Charlize Theron is a South African actress, film producer and former fashion model.
She rose to fame in the late 1990s following her roles in 2 Days in the Valley, Mighty Joe Young, The Devil's Advocate and The Cider House Rules. She received critical acclaim and an Academy Award for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster, for which she became the first African to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. She received another Academy Award nomination for her performance in North Country.
Theron was born in Benoni, Transvaal Province, South Africa, the only child of Gerda Jacoba Aletta and Charles Jacobus Theron. Her mother is of German descent and her father was of French and Dutch ancestry; Theron is directly descended from early Huguenot settlers, and Boer War figure Daniel Theron was her great-grandfather's brother. "Theron" is an Occitan surname pronounced in Afrikaans as "Tronn", although she said that the way it is pronounced in South Africa is "Thrown". She changed the pronunciation when she moved to the US.
Although fluent in English, her first language is Afrikaans. She grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. She attended Putfontein Primary School. At the age of 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg.