Halle Maria Berry was born Maria Halle Berry on August 14, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Bedford, Ohio to Judith Ann Hawkins, a psychiatric nurse & Jerome Jesse Berry, a hospital attendant. Halle first came into the spotlight at seventeen years when she won the Miss Teen All-American Pageant, representing the state of Ohio in 1985 and, a year later in 1986, when she was the first runner-up in the Miss U.S.A. Pageant. After participating in the pageant, Halle became a model. It eventually led to her first weekly TV series, 1989's Living Dolls (1989), where she soon gained a reputation for her on-set tenacity, preferring to "live" her roles and remaining in character even when the cameras stopped rolling. It paid off though when she reportedly refused to bathe for several days before starting work on her role as a crack addict in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever (1991) because the role provided her big screen breakthrough. The following year, she was cast as Eddie Murphy's love interest in Boomerang (1992), one of the few times that Murphy was evenly matched on screen. In 1994, Berry gained a youthful following for her performance as sexy secretary "Sharon Stone" in The Flintstones (1994). She next had a highly publicized starring role with Jessica Lange in the adoption drama Losing Isaiah (1995). Though the movie received mixed reviews, Berry didn't let that slow her down, and continued down her path to super-stardom.