CATHERINE ZETA-JONES Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Catherine Zeta-Jones was born and raised in the small Welsh town of Swansea where her father ran the town confectionery. Though it was a very small town, Zeta-Jones took advantage of the church’s amateur drama group, and was singing and dancing by the time she was four. When Zeta-Jones was 14, former Monkees star Mickey Dolenz was touring Britain in a musical that required the participation of local teens. Catherine auditioned and won a spot on the chorus.


The producers were so impressed with her talent that once the show closed they whisked her off to London to star in a production of “The Pyjama Game". By the time she was 17, Zeta-Jones had the lead in the British revival of “42nd Street.” She made the transition to television when she appeared in the British comedy/drama “The Darling Buds of May", turning her into a major sex symbol. Practically overnight her life changed and she was constantly hounded by the paparazzi.


In fact it was after accidently driving her car into a lamp post while evading the paparazzi, that she decided to flee Britain to live in the United States. At first Catherine snagged small roles in movies such as “The Phantom” and “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery", but her big break came when by chance, Steven Spielberg caught her performance in the 1996 miniseries “Titanic", and was impressed by her talent and beauty. He cast her in “The Mask Of Zorro".


She has a son with husband Michael Douglas.


It’s the classic story, in fact, the 42nd Street story: unknown actress from small town (in this case Mumbles, Wales) gets her big break when she goes on in understudied role one night. She’s cast as the star (of 42nd Street) and goes on to fame and fortune. Catherine Zeta Jones was an accomplished singer and dancer as a youngster, touring with a local amateur performing troupe. At age 11, she was playing the title role in local productions of Annie and, at 13, a lead role in Bugsy Malone.


At 14 she was hired for a touring production of The Pajama Game, and then moved to London to pursue acting full-time. She moved up from second understudy to showstopping star in that West End production of 42nd Street when only 16 years old. From London, the strikingly beautiful actor traveled to France, and made her feature film debut in Les 1001 Nuits/Scheherazade (1990).


In 1991, at 22 years of age, she took on the role of the eldest daughter in the British television series, The Darling Buds of May. During Darling Bud’s three-year run, she appeared in two American productions, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (TV - 1992), and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992); and the British feature films Out of the Blue (1991) and Splitting Hairs (1993). Before leaving England “to escape the British tabloids,” Jones took to the London stage for an English National Opera production of Street Scenes.


A huge star in the United Kingdom, Jones was almost unknown in Hollywood, but worked steadily through her first few years with The Return of the Native (TV - 1994),The Cinder Path (1994), Catherine The Great (TV mini-series - 1995), Blue Juice (1995), The Phantom (1996), and Titanic (TV docu-drama - 1996). It was on the strength of that Titanic performance that producer Steven Spielberg convinced the director of Mask of Zorro to cast Jones as Zorro’s ‘Elena’.


That swashbuckling heroine role earned the actor a 1999 ShoWest award for Best Supporting Actress, and led to roles in The Haunting (1999) and Entrapment (1999). Jones was awarded the 1999 European People’s Choice Film Award for Best Actress for the latter. Her popularity continued as she was named to People Magazine’s 10 Best-Dressed List in September of 1999.


Jones and fiance, actor Michael Douglas, have recently announced imminent joint-parenthood and wedding plans. Jones, in fact, turned down a starring role in the upcoming Beyond Borders due to her pregnancy. Set for release in 2000, though, are her films Traffic, High Fidelity and The Tenth Victim. With a new production company ("Zeta"), motherhood, marriage, and star-status, Jones has a full plate in the immediate future. The actor, once described as “a smart piece of fluff,” is now a solid Hollywood presence.