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