|Famous For: Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 True Crime Drama Monster||Currently Known For: Actress and Singer, Producer and Model|
Currently Known For Actress and Singer, Producer and Model
"Love conquers all." Always dreaming of taking the stage as a dancer, things didn’t quite work out that way for Charlize Theron when, at 16 years old, she was offered a one-year modeling contract that took her and her mother from their farm in Benoni, South Africa to Milan, Italy. Modeling across Europe where she was praised for her beauty and elegance, Theron blossomed from the attention after spending the majority of her childhood hiding in the shadows of an abusive and alcoholic father. As a matter of fact, her childhood was so tragic that, during one of her father’s drunken episodes, her mother shot and killed him in self-defense.
On top of the heartbreak at home, Theron never really fit in at school and, before ever setting foot on European soil, spent time at a boarding school in Johannesburg where she studied the arts and envisioned a future in dance, which she put on hold to pursue modeling abroad. By the time her modeling contract expired, she revisited the dream as she settled in New York City and enrolled at the Joffrey Ballet School. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for Theron when a severe knee injury put an early end to her career on the dancefloor.
Falling into a deep depression, completely broke and living in a windowless basement apartment, Theron’s mother gave the young starlet a taste of tough love and told her, “Either you figure out what to do next or go home, because you can sulk in South Africa.” Inspired by her mother’s words, the 19-year-old Theron decided to give acting a shot and cashed in the last of her savings on a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.
Shortly after landing in Tinsel Town, Theron went to a bank on Hollywood Boulevard to cash a check from her mother to cover her rent. For one reason or another, the clerk refused to cash it and the irate Theron launched into a shouting match with him. As luck would have it, Theron wasn’t the only one in the bank as John Crosby, a local talent agent, witnessed the entire thing. Impressed by Theron’s passion, he handed her a business card and left.
Eventually hiring Crosby, Theron met a number of casting agents and attended a local acting school before she fired Crosby less than a year later after he pigeonholed her as an erotic drama and sci-fi thriller star. Obviously making the right choice, Theron made her film debut in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest in 1995 with her first speaking role coming the following year in 2 Days in the Valley. Since then, she has 50 film and television credits to her name with an astonishing 90 award nominations and 51 wins. Among her many accolades are an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction Films.
Aside from her long list of accolades, Theron has proven she has both beauty and brains after building an impressive nest egg of $110 million and climbing. Among her investments are at least two gorgeous properties—a mansion in Hollywood Hills and a house in Malibu, the latter of which was reportedly purchased for $3.5 million and sits on a private beach that offers plenty of privacy for the 41-year-old Monster star.
Of course, Theron’s Hollywood Hills home is equally as impressive with 5,000 square feet and an ultra-modern interior design and floorplan. Purchased in 1998 for approximately $1.6 million, the home includes a number of luxurious amenities such as a small home theater, gym and wine cellar as well as a lavish backyard and a large swimming pool perfect for relaxing on those beautiful California afternoons.
When it comes to cars, Theron’s tastes are much more modest despite the fact that she can have her pick of luxury vehicles. With that being said, she’s definitely not driving around in a Prius as she chooses to cruise around in her classic matte black Range Rover or in her shiny black Lexus RX400h.
Beyond her stunning homes and car collection, Theron lives a fairly modest life although she does splurge on designer clothes. Far from being considered one of the most materialistic celebrities in Hollywood, she chooses to use her fortune and fame for good by supporting those in need. In fact, since the beginning of her career in 1995, she has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to nearly three dozen charitable causes. As if that wasn’t enough, she also started her own nonprofit—the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project—that helps keep African youth safe from HIV and AIDS. For someone who easily seems to have it all from beauty and brains to fortune and fame, Theron certainly remains humbled and proves it by how she lives, which is definitely an accomplishment in the glamour-filled streets of Hollywood.