Halle Berry

As a former beauty queen and fashion model, Halle Berry surprised naysayers when she emerged as a multi-talented actress capable of turning in award-worthy performances. Berry made herself known in a small, but memorable role as a crackhead in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" (1991), though she was subsequently underused in "The Last Boy Scout" (1991) and "Boomerang" (1992). She turned in a finely crafted dramatic performance as a drug-addicted mother trying to regain custody of her son in "Losing Isaiah" (1995), while her role as a gutsy flight attendant in "Executive Decision" (1996) garnered positive reviews. With the trappings of fame, however, Berry was a constant source of public scrutiny, starting with her divorce from baseball star David Justice through her turbulent marriage to singer Eric Benet and later her nasty custody battle with ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry. Throughout her personal travails, Berry delivered a fine dramatic performance in "Bulworth" (1998), earned an Emmy for "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" (HBO, 1999), and won the Oscar for her brave turn in "Monster's Ball" (2001), becoming the first African-American to win Best Leading Actress. Though Berry's take on the comic book heroine Storm in "X-Men" (2000) earned her blockbuster status, her leather-clad prancing as "Catwoman" (2004) earned her a certain ignominy. However, Berry continued working steadily, drawing praise for work in indies such as "Things We Lost in the Fire" (2004) while also headlining thrillers such as "Dark Tide" (2012) and continuing her work as Storm in the ongoing X-Men franchise. Her television work in the science fiction limited series "Extant" (CBS 2014-15) opened up a new avenue for her as well. Nonetheless, Berry had the rare ability to excel in both major tentpole movies and small indie dramas, making her one of the more sought-after actresses working in Hollywood.