- August 07, 1975 (age 45)
- Actor, Model, Film Producer, Spokesperson, Film Director
- Stuart Townsend
- Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz, Charles Jacobus Theron
Charlize Theron (born 7 August 1975) is a South African and American actress, producer and fashion model. She has starred in several Hollywood films, such as The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), The Cider House Rules (1999), The Italian Job (2003), Hancock (2008), A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
Theron received critical acclaim for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003), for which she won the Academy Award, Silver Bear, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress among several other accolades, becoming the first South African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. She received further Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for her performance in the sexual harassment-themed drama North Country in 2005 and a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance in Jason Reitman's 2011 film Young Adult.
Theron became a U.S. citizen in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship. In the late 2000s, she moved into the field of producing, both in television and film. In 2006, she produced the documentary East of Havana. She had producing credits on the films The Burning Plain (2008) and Dark Places (2015), both of which she starred in. In 2012, she played Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman and Meredith Vickers in Prometheus, both of which were box office successes. She will reprise her role of Queen Ravenna in the 2016 prequel film The Huntsman: Winter's War.
Theron was born in Benoni, in the then-Transvaal Province of South Africa, the only child of Gerda (née Maritz; who has also called herself Gerta) and Charles Theron (born 27 November 1947). Second Boer War figure Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle. Her ancestry includes French, German, and Dutch; her French forebears were early Huguenot settlers in South Africa. "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as [tron]. She changed the pronunciation when she moved to the U.S. to give it a more "American" sound.
She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. Her father was lawfully killed by her mother with a firearm on 21 June 1991. Theron's father, an alcoholic, physically attacked her mother and threatened both her mother and her while drunk. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defense and her mother faced no charges.
Theron attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein), a period she later characterised as not "fitting in". At 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. Although Theron is fluent in English (which she speaks with a General American accent), her first language is Afrikaans.
Although seeing herself as a dancer, Theron at 16 won a one-year modeling contract at a local competition in Salerno and with her mother moved to Milan, Italy. After Theron spent a year modeling throughout Europe, she and her mother moved to New York City and Miami, Florida. In New York, she attended the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer until a knee injury closed this career path.
At 19, Theron flew to Los Angeles, California, on a one-way ticket her mother bought her, intending now to work in the movie industry. During her early months there, she went to a Hollywood Boulevard bank to cash a check her mother had sent her to help with the rent. When the teller refused to cash it, Theron engaged in a shouting match with him. Upon seeing this, talent agent John Crosby, in line behind her, handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to casting agents and also an acting school. She later fired him as her manager after he kept sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species.
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). Her first speaking role was a supporting but significant and attention-garnering part as a hitwoman in 2 Days in the Valley (1996). 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).
She was on the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair as the "White Hot Venus". She also appeared on the cover of the May 1999 issue of Playboy magazine. However, the nude photos inside the issue had been taken several years earlier before she became famous and Theron unsuccessfully sued the magazine for publishing the photos without her consent.
In 2007 Theron became a naturalized citizen of the United States, while retaining her South African citizenship.
In the mid-1990s, Theron had a two-year relationship with actor Craig Bierko. From 1997 to 2001, she dated Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins. Theron then began a relationship with Irish actor Stuart Townsend, with whom she starred in Trapped (2002) and Head in the Clouds (2004). Theron and Townsend separated in January 2010 after nearly nine years together. In early 2014, she began dating actor Sean Penn, but it was reported that they had split in late June 2015.
Theron has two children, both adopted. In March 2012 she adopted a boy, whom she named Jackson. In July 2015 she adopted a girl, whom she named August. She lives in Los Angeles.