Halle Maria Berry was born August 14th, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The youngest daughter of two girls and was born to Jerome Berry and Judith Hawkins-Berry, an interracial couple. Halle and her older sister Heidi spent the first few years of their childhood living in an inner-city neighborhood.
Halle’s mother named her after a department store in Ohio she enjoyed shopping at.
In the early 1970s, Jerome Berry abandoned his wife and children, after which Judith moved her family to the predominantly white Cleveland suburb of Bedford.
Berry attended a nearly all-white public school, and as a result was subjected to discrimination at an early age. Her early problems with racism greatly influenced her desire to excel. Throughout high school, the determined teen participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, holding positions of newspaper editor, class president, and head cheerleader.
A natural performer, Berry earned a handful of beauty pageant titles during the early 1980s, including Miss Teen Ohio and Miss Teen America. She was eventually awarded first runner-up in the 1985 Miss U.S.A. competition.
For a short time she attended Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Community College, where she studied broadcast journalism. However, Berry abandoned her idea of a career in news reporting before receiving her degree. Choosing to wholeheartedly devote her time to a career in entertainment, Berry first moved to Chicago and then New York City, where she found work as a catalog model.
As the 80s turned into the 90s, the aspiring actress began a career in television with a role on the short-lived sitcom Living Dolls in 1989, followed by a year-long run on the CBS prime-time drama Knot's Landing in 1991..
Berry's first big-screen break came later that year when she was cast as Samuel L. Jackson's drug-addicted girlfriend in Spike Lee's critically acclaimed film, Jungle Fever. More substantial supporting roles followed, including that of a...