Ten Things About... Charlize Theron
Published May 25 2012, 17:01 BST | By Alice Stewart
A former ballet dancer who turned to Hollywood as a teenager, Prometheus
actress Charlize Theron
has wowed us with her Academy Award-winning performances on the big screen.
We're sure that most of you are pretty well-informed about the South African dancer-turned-model-turned-actress, but if you're wanting to know a little more here are a few facts for you to browse over. 1.
Charlize was born August 7, 1975 in Benoni, South Africa. An only child of mother Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz of German descent and father Charles Jacobus Theron of French descent. 2.
In 1991 when Charlize was 15, her father died after her mother Gerda shot him. He was a violent alcoholic that used to physically attack her mother and threaten Charlize. Gerda didn't face charges as the court judged the shooting to be self-defence. 3.
Her first language is Afrikaans, but Theron became fluent in English aged 19 after she had been studying at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. She always speaks in Afrikaans with her mother, who lives two minutes away from her in LA.4.
She has her own charity called the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, which aims to reduce the frequency of HIV, AIDS and sexual violence among African youths. 5.
Charlize is not always a huge fan of dressing-up. "I'm 50-50 on glamour stuff," she admitted. "I'd rather put on a pair of jeans and get on my Harley and act like a guy."6.
She was the first South African-born woman to win an Oscar, getting the accolade for her role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster
. She met Nelson Mandela who hugged and thanked her for putting their country on the map. Theron was overwhelmed by this gesture and broke into tears. 7.
She trained as a ballet dancer and appeared in Swan Lake
and The Nutcracker
. Ballet was her childhood passion but her dancing career came to a halt due to a knee injury. 8.
Charlize was first spotted by an agent when she went to cash in a cheque at a bank that her mother had sent her to help pay her rent in Hollywood. The bank worker refused to cash it at which point Theron began shouting at her. Talent agent John Crosby was behind her in the queue and saw this, gave her his business card, introduced her to agents and pointed her in the direction of acting schools. 9.
She appeared as a mysterious and dangerous heroine in the music video for The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers's solo single 'Crossfire'.10.
Charlize in numbers: She gained 30 pounds in order to play Aileen Wuornos in Monster
; she won her Oscar on what would have been Aileen's 48th birthday; and she was once voted number one on the Beautiful People Internet Poll.