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Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone (born Sharon Vonne Stone on March 10, 1958), is an American actress, model (height: 5′ 7″), and producer. She came to international attention for her performance in the 1992 blockbuster film Basic Instinct, which caused controversy for its erotic content. She was one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood in the 1990s, until she moved to San Francisco to live with her husband and raise their adopted son. When that marriage dissolved, Stone returned to Los Angeles and resumed her film career.

Stone was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA, a town in which the number-one occupation is milking cows. The second of four children, she is the daughter of Joe and Dorothy Stone, who were blue-collar workers. It has been said that her parents raised her with feminist values. “My dad never raised me to believe that being a woman inhibited any of my choices or my possibilities to succeed. To be a feminist like Dad in that blue-collar, middle-class world is a big stand,” said Sharon.

She was a smart and ambitious child. She has described herself as “a nerdy, ugly duckling who sat in the back of the closet with a flashlight and read. I was never a kid. I walked and talked at 10 months. I started school in the second grade when I was five, a real weird, academically driven kid, not at all interested in being social. Recess was a drag until I realized I didn’t have to play, that I could lean up against a wall and read.” Most of the kids disliked her because she was standoffish and didn’t play children’s games. One day on the playground she announced, “I am the new Marilyn Monroe.” Her mother said, “Sharon has been posing from the day she arrived. She came out posing.”

As a young woman, her IQ was tested and rated at a high level of 154 points. After skipping a grade in school, she was involuntarily transferred from Saegertown High to Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, enrolling at the young age of 15.

Because she was very self-conscious of her looks, to the point that one biographer said she suffered from “a textbook case of dysmorphic body image, her uncle bribed her with $100 to enter a local beauty contest in order to improve her self-esteem. She entered the contest because she needed the money to help pay her college tuition. She lost the contest, but one of the judges encouraged her to enter the Miss Pennsylvania contest, which she declined. Instead, she entered the county contest and won the title of Miss Crawford County in Meadville. One of the pageant judges said she should quit school and move to New York to become a model. When her mother heard this, she agreed, and in 1977 Stone left Meadville, moving in with an aunt in New Jersey. Within four days of her arrival in New Jersey, she was signed by the elite Ford Modeling Agency in New York.

After joining the Ford Modeling Agency, Stone spent a few years modeling, and appeared in TV commercials for Burger King, Clairol and Maybelline, but she didn’t enjoy her work. While living in Europe she decided to quit modeling and become an actress. “So I packed my bags, moved back to New York, and stood in line to be an extra in a Woody Allen movie,” she later recalled. She was cast for a brief but memorable role in Allen’s Stardust Memories (1980), and then had a speaking part a year later in the horror movie Deadly Blessing (1981), which was a big box-office success. When French director Claude Lelouch saw Stone in “Stardust Memories” he was so impressed that he cast her in “Les Uns et Les Autres” (1982), starring James Caan. She was only on screen for two minutes, and didn’t appear in the credits.

Her next role was in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), starring Ryan O’Neal, Shelley Long, and young Drew Barrymore. Stone plays a starlet who breaks up the marriage of a successful director and his screenwriter wife. The story was based on the real-life experience of director Peter Bogdanovich, his set designer wife Polly Platt, and Cybill Shepherd, who as a young actress starred in Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971). The highlight of her performance is when her cocaine addict character plays Scarlet O’Hara in a musical remake of Gone with the Wind. Later that year, she took a part on Magnum, P.I., the highest-rated television show at the time.

She married television producer Michael Greenburg in 1984 on the set of The Vegas Strip War, a TV movie he produced and she starred in, along with Rock Hudson and James Earl Jones. The marriage quickly fell apart; they split up three years later, and their divorce was finalized in 1990.

Throughout the rest of the 1980s she appeared in seven movies of poor quality, such as King Solomon’s Mines (1985), and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987).

Her appearance in Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave her career a much-needed jolt. To coincide with the movie’s release, she posed nude for Playboy magazine, showing off the buff body she developed in preparation for the movie (she pumped iron and learned Tae Kwon Do.) She said she posed for the magazine because she needed the money. “I had just remodeled my house. I was broke. I needed the bread.”

Shortly after the release of Total Recall, Stone had a bad car accident on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Immediately after the accident, she went home, not knowing she had just suffered a concussion. She woke up almost completely paralyzed and ended up lying on the floor, crying, for three days. When she finally got to the hospital, she was diagnosed with the concussion, a dislocated shoulder and jaw, several broken ribs, and three compressed disks in her back. The accident left scars that are visible in some of her later screen appearances.

While her memorable role in the Schwarzenegger movie should have lead to other important job offers, her career took a considerable dip for the next two years. She worked often and worked hard (five movies in two years), but the movies were low budget productions that few people saw. It wasn’t until she took the role as a coke-snorting bisexual serial killer in the sexually charged Basic Instinct (1992) that Sharon Stone became a true star. It was the number one box office hit of the year. That year, she was rated by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.

In 1995, Empire magazine chose her as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history.

In 1996, she received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for her role as Ginger in Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995), a role for which she won a Golden Globe award. In October 1997, she was ranked among the top 100 movie stars of all time by Empire magazine.

On February 14, 1998, she married Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1999, she was rated among the 25 sexiest stars of the century by Playboy.

Stone and Bronstein got a divorce in January 2004, after he had suffered a severe heart attack. They have an adopted son named Roan, born in 2000. Stone herself was hospitalized following a brain aneurysm in October 2001, but has since recovered.

In 2005 during a television interview for her movie Basic Instinct 2, Sharon came out as bisexual stating “Middle age is an open-minded period.”

In April of 2004, she was awarded the National Center for Lesbian Rights Spirit Award in San Francisco for her support and involvement with organizations that serve the lesbian, gay and HIV/AIDS community. She was presented the award by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, then embroiled in a national controversy over his decision to allow same sex marriage in his city.

She lives in Beverly Hills, California, and owns a ranch in New Zealand.

On Saturday, May 7, 2005, Stone, at the age of 47, adopted a baby boy who was born in Texas to a surrogate mother. She has named the baby Laird Vonne Stone. – 2004

Posted by A. Shapiro
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