Charlize Theron (born 7 August 1975) is a South African actress, producer and fashion model. She has starred in several Hollywood films, such as The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), The Cider House Rules (1999), The Italian Job (2003), Hancock (2008), A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
Theron received critical acclaim for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003), for which she won the Academy Award, Silver Bear, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress among several other accolades, becoming the first South African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. She received further Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for her performance in the sexual harassment-themed drama North Country in 2005 and a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance in Jason Reitman’s 2011 film Young Adult.
Theron became a U.S. citizen in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship. In the late 2000s, she moved into the field of producing, both in television and film. In 2006, she produced the documentary East of Havana. She had producing credits on the films The Burning Plain (2008) and Dark Places (2015), both of which she starred in. In 2012, she played Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman and Meredith Vickers in Prometheus, both of which were box office successes. She reprised her role of Queen Ravenna in the 2016 follow-up film The Huntsman: Winter’s War.
At 19, Theron flew to Los Angeles, on a one-way ticket her mother bought her, intending now to work in the film industry. During her early months there, she went to a Hollywood Boulevard bank to cash a check her mother had sent her to help with the rent. When the teller refused to cash it, Theron engaged in a shouting match with him. Upon seeing this, talent agent John Crosby, in line behind her, handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to casting agents and also an acting school. She later fired him as her manager after he kept sending her scripts for films similar to Showgirls and Species. After several months in the city, she made her film debut with a non-speaking role in the horror film Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995). Her first speaking role was a supporting but significant and attention-garnering part as a hitwoman in 2 Days in the Valley (1996). Larger roles in widely released Hollywood films followed, and her career expanded in the late 1990s with box-office successes like The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999). She was on the cover of the January 1999 issue of Vanity Fair as the “White Hot Venus”. She also appeared on the cover of the May 1999 issue of Playboy magazine, in photos taken several years earlier when she was an unknown model; Theron unsuccessfully sued the magazine for publishing them without her consent.