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To date, Halle Berry is the only Black women to win the coveted Academy Award for Best Actress. The Cleveland, Ohio native celebrates her 51st birthday today, and remains one of Hollywood’s most timeless beauties.

Halle Maria Berry was born to an African-American father and white mother of European descent. She was raised in a predominantly white section of the city, enduring racism but using the hate to fuel her creative passions. In the ’80’s, Berry entered several beauty pageants, winning such contests as Miss Teen Ohio and Miss Teen America. She was a runner-up in the 1985 Miss USA contest.

After briefly attending college, Berry trekked to Chicago and New York to forge a career in entertainment which began with modeling shoots. She made her small screen debut in 1989 on the sitcom Living Dolls ahead of a longer stint with the CBS drama, Knot’s Landing. Her big screen break came in 1991 with Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever.

From there, Berry charmed her way in a variety of roles in films such as Boomerang, The Last Boy Scout, CB4, and other roles. In 1995, she showed serious range in the film Losing Isaiah, cementing her as one of Hollywood’s leading actresses.

Berry made history in 2001 by winning the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Monster’s Ball, giving a moving acceptance speech still stirs souls today. The thrice-married beauty is also the mother of two children.

Still a top draw after two-plus decades and counting, Berry is currently the star of the thriller, Kidnap with two more movies on the horizon this year.

PHOTO: PR Photos

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