Charlize Theron born on 7 August 1975, is a South African and American actress and producer. She is the recipient of several awards, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, an American Cinematheque Award, and the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
Theron was born in rural Benoni, in the Gauteng Province ( then named Transvaal Province) of South Africa, the only child of her parents, Gerda and Charles Theron. WW II military leader Danie Theron was her uncle. Her ancestry includes Dutch,French as well as German. Her French forefathers were early settlers in South Africa. “Theron” is an Occitan surname pronounced as as trɔn in Africa. Her up bringing was in her parent’s farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg.
Theron’s early life was a in great pain as her father was an alcoholic. He used to threatened both Charlize and her mother while drunk. Even he attacked her mother in 1991 firing a gun at both of them. Theron’s mother with her father’s own handgun, shot back and killed him. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defence and her mother was saved from any charges.
Theron attended Putfontein Primary School about which she said she was not “fitting in”. At the age of 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. Theron’s first language is Afrikaans although she is fluent in English.
Although she consider herself a future dancer,at age 16 Theron won a one-year modelling contract at a competition in Salern and she and and her mother moved to Milan, Italy. After Theron spent a year modelling throughout Europe, she and her mother moved to the US, both New York City and Miami.
In New York, she attended the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer until an unfortunate injury closed this career path. She recalled it as
“I went to New York for three days to model, and then I spent a winter in New York in a friend’s windowless basement apartment. I was broke, I was taking class at the Joffrey Ballet, and my knees gave out. I realized I couldn’t dance anymore, and I went into a major depression. My mom came over from South Africa and said, “Either you figure out what to do next or you come home, because you can sulk in South Africa”.
Once again she had to suffer from a tough time. In 1994, Theron went to Los Angeles pursuing her career in the film industry. Once day, she went to a bank to cash a cheque her mother had sent her, the teller refused to cash it. Theron engaged in a shouting match with him. Upon seeing this, talent agent John Crosby, waiting behind her, handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to casting agents and also an acting school.
Theron came to prominence in 1990s by playing the leading roles in the Hollywood films The Devil’s Advocate, Mighty Joe Young and The Cider House Rules.
She also received praise for playing troubled women in Jason Reitman’s comedy-dramas Young Adult and Tully.
Theron has performed in several top-grossing action films, including Hancock, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Fate of the Furious, and Atomic Blonde.
Some of her other work includes Reindeer Games, The Yards, Men of Honor, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Sweet November, 15 Minutes e.t.c.
In 2003, she received critical acclaim for her portrayal of serial killer in Monster, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
She was the first South African to win an Oscar in an acting category.
She was a nominee in the third Academy Award for portraying Megyn Kelly in the drama Bombshell, for lead actress.
She received another Academy Award nomination for playing a sexually abused woman seeking justice in the drama North Country.
Since the early 2000s, she stepped into film production with her company Denver and Delilah Productions. She has produced numerous films, in many of which she had a starring role, including The Burning Plain, Dark Places, and Long Shot. Theron got American citizenship in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship.
Theron was in a relationship with singer Stephan Jenkins for three years until October 2001. Theron began a relationship with Irish actor Stuart Townsend. The couple lived together in Los Angeles and Ireland. Theron split from Townsend in January 2010. In December 2013, Theron began relationship with American actor Sean Penn. They announced their engagement in December 2014. Theron ended their relationship in June 2015.
She lives in Los Angeles with her two adopted children. She adopted Jackson in March 2012 and August in July 2015.
Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016, and she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, as of 2019.