Biography of the day : Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones (born September 25, 1969) is an Oscar-winning Welsh actress. Born Catherine Jones in Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales, her name stems from those of her grandmothers; one named Catherine, and the other Zeta, named after a ship which her great-grandfather had sailed on. She was one of three children born to Patrick Jones, a Welsh candy factory worker and Dia Fair, who was of Irish Catholic extraction; Catherine was raised a Catholic. Besides English she speaks Welsh, Spanish and French fluently. As a child, she had a tracheotomy which left a scar.

Zeta-Jones' stage career began in childhood. She sang and danced her way to local stardom as a part of a Catholic congregation's performing troupe before she was 10, and by 1987 she was starring in Forty-Second Street as Peggy Saywer in the West End. Once the show closed, Zeta-Jones travelled to France, where she received the lead role in French director Phillippe De Broca's 1001 Nights (a.k.a. Sheherazade), her feature film debut.

Her exotic beauty, along with her singing and dancing ability, suggested a promising future, but it was in a straight acting role, as Mariette in the successful television adaptation of H. E. Bates' The Darling Buds of May (1991), that she made her name. She became famous outside Britain after leading roles in two movies, The Mask of Zorro (1998) with Antonio Banderas and Entrapment (1999) with Sean Connery. It is said that she gained the role in Zorro after Steven Spielberg saw her performance in the Lifetime Television event of Titanic, also starring Tim Curry and Peter Gallagher.

She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Chicago in 2003. On October 22, 2005, she parodied this fact as guest host on the TV show Saturday Night Live, surrounded by four male dancers, mimicking the Bob Fosse-inspired Chicago-style dancing, suggesting in song that, no matter how bad she might be that night, "They Can't Take My Oscar Away."

Apart from her acting career, Zeta-Jones is also an advertising spokeswoman for the mobile phone company T-Mobile. She is currently the global spokeswoman for cosmetics giant, Elizabeth Arden.

Zeta-Jones is married to actor Michael Douglas, with whom she has two children. Her son, Dylan Michael Douglas was born August 8, 2000. (Her American admirers like to think that he is named after Bob Dylan - a favourite of Douglas - while her British admirers like to think that Dylan Thomas, also born in Swansea, was the inspiration, although Dylan is a reasonably common Welsh firstname). Her daughter, Carys Zeta Douglas was born April 20, 2003. Zeta-Jones has determined that her children grow up aware of their Welsh heritage and has built a seaside dream home in her hometown of Swansea.


Selected filmography

The Legend of Zorro (2005)
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
The Terminal (2004)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) (voice)
Chicago (2002)
America's Sweethearts (2001)
Traffic (2000)
High Fidelity (2000)
The Haunting (1999)
Entrapment (1999)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
Titanic (1996) (miniseries)
The Phantom (1996)
Splitting Heirs (1993)
The Darling Buds of May (1991) (TV series)


Has the same birthday as husband Michael Douglas. Douglas is 25 years her senior.
For her role in Chicago, she specifically requested a 1920s-style short bob haircut, so her face could be seen and fans wouldn't doubt she did all her dancing herself.