A woman whose combination of talent, tenacity, and beauty has made her one of Hollywood's busiest actors, Halle Berry has enjoyed a level of success that has come from years of hard work and her share of career pitfalls.
Berry's interest in show business came courtesy of her participation in a number of beauty pageants throughout her teens, including the 1986 Miss U.S.A. Pageant. A native of Cleveland, OH, where she was born to an African-American father and white mother on August 14, 1968, Berry was raised by her mother, a psychiatric nurse, following her parents' divorce. At the age of 17, she appeared in the spotlight for the first time as the winner of the Miss Teen All-American Pageant, and subsequently became a model. Berry won her first professional acting gig on the TV series Living Dolls, and then appeared on Knots Landing before winning her first big-screen role in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever. It was on the set of the film that she first earned her reputation for her full commitment to acting, reportedly refusing to bathe for weeks in preparation for her portrayal of a crack addict.