Halle Maria Berry
Halle Maria Berry (IPA: [ˈhæliː ˈbeɹiː]) (born August 14, 1966) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. Berry has received Emmy and Golden Globe awards, and received an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002 for her performance in Monster's Ball. She is the only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress.
Berry's parents selected her first name from Halle's Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. She is the daughter of Englishwoman Judith Ann Hawkins, a Liverpudlian, and Jerome Jesse Berry, who was African American. Berry's maternal grandmother, Nellie Dicken, was born in Sawley, Derbyshire, England, while her maternal grandfather, Earl Ellsworth Hawkins (an American), was born in Ohio. Berry's parents divorced when she was 4 years old and she was subsequently raised by her mother, a psychiatric nurse. Her father was an orderly in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked and later worked as a bus driver. Berry has two older sisters, Heidi, who was born two years before her, and Renee (from a different mother).
Berry was a popular student at Bedford High School and was a cheerleader, honor society member, editor of the school newspaper, class president and prom queen. She worked in the children's department at Higbee's Department store. She subsequently attended Cuyahoga Community College.
Before becoming an actress, she entered several beauty contests, winning Miss Ohio USA and Miss Teen All-American. Other entries include Miss USA (first runner-up in 1986 to Christy Fichtner of Texas, the second of the Texas Aces), and sixth place in Miss World 1986 (the winner being Trinidad and Tobago's Giselle Laronde). In the Miss USA 1986 pageant interview competition, she said she hoped to become an entertainer, or to have something to do with the media or newspaper. Her interview was awarded the highest score by the judges.
In 1989, during the taping of the short-lived television series Living Dolls, Berry lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1.