Catherine Zeta-Jones grew up in Swansea, Wales, under the guidance of her seamstress1 mother, Patricia, and her confectionery2-business owner, Dai. Her interest in performing became evident early on as she enrolled in dance classes before her fifth birthday, later joined a troupe at the Hazel Johnson School of Dance and subsequently caught the acting bug through church theater groups. Just when she was ready for a breakthrough, Zeta-Jones suffered a temporary setback3 when an infection forced her to stay at home and affected her breathing to the point where a tracheotomy4 was needed.
After overcoming5 the infection, Zeta-Jones renewed6 her interest in performing with added vigor7. Already comfortable performing for friends and family, Zeta-Jones began auditioning for stage productions and landed her first lead role as the title character in a stage production of Annie. After that, she starred in Bugsy Malone (1983) and The Pajama Game (1986), after which she was invited to tour England as part of the deal. The young actress experienced a career milestone8 in 1987, when she replaced two illness-stricken9 actresses to play the lead role of Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street.
As a result of her newfound fame in the UK, Zeta-Jones also anchored a series of musical singles, including “For All Time” and “True Love Ways,” which cracked the Top 40 of the UK charts in 1992 and 1994 respectively.
After The Darling Buds of May came to an end, Zeta-Jones made her first attempt to break into American films with the Billy Zane-led superhero film The Phantom in 1996. The film was a flop10, but her next role in the TV miniseries Titanic got the attention of Steven Spielberg, who suggested11 her for a part in director Martin Campbell’s 1998 film, The Mask of Zorro — a movie that Spielberg was producing. Cast as the title character’s smoldering12 love interest, Elena, Zeta-Jones used dancing and swashbuckling swagger13 to win the hearts of audiences, and, as a result, she found herself immediately in demand14. New roles followed in the heist15 thriller Entrapment with Sean Connery, the horror remake The Haunting with Liam Neeson and Owen Wilson, and High Fidelity with John Cusack. In the wake of her high-profile off-screen romance with Michael Douglas, her next role in 2000’s Traffic — which also costarred her husband — proved to be a critical breakthrough, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the scheming16 pregnant wife of a drug kingpin.
After the critical and commercial success of Traffic, Cathe-rine Zeta-Jones used her industry weight to choose a series of projects with A-list costars. In 2001, she joined romantic-comedy queen Julia Roberts and John Cusack and Billy Crystal for America’s Sweethearts. Just a year later, she put her musical background17 to full use to play the seductive18 and deadly19 Velma Kelly opposite Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger in Chicago. The movie’s success equalled paydirt20 for Zeta-Jones, and the critical reaction to her smooth performance led to Oscar gold when she walked away with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
With an Oscar to her name, Zeta-Jones continued to work with top-of-the-line stars, starting with George Clooney and Billy Bob Thornton in the Coen Brothers’ 2003 divorce comedy Intolerable Cruelty and in 2004 with Tom Hanks in the Spielberg-directed The Terminal. After these two stabs at comedy, she switched to action sequels to reunite21 with George Clooney and her Traffic director, Steven Soderbergh, for Ocean’s Twelve, before rejoining Antonio Banderas in The Legend of Zorro.
Zeta-Jones began 2011 feeling optimistic about the future. Following the encouraging treatment that her husband received after a life-threatening throat cancer diagnosis, she was honored by Prince Charles, who gave her the rank of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The honor was tremendous22 for Zeta-Jones but also unnerving23, as she was reportedly the victim of a physical assault24 by paparazzi minutes after the celebration had concluded. Nevertheless25, she remained upbeat26 about the release of her next romantic comedy, The Rebound, with Justin Bartha (from The Hangover) and the gambling odyssey Lay the Favorite opposite Bruce Willis, Justin Timberlake and Rebecca Hall.
After staying positive through her husband’s six-month-long battle with cancer, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ rep says the actress recently checked into a facility for a few days to treat her bipolar II disorder27. According to friends, the actress admitted herself to the facility in order to make sure she’s in top form, as she’s about to start working on a new project.
Zeta-Jones is rumored to have taken on the role of Gala Eluard Dali, Salvador Dali’s wife, in 2012’s Dali. She’ll star alongside Antonio Banderas in the biopic of the surrealist painter.
1 Seamstress - швея
2 Confectionery - кондитерская
3 Setback - препятствие
4 Tracheotomy - трахеотомия
5 Overcoming - преодоление
6 Renew - возобновлять
7 With added vigor – с удвоенной силой
8 Career milestone – важный этап в карьере
9 Illness-atricken – внезапно заболевший
10 Flop – провал, неудача
11 Suggest - предложить
12 Smoldering – тлеющий, неяркий
13 Swagger - развязанность
14 Demand - спрос
15 Heist - ограбление
16 Scheming - коварный
17 Background – подготовка, квалификация
18 Seductive - соблазнительный
19 Deadly - беспощадный
20 Paydirt – «золотая жила»
21 Reunite – вновь объединиться
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