Catherine Zeta Jones, born 25 September 1969 in Swansea, Wales   

 

 

         date of birth - 25 September 1969
           

       

  

One of Hollywood's most beautiful stars, the characteristic fiery Welsh passion or "hwyl" behind the eyes of Catherine Zeta Jones has given the Swansea girl one of the most glamorous reputations in the world of showbusiness. In spite of her schedule, she still enjoys regular escapades to her parents' home, which overlooks Swansea Bay from leafy Limeslade near Catherine's birthplace. Swansea is still very deeply etched on her heart. Famously, Catherine's middle name "Zeta", was her grandmother's name, derived from a boat her great-grandfather sailed. "The Zeta" was the pride of Swansea's copper exporting fleet in the 19th Century.

A talented dancer, model and an exceptional singer, as well as film and stage actress, Catherine's talents were evident from the earliest age. Impromptu shows were organised in which she performed and acted on the kitchen table, and her family, Swansea neighbours and friends, were absolutely certain of her future movie stardom.

From the age of four, Catherine starred in her first public performances, singing and dancing with the local Catholic congregation's amateur shows. Years of hard work were later rewarded when she won the British Tap Dancing Championships - an achievement recognised by fiancé Michael Douglas when he presented Catherine's 30th birthday cake with tap shoes decorating the top!

 Catherine Zeta Jones's 30th birthday cake - reminiscent of her dancing days

Catherine may never have survived to celebrate her fifth birthday had it not been for the skill of surgeons at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, who performed a life saving tracheotomy operation to enable her to breathe. The scar is still visible to this day and Catherine refuses to have it removed; it's a constant reminder of the frailty of life.

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At the age of 10, Catherine made her acting debut when she played the lead in "Annie", in a production at Swansea's Grand Theatre; this led shortly afterwards to an offer to play the role of "Tullah" in Bugsy Mallone. Catherine craved to dance as much as possible - so her parents allowed her the freedom to go out to Swansea's adult nightclubs. Although she was only thirteen, she passed for somewhat older. A year later, Mickey Dolenz, the former "Monkey", stopped by at Swansea and auditioned Catherine for "The Pyjama Game". He was so impressed with her performances, she was offered the opportunity to join his show for the rest of the tour.

By this time, it was obvious that Catherine was strongly determined to pursue a career in showbusiness; everyone was assured of her extraordinary talent, and at the age of fifteen, Aled Thomas, the head of Dumbarton School, granted permission for Catherine to leave her studies a year early. London, and the spotlights of the world famous "West End" stage, beckoned the Swansea girl to her destiny with stardom.

In less than two years, Catherine landed the part of second understudy in the U.K. revival of "42nd Street". As fate would have it, the Producer's first viewing of the show happened to be on the night Catherine took the lead role of Peggy Sawyer. Her performance and stage presence was electric; justice was served when Catherine was offered the lead full time!

After the show closed, Catherine travelled to France and played the starring role in "Scheherazade", her feature film debut. After more work in the West End, Catherine's big break with stardom finally came in 1991 when she landed the role of Mariette Larkin in the ITV television series "The Darling Buds of May". She was an overnight success, and the talk of the British press literally overnight. The drama scored the highest ratings of any television show in years, and Catherine became a real-life darling - of the tabloids. A string of highly publicised romances followed, and Catherine was hounded by the journalists; her engagement to Scottish TV personality John Leslie ended suddenly amidst all the pressure. In 1993, Catherine played the part of Kitty, a power crazed social climber in Eric Idle's movie "Splitting Heirs"; her co-stars included Rick Moranis and Barbara Hershey. This led to a bit-part in "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery" and some work in a succession of American television movies - including a co-starring role in an episode of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" - which was her first acting assignment in the U.S.

Back in the U.K. Catherine starred in the BBC drama "Out of the Blue" in 1991; regrettably it led to a failed romance with the director.  Between 1989 and 1996 Catherine released several records, which gave her the opportunity to express herself musically again - as she had all those years ago on the kitchen table! Of all the music she recorded, Jeff Wayne's musical version of "Spartacus", the album and title song of the 1992 movie, was a truly magical highlight.

