Charlize Theron was born on August 7, 1975 in Benoni, South Africa. Her father Charles was an owner of a construction company with French descent, while her mother Gerda, who took over the business after her husband’s death, has German ancestry. Charlize Theron’s first language is Afrikaans, but is also fluent in English and Xhosa. She grew up in a farm as the only child, but was sent to boarding school at the age of 13. She attended National School of the Arts in Johannesburg.
When Charlize Theron was only fifteen, she witnessed the death of her father. Charles Theron was an abusive alcoholic. Gerda shot her husband, in self-defense, when he attacked her. There were no charges laid against Charlize’s mother.
When she was 16, Charlize Theron traveled to Italy for a one-year modeling gig, which was a prize for a local competition that she won back home. When she was modeling in New York, her modeling contract ended, but Charlize Theron decided to stay in the city and attend Joffrey Ballet School. Unfortunately, due to a knee injury, her ballet career was over at age 18.
Unable to accept defeat, Charlize Theron bought a ticket to L.A. where she pursued an acting career. Eight months after transferring to Los Angeles, she received a non-speaking role, her first film ever, in the film “Children of the Corn III”.
During the late 1990’s, Charlize Theron became widely popular when she appeared in major box office successes like Mighty Joe Young, The Devil’s Advocate and The Cider House Rules. However, it was in the 2003 film, Monster where Charlize Theron starred as the serial killer, Aileen Wuornos that she received critical acclaim and received numerous awards including an Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Awards for Best Actress.