Sharon Vonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, film producer, and former fashion model.
Stone first came to attention for her role in War and Remembrance before achieving international recognition with her starring role as Catherine Tramell in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct (1992) by Paul Verhoeven. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in the crime drama film Casino (1995), directed by Martin Scorsese. She received further acclaim and Golden Globe Award nominations for her roles in the 1998 drama The Mighty and the 1999 comedy The Muse. In 2004, Stone won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in The Practice. She has also appeared in such movies as the crime drama Alpha Dog (2006), the drama Bobby (2006), a biographical drama film about a porn actress Lovelace (2013), and, most recently, the ensemble film Mothers and Daughters (2016).
In 2005, she was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.
Sharon Yvonne Stone was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Dorothy Marie (née Lawson; b. 1933), an accountant, and Joseph William Stone II (1930–2009), a tool and die manufacturer and factory worker. She has a sister, Kelly, and two brothers, Michael and Patrick Stone. Stone was considered academically gifted as a child and entered the second grade when she was five years old. She has some Irish ancestry.
She graduated from Saegertown High School in Saegertown, Pennsylvania in 1975. While attending Edinboro University, Stone won the title of Miss Crawford County, Pennsylvania and was a candidate for Miss Pennsylvania. One of the pageant judges told her to quit school and move to New York City to become a fashion model. In 1977, Stone left Meadville, moving in with an aunt in New Jersey. She was signed by Ford Modeling Agency in New York City.
Stone moved to Europe. While living in Europe, she decided to quit modeling and become an actress. "So I packed my bags, moved back to New York, and stood in line to be an extra in a Woody Allen movie," she later recalled. Stone was cast for a brief role in Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), and then had a speaking part a year later in the horror film Deadly Blessing (1981). French director Claude Lelouch cast her in Les Uns et les Autres (1982), starring James Caan. She was on screen for two minutes and did not appear in the credits. In 1983, she appeared in the short-lived sports-themed television series Bay City Blues, playing Cathy St. Marie, the wife of baseball player Terry St. Marie played by actor Patrick Cassidy.
Her next film role was in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and a young Drew Barrymore. Stone played a starlet who breaks up the marriage of a successful director and his screenwriter wife. In 1984, she appeared in "Echoes of the Mind", a two-part episode of Magnum, P.I., playing identical twins, one a love interest of Tom Selleck's character. Through the remainder of the 1980s, she had roles in such films as King Solomon's Mines (1985) and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987) and played Steven Seagal's wife in Above the Law (1988). In 1988, she played Janice Henry for the filming of the miniseries War and Remembrance.
Her appearance in Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi action film Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Stone's career a boost. To coincide with the film's release, she posed nude for Playboy, showing off the muscles she developed in preparation for the film (she lifted weights and trained a little in taekwondo). In 1999, she was rated among the 25 sexiest stars of the century by Playboy. In another Verhoeven film was the role that made her a star, playing Catherine Tramell, a brilliant, bisexual, alleged serial killer, in Basic Instinct (1992). Several actresses at the time turned down the role, mostly because of the nudity required. In the film's most notorious scene, Tramell is being questioned by the police, and she crosses and uncrosses her legs, exposing her vulva, which is not covered by underwear. According to Stone, she agreed to film the flashing scene with no underwear, and although she and Verhoeven had discussed the scene from the beginning of production, she was unaware just how explicit the infamous shot would be:
I knew that we were going to do this leg-crossing thing and I knew that we were going to allude to the concept that I was nude, but I did not think that you would see my vagina in the scene. Later, when I saw it in the screening I was shocked. I think seeing it in a room full of strangers was so disrespectful and so shocking, so I went into the booth and slapped him and left.
Stone claimed in an earlier interview, however, that "it was so fun" watching the film for the first time with strangers. Verhoeven has denied all claims of trickery and said, "As much as I love her, I hate her, too, especially after the lies she told the press about the shot between her legs, which was a straight lie". Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who later befriended the actress, also claimed in his memoir, Hollywood Animal, that the actress was fully aware of the level of nudity involved.
Following Basic Instinct, she was listed by People as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. In 1992, photographer George Hurrell took a series of photographs of Stone, Sherilyn Fenn, Julian Sands, Raquel Welch, Eric Roberts, and Sean Penn. In November 1995, Stone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. That same year, Empire chose her as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history. In October 1997, she was ranked among the top 100 film stars of all time by Empire.