The cover of Catherine's release from Jeff Wayne's "Sparticus"

The cover of "For all time" - Spartacus

       Catherine Zeta Jones - "Blue Juice" - 1995

       Catherine as Chloe in "Blue Juice"

A 1995 British movie, the cult surfing hit "Blue Juice", led to a cameo role alongside another future Hollywood star - Ewan McGregor. In the same year, Catherine played her highly acclaimed lead role in the American TV movie, "Catherine the Great". By this time, Catherine decided to stay with her parents in Swansea for while to assess her future: the paparazzi, acting for the British tabloids, had finally beaten the star. In spite of her passion for Wales, a mere two hours away from London, Catherine felt it was best to emigrate to the U.S., where she wasn't so well known and where she could find some solitude away from the U.K. press.

In 1996 the actress occasioned on destiny once more, when she was chosen to play the female lead in the U.S. mini-series of "Titanic". The series pre-dated James Cameron's infamous movie version, and one viewer happened to be Mr. Steven Spielberg. The world famous creator of "Jaws", "E.T." and "Jurassic Park" was so impressed with Catherine's exceptional performance of Isabelle Paradine that he immediately called Martin Campbell, the director of "The Mask of Zorro", which was currently in pre-production. Martin had his orders - hire Catherine Zeta Jones or face the consequences!

Catherine Zeta Jones  - "The Mask of Zorro" (1998). Copyright Tristar Pictures Inc., 1998

"The Mask of Zorro" was an immediate hit with the movie critics and audiences worldwide. Catherine's part of Elena de la Vega demanded she learn sword fencing, and found that years of training as a dancer leant her a natural grace and poise at the art. Catherine Zeta Jones played the daughter of an ageing Zorro, played by fellow Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins. The Oscar winning actor was born and bred in Port Talbot (as was Richard Burton), a town ten miles east of Catherine's own Swansea birthplace. The two stars had much in common - some years earlier Anthony had directed Catherine in the stage version of "Under Milk Wood", authored by Welsh poet  Dylan Thomas. While watching the movie "The Mask of Zorro", another actor - Michael Douglas - was mesmerised by Catherine's Welsh charm and was determined to win her heart. Their first meeting at Deauville Film Festival was facilitated by mutual friend Antonio Banderas. Within months, Michael filed for divorce and Catherine was flashing his engagement ring, worth an estimated $2 million.

Now, almost as bright a star worldwide as in the U.K., Catherine was chosen personally by Sean Connery as his female lead in "Entrapment", in which they play art thieves. Again, the movie was a smash and demonstrated that Catherine was no "one hit wonder". The Welsh star now commands a reputed fee of $4 million a movie.

Movie poster for "Entrapment", starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones

Roles in films since have included "The Haunting" co-starring Liam Neeson, an uncredited part in Steven Frears' romantic comedy "High Fidelity", and her latest movie, "Traffic". Also starring in "Traffic" is Catherine's husband Michael Douglas, though they regret that they share no scenes together.

a Welsh-American alliance - Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas!

In August 2000, Catherine gave birth to the couple's first child, named Dylan Michael. Baby Dylan was named after Swansea-born Dylan Thomas and his birth was announced on Michael's web site. Catherine's mother Pat flew to Los Angeles from Swansea to be by her side. Grandma Zeta met baby Dylan in October 2000 when the couple visited Catherine's family in Swansea. Much was made of baby Dylan's dimple - a famous Douglas family trait!

On November 18, 2000 the couple finally married, in New York. The glitzy, star-studded reception held at the New York Plaza was attended by Welsh stars Tom Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Swansea singer Bonnie Tyler (whose 80's hits "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Holding Out for a Hero" were performed at the Hollywood couple's reception). Other big names attending the $2.5 million wedding included Stephen Spielberg, Danny de Vito, Sean Connery, Christopher Reeves and Michael Caine. Catherine's best friend, British television personality Anna Walker, was maid of honour. Amongst the Welsh contingent was Hazel Johnson, Catherine's dance teacher of twelve years, and Aled Thomas, the former head master who gave permission for Catherine to quit school and pursue her ambition. Catherine's wedding dress was designed by Welsh fashion designer David Emmanual, best known for the gown he designed for the marriage of Diana, Princess of Wales. Four crates of Welsh beer were imported from Cardiff for the benefit of Catherine's guests. Best man was Cameron Douglas, Michael's son from his first marriage, who later dj'd for guests at the Plaza. The couple spent their wedding night in the Astor Suite - named after John Jacob Astor IV, who sunk with the "Titanic" in 1912. Perhaps a deliberate choice, considering the "Titanic" TV mini-series had been Catherine's U.S. break! This suite is where Marilyn Monroe allegedly romped with John F. Kennedy in 1961 after the actress famously sang "Happy Birthday Mr President". The Astor Suite costs $9,000 per night to hire. Photographs at the wedding were restricted to an exclusive £1 million deal with "OK!" magazine.

