Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Halle Berry

On August 14Th, 1966 (exactly 21 years before the birth of the author of the article you are reading) Maria Halle Berry was born. Her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry in 1971. Berry's parents, Judith Ann Hawkins and Jerome Jesse Berry selected her middle name from Halle's Department Store. the Department Store was then a landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. Her Mother was a Caucasian psychiatric nurse and her Father Jerome was an African-American hospital attendant in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked. When Halle was at the tender age of four her parents divorced, leaving her to be exclusively raised by her mother. Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood. (any man who would leave Halle is a Fool!)
She attended Bedford High School which is also where she graduated from. She shortly after worked in Higbee's Department store where she worked in the children's department. She then studied at Cuyahoga Community College. In the 1980s, she entered several beauty contests, winning Miss Teen All-American in 1985 and Miss Ohio USA in 1986. In the Miss USA 1986 pageant interview competition, she said she hoped to become an entertainer or to have something to do with the media. Her interview was awarded the highest score by the judges. She was the first African-American Miss World entrant in 1986, where she finished sixth and Trinidad and Tobago's Giselle Laronde was crowned Miss World. (That's OK Halle Baby!)

In 1989, during the taping of the short-lived television series Living Dolls, Berry lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1.
In the late 1980s, Berry went to Illinois to pursue a career in modeling as well as acting. One of her first acting projects was a TV 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?). She went on to have a recurring role on the long running 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 role came in a Spike Lee joint called Jungle Fever, in which she played a drug addict named Vivian. In 1991 she got her first co-starring role in a film called Strictly Business. In 1992 she landed a role alongside Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy 'Boomerang', where she played a career woman who falls for Eddie's Character. 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. In 1994 she was featured in the live-action Flinstones movie as "Sharon Stone".

Playing a former drug addict struggling to regain custody of her son in 'Losing Isaiah' a year later, Berry tackled a more serious role, starring opposite co-star Jessica Lange. In 1996 after playing other parts she was a 'Revlon' spokeswoman for seven years and renewed her contract in 2004. In 1998, Berry received praise for her role in Bulwort as an intelligent woman raised by activists who gives a politician (Warren Beatty) a new lease on life. Later that year she played Zola Taylor, one of the three wives of Pop Singer Frankie Lymon in the movie 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love'. Berry then landed the role of the mutant superhero Storm in the film adaptation of the comic book series X-Men, the sequel X2: X-Men United and then X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006. ^What could you possibly use as a caption?^
Halle Berry

In 2001, Berry appeared in the film Swordfish, which featured her first on-screen nude scene. t 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. After turning down numerous roles that required nudity, she said she decided to make Swordfish because her husband Benet 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 prizes, and earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Berry made history by becoming the first African-American woman to receive a Best Actress Academy Award.

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 Perleman, the cosmetics firms chief congratulated her, saying how happy he was that she modelled for his company. She replied: "Of course, you'll have to pay me more." Perleman stalked off with 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. Halle 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."
Halle has since continued to work and is still considered by many one or the best actresses in Hollywood. Her achievement make her one of the biggest inspiring people in the entertainment business.
Personal Thought:
Theres not much I can think of saying about Halle. Like many if not all other people I'm proud of her for all of her achievements and I am a fan of her work. Not just because she posed nude of did a scene with Bill Bob that stired up controversy, but because she is a very talented, beautiful African American woman. Every young mans dream and everything that woman aspire to be is Halle Berry.

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