Catherine Zeta-Jones’ BiographyCatherine Zeta-Jones, who has conquered the world with her beauty and talent, was born under a lucky star. However, she didn’t gain her overwhelming success by accident. The actress - famous for her roles as Velma in Chicago and Elena in The Mask of Zorro - has been very disciplined and purposeful in building her career. Net worth: $150 million.
Early Years and FamilyCatherine was born in Swansea, a coastal town in Wales. The future star was born on October 25, 1969, to an owner of a small bakery. Catherine was the third child in David (who is Welsh) and Patricia’s (who is Irish) family. Unlike her two elder brothers, she started displaying her creativity from a young age; she loved singing and dancing in front of the mirror, pretending to be an actress.
Catherine got her first name in honor of her paternal grandmother, and her second name in honor of her Irish grandmother. According to the family legend, Zeta was the name of the ship which brought Catherine’s great-grandmother to Wales. Later, the actress’s second name would become part of her stage name and the whole world would learn of its origins. At the age of four, Catherine had a viral disease which resulted in breathing complications and almost claimed her life. However, the future actress was fortunate to undergo a timely operation on her trachea, resulting in a small scar.
The Jones family led a frugal life in a small house on the edge of Swansea. Patricia made clothes for their equally poor neighbors in order to help her husband, who worked at the bakery from dawn until dusk as a baker and a shop assistant. In the early ‘80s, Catherine’s parents were lucky to win £100,000 in a national bingo competition, so they could afford to move to a nicer area of Swansea and open a confectionery.
David and Patricia supported their beloved daughter in everything, so they let her attend a dance studio and paid in advance for the whole course. Catherine was only seven and already daydreaming about the stage. The girl practiced dancing 6 hours a day and performed at the school theatre. She planned her rehearsals for a week and stuck to her schedule, always achieving all the goals she had set for herself.
When Catherine was fourteen, The Pajama Game show crew arrived in Swansea. The future actress went for an audition and got the role. After the filming was completed in Wales, she was invited to London.
The Career BeginsCatherine with her olive skin and amber-hazel eyes quickly became popular in the capital. By the end of the ‘80s, she had taken part in a few projects, such as 42nd Street and Aspel & Company.
Catherine made her big-screen debut in 1990 when she played Scheherazade in the French-German comedy Les 1001 nuits. Philippe de Broca's movie wasn’t well-received but it drew attention to the young actress and gave her a chance to play Mariette in the British 1991 TV series The Darling Buds of May.
During the following four years Catherine, who had already become famous in Britain, played in a number of movies. The most significant of them are considered to be the comedy Blue Juice where she co-starred with Steven Mackintosh and Ewan McGregor, and the Victorian drama The Return of the Native where she played the beautiful Eustacia. Clive Owen and Ray Stevenson played Eustacia’s admirers.
First Hollywood RolesCatherine started conquering Hollywood in 1995 when she accepted the offer to play Catherine the Great in the eponymous historical drama. Despite high expectations, this movie had no success and the young and daring British actress wasn’t swamped with offers.
According to Zoomboola.com, in 1996 Catherine got a role in the action movie The Phantom where she played Sala, a beautiful pirate leader, and co-starred with Billy Zane. At the end of 1996, Catherine starred in the TV mini-series Titanic. In the series, she plays a lady traveling first class on the Titanic where she meets her former lover, played by Peter Gallagher. The creation of the movie went hand-in-hand with the frenzy surrounding James Cameron’s Titanic, which had a negative effect on the mini-series’ popularity.
The breakthrough in her career came in 1998. Martin Campbell was looking for an actress for the role of Elena in his amazing adventure drama The Mask of Zorro. Antonio Banderas and Sir Anthony Hopkins had already been cast for lead male roles - the actors were busy taking fencing lessons - but Campbell couldn’t find an actress to play Elena.
His initial choice was the Swedish actress Izabella Scorupco, but he hesitated. The Spaniard Penelope Cruz and even the Colombian Shakira did auditions, but the director wasn’t satisfied with the audition results. It was a lucky break for Catherine: Steven Spielberg, a friend of Campbell, accidentally saw Catherine in the Titanic mini-series and suggested his friend invite her for an audition.
The role of Elena became a landmark in the actress’s career and launched her rise to stardom in Hollywood.