NEWS ARCHIVE - Catherine won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in "Chicago". Accepting her award from the British Academy, heavily pregnant Catherine sent her love and thanks to  parents Pat and Dai in Swansea, her beautiful children and of course Michael. Catherine was obviously elated and told reporters after the event that she'd dreamed of winning this award all her life.

Catherine also scoops the 2003 Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actress" as Velma Kelly in "Chicago"!!! Handed the statuette by Scotsman Sean Connery, Catherine said she couldn't believe the coincidence that a Scot was giving the award to a Welsh person! Many congratulations to Catherine for a very deserved Oscar for such a stunning performance.

CONGRATULATIONS also to Catherine and Michael on the birth of their second child, daughter CARYS ZETA in New Jersey, April 2003. 

The Welsh name of "Carys" translates as "love"

LATEST NEWS - Catherine's family moves into their new secluded luxury mansion at home in Swansea, Wales. The £2m ranch style house, at Plunch Lane, Limeslade, is inaccessible to visitors. Catherine and Michael Douglas will reside here on their many stays in Wales with Catherine's parents. The former family home in Mayals will not be sold - Catherine's brother Lyndon Jones wishes to keep it within the family for sentimental reasons, according to a report in South Wales Evening Post.

- The first production from Catherine's film company, Milkwood (named after Swansea poet Dylan Thomas's play "Under Milkwood") will be produced soon. Entitled "Coming Out" it will be directed by Kevin Allen, who was behind the ghastly black comedy "Twin Town". Like "Twin Town", "Coming Out" will be set and filmed in Wales; the comedy revolves around the gay team members of a Swansea rugby club. Catherine will play the lead. The screenplay was co-written by Cathertine's brother, and Milkwood Films executive, Lyndon Jones. 

Catherine Zeta Jones is one of the rare jewels of the movie world whose precious talent and incredible screen and stage presence ensures she'll pass the test of time and reserve a place in the hall of fame as one of Hollywood's all-time greats. The last word should go to Judith S. Kaye, chief judge of the state of New York, who officiated at Catherine's wedding:

"I have learnt that Wales is a nation of poetry and song, a country of voices, that it's people are endowed with extraordinary musical talent - which you certainly exemplify, Catherine".

Catherine Zeta Jones  

 

  

                 

Death Defying Acts (2007) ....  Mary McGarvie

No Reservations (2007) ....  Kate

  Legend of Zorro (2005) ....  Elena de la Vega

  Smoke & Mirrors  (2004) ....  Colette

  Ocean's Twelve (2004) ....  Isabel Lahiri

  The Terminal (2004) ....  Amelia Warren

  Intollerable Cruelty (2003) ....  Marylin Rexroth

    Chicago (2002) ....  Velma Kelly   OSCAR WIN !

  America's Sweethearts (2001) ....  Gwen Harrison

  Traffic (2000) .... Helena Ayala

High Fidelity (2000) .... Charlie Nicholson

The Haunting  (1999) .... Theodora

Entrapment (1999) .... Virginia "Gin" Baker

The Mask of Zorro (1998) .... Elena de la Vega

Titanic (1996) (TV mini series) .... Isabella Paradine

The Phantom  (1996) .... Sala

Catherine the Great (1995) (TV) .... Catherine

Blue Juice (1995) .... Chloe

The Cinder Path (1994) (TV) .... Victoria Chapman

The Return of the Native (1994) (TV) .... Eustacia Vye

Splitting Heirs (1993) .... Kitty

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) .... Beatriz

The Darling Buds of May (1991-1994) (TV Series) .... Mariette Larkin

Out of the Blue (1991) .... Chirsty

Sheherazade (1990) .... title role

 

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