Charlize Theron (play /ʃɑrˈliːs ˈθɛrən/; born 7 August 1975) is a South African actress, film producer and former fashion model.She rose to fame in the late 1990s following her roles in 2 Days in the Valley, Mighty Joe Young, The Devil's Advocate and The Cider House Rules. She received critical acclaim and an Academy Award for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster, for which she became the first South African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. She received another Academy Award nomination for her performance in North CountryTheron was born in Benoni, Transvaal Province, South Africa, the only child of Gerda Jacoba Aletta (née Maritz; born 27 January 1953) and Charles Jacobus Theron (November 27, 1947 – June 21, 1991) Her mother is of German descent and her father was of Occitan and Dutch ancestry; Theron is descended from early Huguenot settlers, and Boer War figure Daniel Theron was her great-great uncle. "Theron" is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she has said that the way it is pronounced in South Africa is "Thrown". She changed the pronunciation when she moved to the US.Although fluent in English, her first language is Afrikaans. She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. Her father died on 21 June 1991, after he was shot by Theron's mother. Theron's father, who suffered from alcoholism, physically attacked her mother and threatened both women while being drunk. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defence and her mother faced no charges.Theron attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein). At the age of 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg.
At the age of 16 Theron travelled to Milan on a one-year modeling contract, after winning a local competition. She went to New York with Pauline's Model Management. She decided to remain after her contract ended, attending the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer. A knee injury closed this career path when Theron was 19.Unable to dance, Theron flew to Los Angeles on a one-way ticket her mother bought her During her early months there, she went to a bank to cash a cheque her mother had sent her to help with the rent. When the teller refused to cash it, Theron immediately started a shouting match with her. Afterwards, a talent agent in line behind her handed her his business card and subsequently introduced her to some 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 eight months in the city, she was cast in her first film part, a non-speaking role in the direct-to-video film Children of the Corn III (1995). Her breakout role was a supporting but significant part in 2 Days in the Valley, but larger roles in widely released Hollywood films followed, and her career skyrocketed 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".
After appearing in a few notable films, Theron starred as the serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003). Film critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema". For this role, Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards in February 2004, as well as the SAG Award and the Golden Globe Award. She is the first South African to win an Oscar for Best Actress. The Oscar win pushed her to The Hollywood Reporter's 2006 list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood; earning $10,000,000 for both her subsequent films, North Country and Æon Flux, she ranked seventh, behind Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Renée Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman