All of her life, Halle Berry has been valued for her beauty. She was an adorable child, grew up to be a beauty contest winner and is currently Revlon?s ravishing spokeswoman. But Halle Berry?s greatest achievement has been proving time and time again, that she has the talent and the brains to be more than just a beautiful face!
She was born August 14, 1968, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother, Judith was (*and still is) a nurse in a psychiatric ward, but her father has been absent from most of Halle?s life. Halle has no contact with her father to this day due to his inexcusable behavior. Halle?s mixed-race heritage was immediately an issue in the Midwest. She had to deal with the taunts of other children, black and white; and also thanks to her beauty, she received a lot of resentment. In high school, she was chosen queen of the prom but was accused of stuffing the ballot box. *The uproar was handled with a frustrating transparent solution: Halle was forced to share the title-with a W.A.S.P (white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant) blonde.
Despite such a humilitaing and unfair attack, Halle began competing in formal beauty contests, and winning many. Her first win was as Miss Teen All-American, and she went on to win the coveted title of Miss Ohio! She may have not been good enough for high school, but she was officially the most beautiful woman in the state!
As Miss Ohio, Halle won the chance to compete in the 1986 Miss USA Pageant. She dazzled the judges with her poise and her stunning evening gown and swimsuit, so it came as no surprise that she made it all the way to the finals. She was chosen as first runner-up, which in the Miss USA is even more important than in other national pageants because, while the winner goes on to compete for the title of Miss Universe, the first runner up competes for Miss World.
Halle didn?t win Miss World, but she did walk away from the pageant years with enough money to pull herself through community college (majoring in broadcast journalism) and a lot of invaluable experience on-camera and in high pressure situations. Halle was about to embark on an acting career that would eventually make her one of the most famous former title-holders of all time, ranking right up there with Vanessa L. Williams.
Halle started by knocking down a high-profile leading role on a glamorous TV sitcom. Not bad for a first-timer! The show, Living Dolls, was about four, young struggling models. Halle played "Emily Franklin" in this unsuccessful spin-off from Tonya Danza?s Whose the Boss? She enjoyed playing the most serious of the four women, a girl who longed to be a doctor instead of dreaming only of the fame on the catwalk. Unfortunately, nobody watched, and the plug was pulled on Living Dolls after only three months. Halle next appeared in the memorable role as "Debbie Porter" on Knots Landing in 1991, one of the televisions most-watched nighttime soaps.
Black audiences warmed up to Halle Berry, and producers kept her phone ringing off the hook. She scored a solid part in The Last Boy Scout (1991) and would star in a series of mostly light-hearted popcorn films, like Boomerang (1992), The Program (1993) and Fatherhood (1993). But Halle also proved she was interested in stretching as an actress. She didn?t want to be seen as just window dressing.
Her portrayal of a crack addict in Spike Lee?s Jungle Fever (1992) won her critical acclaim, and she proved herself an effective dramatic lead opposite Jessica Lange in the heat-lugging drama Losing Isaiah (1993). Both films dealt with the kinds of racial insults Halle has dealt with her whole life. Halle?s personal life was blooming along with her career. She had been through many abusive relationships, including one in which a man beat her so merciless that she lost [80%] in her left ear, in 1993 she met and fell in love with Atlanta Braves outfielder David Justice.
Despite her fear that she would never learn how to have a stale relationship, Halle proposed to Justice six months after they met. The couple had a fair tale wedding and were regularly featured in magazines as one of the most beautiful celebrity couples. Sadly their marriage faultered in less than three years ending bitterly. The couple announced on February 22, 1996, that their union was over. The story behind their breakup was tragic, and it left Halle very vulnerable.
She?d thought she was saying "I do" forever, but was depressed to find that her husband was less than worthy of such a vow. She threw herself into charity work, including a treacherous trip to Sarajevo to support our troops, and many hours of participation in the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Her humanitarian efforts would result in a prestigious award from the Harvard foundation for intercultural and Race relations, an honor that moved Halle to tears when she received it.
After Halle?s nasty divorce, she had the full support of the media, and she bounced back, resuming her hectic film career and revisiting television. She is an inspiration to everyone who?s ever survived an acrimonious divorce. Halle?s recent films have been escapist fare like Executive Decision (1996) and the hilarious comedy B.A.P.S. (1997), with the exception of her appearance in this year?s scratching political satire Bulworth with Warren Beatty.
She takes on an ever juicer three-dimensional role in the movie, Why Do Fools Fall in Love? , costarring Vivica Fox and Lela Rochan. Halle?s most exciting new product fulfills a lifelong dream of hers-in conjunction with HBO, she will produce and star in The Dorothy Dandridge Story, a biography about the star of the classic 1954 musical Carmen Jones who died tragically at 41 in the 60s. Just as several top Black actresses quarreled for the rights to play Josephine Baker, Halle is rushing her project out ahead of any potential studio releases, including a proposed Dandridge film starring Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston.
Halle?s booming popularity also led to her multi-million dollar contract with Revlon, which has splashed her pretty face [world-wide] in a series of eye-catching print ads. But no matter how good she looks, Halle?s fans know that her beauty is just a reflection of the kind of inner beauty that fuels icons.