Halle Berry (born August 14, 1966) is an American actress, former fashion model, and beauty queen. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was also nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball.
In the late 1980s, Berry went to Illinois to pursue a modeling career as well as acting. One of her first acting projects was a television series for local cable by Gordon Lake Productions called Chicago Force. In 1989, Berry landed the role of Emily Franklin in the short-lived ABC television series Living Dolls (a spin-off of Who’s the Boss?), during the taping of which she lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes. She went on to have a recurring role on the long-running primetime serial Knots Landing. In 1992, Berry was cast as the love interest in the video for R. Kelly’s seminal single, “Honey Love”.
Her breakthrough feature film role was in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, in which she played a drug addict named Vivian. Her first co-starring role was in the 1991 film Strictly Business. In 1992, Berry portrayed a career woman who falls for Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy Boomerang. That same year, she caught the public’s attention as a headstrong biracial slave in the TV adaptation of Queen: The Story of an American Family, based on the book by Alex Haley. Berry was in the live-action Flintstones movie as “Sharon Stone”, the sultry secretary who seduced Fred Flintstone.
Playing a former drug addict struggling to regain custody of her son in Losing Isaiah (1995), Berry tackled a more serious role, starring opposite Jessica Lange. She portrayed Sandra Beecher in Race the Sun (1996), which was based on a true story, and co-starred alongside Kurt Russell in Executive Decision. Beginning in 1996, she was a Revlon spokeswoman for seven years and renewed her contract in 2004.
In 1998, Berry received praise for her role in Bulworth as an intelligent woman raised by activists who gives a politician (Warren Beatty) a new lease on life. The same year, she played the singer Zola Taylor, one of the three wives of pop singer Frankie Lymon, in the biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love. In the 1999 HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, she portrayed the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. Berry’s performance was recognized with several awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
Berry portrayed the mutant superhero Storm in the film adaptation of the comic book series X-Men (2000) and its sequels, X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). In 2001, Berry appeared in the film Swordfish, which featured her first nude scene. At first, she refused to be filmed topless in a sunbathing scene, but she changed her mind when Warner Brothers raised her fee substantially. The brief flash of her breasts added $500,000 to her fee. Berry considered these stories to be rumors and was quick to deny them. After turning down numerous roles that required nudity, she said she decided to make Swordfish because her husband, Benét, supported her and encouraged her to take risks.
In 2001, Berry appeared as Leticia Musgrove, the wife of an executed murderer, in the film Monster’s Ball. Her performance was awarded the National Board of Review and the Screen Actors Guild best-actress prizes; in an interesting coincidence she became the first African-American to receive a Best Leading Actress Academy Award (earlier in her career she portrayed Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American to be nominated for Best Actress). The NAACP issued the statement: “Congratulations to Halle Berry and Denzel Washington for giving us hope and making us proud. If this is a sign that Hollywood is finally ready to give opportunity and judge performance based on skill and not on skin color then it is a good thing.” Her role also generated controversy. Berry’s graphic nude love scene with a racist character played by co-star Billy Bob Thornton was the subject of much media chatter and discussion among African-Americans. Many in the African-American community were critical of Berry for taking the part. Berry responded: “I don’t really see a reason to ever go that far again. That was a unique movie. That scene was special and pivotal and needed to be there, and it would be a really special script that would require something like that again.”
Berry asked for a higher fee for Revlon advertisements after winning the Academy Award, and Ron Perelman, the cosmetics firm’s chief, congratulated her, saying how happy he was that she modeled for his company. She replied, “Of course, you’ll have to pay me more.” Perelman stalked off in a rage. Her win at the Academy Awards led to two famous “Oscar moments.” In accepting her award, she gave an acceptance speech honoring previous black actresses who had never had the opportunity. She said, “This moment is so much bigger than me. This is for every nameless, faceless woman of colour who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened.” One year later, as she presented the Best Actor award, winner Adrien Brody ran on stage and, instead of giving her the standard peck on the cheek, planted a long kiss on Berry.edit article