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Halle Maria Berry (born Maria Halle Berry; August 14, 1966) is an American actress. Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the romantic drama film Monster’s Ball (2001), becoming the only woman of African American descent to have won the award.
Before becoming an actress, Berry was a model and entered several beauty contests, finishing as the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant and coming in sixth in the Miss World 1986. Her breakthrough film role was in the romantic comedy Boomerang (1992), alongside Eddie Murphy, which led to roles in films, such as the family comedy The Flintstones (1994), the political comedy-drama Bulworth (1998) and the television film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999), for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
In addition to her Academy Award, Berry garnered high-profile roles in the 2000s, such as Storm in X-Men (2000), the thrillers Swordfish (2001) and Gothika (2003), and the spy film Die Another Day (2002), where she played Bond girl Jinx. She then appeared in the X-Men sequels, X2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). In the 2010s, she has featured in the science-fiction film Cloud Atlas (2012), the crime thriller The Call (2013) and the action films X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019).
Berry was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood during the 2000s, and has been involved in the production of several of the films in which she performed. Berry is also a Revlon spokesmodel. She was formerly married to baseball player David Justice, singer-songwriter Eric Benét, and actor Olivier Martinez. She has a child each with Martinez and model Gabriel Aubry.
In 2014, Berry signed on to star and serve as a co-executive producer in CBS drama series Extant, where she took on the role of Molly Woods, an astronaut who struggles to reconnect with her husband and android son after spending 13 months in space. The show ran for two seasons until 2015, receiving largely positive reviews from critics. USA Today remarked: “She [Halle Berry] brings a dignity and gravity to Molly, a projected intelligence that allows you to buy her as an astronaut and to see what has happened to her as frightening rather than ridiculous. Berry’s all in, and you float along”. Also in 2014, Berry launched a new production company, 606 Films, with producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. It is named after the Anti-Paparazzi Bill, SB 606, that the actress pushed for and which was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in the fall of 2013. The new company emerged as part of a deal for Berry to work in Extant.
In the stand-up comedy concert film Kevin Hart: What Now? (2016), Berry appeared as herself, opposide Kevin Hart, attending a poker game event that goes horribly wrong. Kidnap, an abduction thriller Berry filmed in 2014, was released in 2017. In the film, she starred as a diner waitress tailing a vehicle when her son is kidnapped by its occupants. Kidnap grossed US$34 million and garnered mixed reviews from writers, who felt that it “strays into poorly scripted exploitation too often to take advantage of its pulpy premise — or the still-impressive talents of [Berry].” She next played an agent employed by a secret American spy organisation in the action comedy sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), as part of an ensemble cast, consisting of Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, and Elton John. While critical response towards the film was mixed, it made US$414 million worldwide.
Alongside Daniel Craig, Berry starred as a working-class mother during the 1992 Los Angeles riots in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s drama Kings (2017). The film found a limited theatrical release following its initial screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, and as part of an overall lukewarm reception, Variety noted: “It should be said that Berry has given some of the best and worst performances of the past quarter-century, but this is perhaps the only one that swings to both extremes in the same movie”. She played Sofia, an assassin, in the film John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which was released on May 17, 2019 by Lionsgate.
In 2017, she provided uncredited vocals to the song, “Calling All My Lovelies” by Bruno Mars from his third studio album, 24K Magic.
Berry competed against James Corden in the first rap battle on the first episode of TBS’s Drop the Mic, originally aired on October 24, 2017.
She is, as of February 2019, executive producer of the BET television series Boomerang, based on the film in which she starred. The series premiered February 12, 2019.