Catherine Zeta-Jones, CBE ( born 25 September 1969) is a Welsh actress.
Born and raised in Swansea, Zeta-Jones aspired to a theatrical career from an early age. In her early teens, she played roles in the West End productions of the musicals Annie and Bugsy Malone. She studied musical theatre at the Arts Educational Schools, London, and made her adult stage breakthrough with a leading role in a 1987 production of 42nd Street.
Her screen debut came in the French-Italian film 1001 Nights (1990), and she found success as a regular in the ITV television series The Darling Buds of May (1991–93). Tired of being typecast as the token pretty girl in British films, Zeta-Jones relocated to Los Angeles.
Zeta-Jones established herself in Hollywood with roles in the action film The Mask of Zorro (1998) and the heist film Entrapment (1999). Critics praised her portrayal of a vengeful pregnant woman in Traffic (2000) and a murderous singer in the musical film Chicago (2002). The latter won her Academy and BAFTA Awards for Best Supporting Actress, among other accolades. She starred in high-profile films for much of the decade, including the black comedy Intolerable Cruelty (2003), the heist film Ocean’s Twelve (2004), the comedy The Terminal (2004), and the romantic comedy No Reservations (2007). Parts in smaller-scale features were followed by a decrease in workload, during which she returned to the stage and portrayed an ageing actress in A Little Night Music (2009), winning a Tony Award. Zeta-Jones continued to work intermittently in the 2010s, starring in the psychological thriller Side Effects (2013) and the action film Red 2 (2013).
Zeta-Jones has received an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award and a Tony Award, and in 2010 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her film and humanitarian endeavours. She supports various charities and causes, and is a prominent celebrity endorser of brands. Her struggle with depression and bipolar II disorder has been well-documented by the media. She is married to the actor Michael Douglas with whom she has two children. She was attracted to the idea of playing a “nightmare of a woman” and based the role on the politician Michele Bachmann; the film received mixed reviews and failed commercially. Her final release of 2012 was Playing for Keeps, a romantic comedy with Gerard Butler, which proved to be her third box office failure of the year. In 2013 Zeta-Jones took on a leading role in the crime thriller Broken City, co-starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. The film tells the story of a private detective (Wahlberg) who is hired by the mayor of New York (Crowe) to spy on his wife (Zeta-Jones). Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter thought that Zeta-Jones “looks like class itself and nicely underplays”, and Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail observed that the actress “does a fair, if incongruous, impersonation of a forties vamp”. As with Zeta-Jones’ previous few projects, the film was not widely seen, and received poor reviews. This changed when Zeta-Jones collaborated with Soderbergh for the third time to film the critically acclaimed thriller Side Effects (2013). Co-starring with Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Rooney Mara, the film saw her play a mysterious psychiatrist who recommends an antidepressant drug with serious side effects. Peter Travers found the film to be a “hell of a thriller, twisty, terrific and packed with surprises” and considered Zeta-Jones to be “dynamite” in it. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Justin Lowe remarked that Zeta-Jones “nicely pulls off Russian spy Katja’s mix of allure and menace”, and with a worldwide gross of US$148 million, the film emerged as her biggest box office success since No Reservations. Following Red 2 Zeta-Jones took another sabbatical from acting. In 2016 she played opposite Bill Nighy and Toby Jones in the British war comedy film Dad’s Army, based on the television sitcom of the same name. She was cast as a glamorous journalist reporting on a British Home Guard platoon based in Walmington-on-Sea. Catherine Bray of Variety found the film to be an “amiable but creaky resurrection” of the popular sitcom, and thought that while Zeta-Jones “hits the required single note with some spirit” she was “generally underused” in it. As at August 2016, Zeta-Jones is scheduled to portray the Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco in the biopic The Godmother. She has also committed to play the actress Olivia de Havilland in Feud, an anthology television series from Ryan Murphy about the rivalry between the actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis (played by Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, respectively).