Best RolesBefore the huge success of the musical movie Chicago in 2002, Catherine played in the mystery horror drama The Haunting together with Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor, as well as in Steven Soderbergh’s criminal thriller Traffic. In the latter, the actress plays the wife of a drug lord Carlos Ayala, portrayed by Steven Bauer. Michael Douglas, Dennis Quaid, Benjamin Bratt, and Benicio del Toro also star in the movie.
The role of the nasty vaudeville diva Velma in Chicago is considered to be one of the actress’s best roles. At the age of 33, Catherine received the Academy Award and the BAFTA Award for her brilliant acting in Chicago.
In the 2003 comedy Intolerable Cruelty the actress stars alongside George Clooney in the role of a marriage-for-money predator. Although the movie got negative acclaim from the critics, the audience loved the funny romantic comedy.
In 2004 two movies starring Catherine Zeta-Jones came out. In a pretty straightforward, though kind and moving, drama The Terminal Catherine co-starred with Tom Hanks. In the criminal comedy Ocean’s Twelve she joined the stellar team of casino plunderers, played by Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon. The movie became the main event of the season and for a long time maintained the top position on the charts around the world.
In 2005 The Legend of Zorro was released, describing the events 10 years after the first movie. Catherine repeated her triumph of 1998. Her duo with Antonio Banderas is considered to be one of the most beautiful duos in the history of Hollywood.
In the following years, the actress took part in the romantic drama No Reservations with Aaron Eckhart as her partner, the thriller Death Defying Acts about the famous Houdini played by Guy Pearce, and the comedy Lay the Favorite, where she co-stars with Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn.
In the criminal political drama Broken City (2012) starring Mark Wahlberg, Catherine plays the wife of the mayor, played by Russell Crowe.
The year after that, the actress played the role of doctor Siebert in the mystery thriller with an unpredictable ending Side Effects. Steven Soderbergh directed the movie; Rooney Mara, Jude Law and Channing Tatum also starred in it.
After playing the Russian spy Katja in the movie Red 2, also starring Bruce Willis, Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox, Helen Mirren, David Thewlis and John Malkovich, the actress took a four-year break in her career.
In 2017 Catherine accepted the invitation to play in a TV series about the feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, played by Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon. In the series Catherine plays a secondary but spectacular role; Alfred Molina, Kathy Bates, and Stanley Tucci also star in the movie.
In 2017, the actress worked on the set of the historical drama The Godfather Cocaine. In this film, she portrays the infamous Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco, Florida crime queen of the 80s. The film also stars Juan Pablo Espinoza and Warren Christie. The film premiered in early 2018.
Catherine Zeta-Jones’s Personal LifeCatherine’s first love affair took place while she was still in London; her partner was the popular TV presenter John Leslie, who was terribly jealous of her. She broke off their engagement before moving to Los Angeles.
In 1998 Michael Douglas, charmed by Catherine’s role in The Mask of Zorro, attempted to start a relationship with her by making a joke that he would like to be the father of her children. Catherine didn’t appreciate the joke, but Douglas kept sending her gifts and magnificent bouquets for the next six months. Eventually, Catherine surrendered. At that time Michael wasn’t staying with his wife anymore, although they were not officially divorced. He had to pay $45 million in the divorce settlement.
Catherine and Michael announced their engagement in 1999. She was smiling from every glossy cover, flaunting her engagement ring worth $2 million. In 2000 their son Dylan was born, and the couple got married soon after that.
In 2003 Catherine gave birth to Carys; the actress started showing early symptoms of bipolar II disorder after that. She managed to conceal her health problems for a couple of years. However, when Michael was diagnosed with tongue cancer, Catherine concentrated all her energies on fighting for her beloved husband’s life.
After Michael was declared cancer-free, Catherine’s bipolar II disorder, hidden until then, re-emerged, this time with more devastating symptoms, as a result of stress and fatigue. Michael’s reaction was unexpected: he stated that he wasn’t going to put up with her mood swings and even wanted to file for divorce. However, the couple reunited after Catherine had undergone therapy.
Catherine Zeta-Jones NowIn the comedy series Queen America (2018-2019), the actress plays Vicki Ellis, a famous stylist and beauty coach who is able to turn almost every candidate into a beauty pageant winner. However, her new protégé Samantha is so stupid and blatantly ugly, that Vicki has to come up with incredible tactics in order to turn the girl into a Beauty Queen.
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