Audiences can see more of Halle in the film Monster's Ball, in her critically-acclaimed portrayal of a death row convict's wife. Halle received the 2002 SAG award for Best Actress in Monster's Ball and made history at the Oscars as the first black actress to receive a Best Actress Academy Award. Her Oscar triumph has cemented her as an A-list actress.

But this doesn't mean there's no room for action blockbusters; Halle appeared as Jinx in the James Bond film, Die Another Day (2002), and the second installment of what looks like an X-Men franchise (2003).

Between roles in Gothika (2003), The Set-Up (2004), The Guide (2004), Nappily Ever After (2004), and the title role in Catwoman (2004), Berry is proving to be one of the busiest women in Hollywood.

Although Halle's talent and beauty usually make headlines, she made the news again when her alleged abusive ex-lover was finally revealed as Wesley Snipes.

Halle has accomplished much fame and fortune in her professional career, but it's evident that she's going to be around for quite a long time.

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