Date of Birth: August 7th 1975
Charlize Theron is a South African-born American actress and former fashion model. She is well known for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster, for which she won an Academy Award.
Theron was born in Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa. Her father, Charles Theron, was a construction company owner of French Huguenot descent. Her mother, Gerda, is of German descent and took over her husband's business after his death. Theron's first language is Afrikaans. She is also fluent in English and speaks some Xhosa. In the United States, both in her films and while being interviewed, etc., Theron speaks with a typical American accent and style of speech, leading most people to assume she is American. "Theron" is a French surname pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has said that she prefers the pronunciation "Thrown." The pronunciation commonly used in the United States involves two syllables, with stress on the first.
Theron grew up as the only child on her parents' farm near Johannesburg (Benoni). At the age of thirteen, Charlize was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School Of The Arts in Johannesburg. At fifteen, Theron witnessed the death of her father, an abusive alcoholic; her mother shot him in self-defense when he attacked her. The police laid no charges against her.
The May 1999 issue of Playboy published nude photos of Theron, taken during the early years of her modeling career. Claiming they had been "for private use", Theron ended up suing photographer Guido Argentini. After appearing in a few notable films, Theron starred as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster (2003). Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema", for which Theron won the Best Actress Oscar at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004, as well as the SAG Award and the Golden Globe Award. She is the first South African to win an Oscar for Best Actress.