Halle Berry is an American actress, former fashion model, and beauty queen. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was also nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster’s Ball, becoming the first and, as of 2009, only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress. She is one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She has also been involved in the production side of several of her films.
Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing runner-up in the Miss USA, and coming in 6th place in the Miss World Pageant in 1986. Her breakthrough feature film role was in the 1991 Jungle Fever. This led to roles in The Flintstones, Bulworth, X-Men and its sequels, and as Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day. She also won a worst actress Razzie Award in 2005 for Catwoman and accepted the award in person.
Divorced from baseball player David Justice and musician Eric Benét, Berry dated French-Canadian model Gabriel Aubry from November 2005, through April, 2010. Their daughter, Nahla Ariela Aubry, was born on March 16, 2008.
Berry was born Maria Halle Berry, though her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry in 1971. Berry’s parents selected her middle name from Halle’s Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother, Judith Ann, who is Caucasian, was a psychiatric nurse. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was an African American hospital attendant in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked; he later became a bus driver. Berry’s maternal grandmother, Nellie Dicken, was born in Sawley, Derbyshire, England, while her maternal grandfather, Earl Ellsworth Hawkins, was born in Ohio. Berry’s parents divorced when she was four years old; she and her older sister Heidi were raised exclusively by her mother. Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood, noting in 1992, “I haven’t heard from him since. Maybe he’s not alive.”