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Halle Berry-4A-list actress and fashion maven

Style and taste, like class and intelligence, are things no one can buy no matter how many figures are in their bank balance.

How often have we seen the rich and famous, as my mother used to say, “looking like first one thing, then another”? Too often to count.

But Halle Berry always looks good, oftentimes exquisite. She knows what looks good on her and rarely, if ever, strays from that. Plus she has the perfect body for haute couture clothing, and it’s easy to see why the top designers are always eager to have Berry wear their creations.

Some people say Halle Berry has skilled personal stylists working with her. True, but her sense of taste is not going to allow her to wear anything that she doesn’t like or she doesn’t feel comfortable in, no matter how celebrated and accomplished the stylist or designer.

IT IS difficult to believe that in August Halle Berry celebrated her 48th birthday. In 2003, she topped People magazine’s list of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” That same year Esquire magazine chose her as “Sexiest Woman Alive.” And another thing that makes Berry so beautiful is that she is not caught up in the way she looks.

Being recognized around the world for her beauty and talent has certainly not lessened the heartache in Berry’s life. She could write a book about marriages and relationships gone bad.

“Being thought of as a beautiful woman — and beauty is always transitory — has spared me nothing in life, no heartache, no trouble,” she said. “Love has been difficult, but I am a hopeless romantic and I won’t stop till I get it right.”

Berry married actor Olivier Martinez last year. Friends, family and fans are hoping this union will endure, and that she was right in retracting a previous statement: “I don’t think I’m made for marriage.”

MARIA HALLE BERRY was born on Aug. 14, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother (White) was a psychiatric nurse and her father (Black) was a hospital attendant and later a bus driver. The middle name “Halle” was taken from a department store that was prominent in Cleveland at the time.

While in college she entered several beauty competitions and landed a couple of key titles. But after doing well in the Miss World pageant in 1986 — she was the first Black entrant — Berry decided to see what she could achieve in the modeling field. That decision was followed by a move to Chicago. As it turned out, she achieved quite a bit as a model.

But Berry had her heart set on an acting career, so she moved to New York and got a limited amount of television work, including a recurring role on the nighttime drama “Knots Landing.”

Next stop: Los Angeles.

BERRY MADE her film debut in 1991, in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever.” That was a small role, but she quickly moved into starring and costarring roles in an array of movies, including “Boomerang,” “Losing Isaiah,” the “X-Men” series, “The Flintstones,” “Executive Decision,” “Bulworth,” “Father Hood,” “Swordfish” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”

She also portrayed pioneering screen legend Dorothy Dandridge in the 1999 made-for-HBO bio­pic “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.”

Berry won the Best Actress Academy Award in 2001 for her work in the explosive film “Monster’s Ball.” She also won top honors at the Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

“Monster’s Ball” generated a hailstorm of controversy, particularly in the Black community where many felt the role was an affront to African Americans in general and African American women in particular. But no one could deny the excellence of Berry’s performance.

But not everything Halle Berry has done on the big screen has been a success. Case in point: the highly anticipated “Catwoman” in 2004. It was an artistic, critical and commercial disappointment. A sequel was out of the question.

“I’ve always been honest, even when a movie bombed,” she said. “I’ve owned up to all of it. My mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, there is no way you could be a good winner.”

But “loser” is not a word that comes to mind when the subject is Halle Berry, the bad personal relationships notwithstanding. What one envisions is a talented, beautiful actress…with an impeccable sense of style and taste.

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