In recent years, it seems we've surpassed the golden age of the movie star. There are famous people, to be certain, but the reasons behind their popularity aren't based on talent or their ability to carry an entire motion picture - sometimes they're simply famous for being famous. There are remnants of the Movie Star, but it hasn't quite been the same. In the late 70s, Hollywood funded and promoted movies based on their cast; never mind the quality of the script, studio heads decided, if we can re-team Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould it'll spell a big payday (alas, this was flawed math, as S*P*YS was a miserable flop while M*A*S*H won the Palme D'Or at Cannes).
We still have our Tom Cruises and our Pacinos, but they're aging fast. Cruise may be mired in controversy and the plastic surgery, but we still get behind the next installment of Mission: Impossible.
Of the New Hollywood, there are still some performers that fall into the old-fashioned movie star, and one of the best in the past two decades is Charlize Theron.
It didn't take many minor or supporting roles for Theron to get noticed - just a non-speaking role in a DTV Children of the Corn sequel before she was headlining films.
But like so many starlets of the past, it was a bumpy, tragic ride to fame, filled with happenstance and fortitude. Let us review.
20. Her Childhood Was A Nightmare
Charlize Theron was born on August 7, 1975 in Benoni, a small city in the greater Johannesburg area of South Africa. Already, this could not have been an easy environment to live in; born into a country in the midst of apartheid.
But it didn't help matters that her father's constitution, Charles Theron, could not metabolize ethanol (read: he was a terrible alcoholic). When she was 15, Charles attacked both her and her mother Gerda on the family farm, going as far as firing a gun at both of them. Gerda retrieved a handgun and shot him to death in self-defense.
The shooting was declared legal, and her mother was not charged. A year later, both picked up and left town