In 1995, she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Motion Picture for her role as Ginger in Martin Scorsese's Casino, in which she starred opposite Robert De Niro. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the role. The same year, she starred opposite Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio in the Sam Raimi western The Quick And The Dead. Also in 1995, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. Stone starred opposite Ellen DeGeneres in the 2000 HBO film If These Walls Could Talk 2, in which she played a lesbian trying to start a family. For her work in 'Walls', she was again recognized by Women in Film, this time with the Lucy Award.
In 2001, Stone was linked to a biopic of the German film director Leni Riefenstahl. Prospective director, Paul Verhoeven, and Riefenstahl herself favored Stone to portray Riefenstahl in the film. Verhoeven, with whom Stone had worked previously, pulled out of the project, reportedly because he wanted to hire a more expensive screenwriter than the producers did.
Stone was hospitalized on September 29, 2001, for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which was diagnosed as a vertebral artery dissection rather than the more common ruptured aneurysm, and treated with an endovascular coil embolization.
In 2003, she appeared in three episodes from the eighth season of The Practice. For her performances, she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Also in 2003, she appeared in a James Woods-directed American Stroke Association television commercial to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke. This commercial was also shown in Canada courtesy of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Stone attempted a return to the mainstream with roles in the films Cold Creek Manor (2003) with Dennis Quaid, and Catwoman (2004) with Halle Berry; however, both films were critical and commercial flops.
After years of litigation, Basic Instinct 2 was released on March 31, 2006. A reason for a long delay in releasing the film was reportedly Stone's dispute with the filmmakers over the nudity in the film; she wanted more while they wanted less. A group sex scene was cut in order to achieve an R rating from the MPAA for the U.S. release; the controversial scene remained in the UK version of the London-based film. Stone told an interviewer, "We are in a time of odd repression and if a popcorn movie allows us to create a platform for discussion, wouldn't that be great?" Despite an estimated budget of $70 million, it placed only 10th in gross on its debut weekend with a meager $3,200,000 and was subsequently declared a bomb. It ultimately ran in theaters for only 17 days and finished with a total domestic gross of under $6 million. Despite the failure of Basic Instinct 2, Stone has said that she would love to direct and act in a third Basic Instinct film.
She appeared in the 2006 drama film Alpha Dog opposite Bruce Willis, playing Olivia Mazursky, the mother of a real-life murder victim. Stone wore a fatsuit for the role. In February 2007, Stone found her role as a clinically depressed woman in her latest film, When a Man Falls in the Forest, uplifting, as it challenged what she called "Prozac society." "It was a watershed experience," she said. "I think that we live in a... Prozac society where we're always told we're supposed to have this kind of equilibrium of emotion. We have all these assignments about how we're supposed to feel about something."
In December 2006, she co-hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with Anjelica Huston. The concert was in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus for his social contribution in Bangladesh through Grameen Bank. That same year, she appeared in the last episode of the Turkish TV series Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves) along with Andy Garcia.
On January 5, 2010, Entertainment Weekly reported Stone's impending appearance in four episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in April, and then included in a review on the 29th of that April such descriptions of Stone's performance as a "great presence", and having "had to revive her best ... tone to sell hokey lines" in a series it described as "mawkish and overwrought." Stone portrayed Jo Marlowe, a former cop turned prosecutor. Stone plays a dermatologist seeking a ménage à trois in the Woody Allen-John Turturro film Fading Gigolo, which premiered in September 2013.
In 2014, Stone was cast in Agent X, a television action-drama series that aired for one season on the TNT channel. She starred as Natalie Maccabee, America's first female Vice President who takes the office after the death of her Senator husband. Her first priority is to protect the Constitution with the help of a secret operative designated "Agent X".
On January 28, 2005, Stone helped solicit pledges for $1 million in five minutes for mosquito nets in Tanzania, turning a panel on African poverty into an impromptu fund-raiser at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Many observers, including UNICEF, criticized her actions by claiming that Stone had reacted instinctively to the words of Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, because she had not done her research on the causes, consequences and methods of preventing malaria.
Of the $1 million pledged, only $250,000 was actually raised. In order to fulfill the promise to send $1 million worth of bed nets to Tanzania, UNICEF contributed $750,000. This diverted funds from other UNICEF projects. According to prominent economist Xavier Sala-i-Martín, officials are largely unaware of what happened with the bed nets. Some were delivered to the local airport. These reportedly were stolen and later resurfaced as wedding dresses on the local black market.
Stone was criticized over her comments in an exchange on the red carpet with Hong Kong's Cable Entertainment News during the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2008. When asked about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake she remarked:
Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don't like that. And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that Karma? When you're not nice then the bad things happen to you?
One of China's biggest cinema chains reacted to Stone's comments by declaring it would not show her films in its theaters. The founder of the UME Cineplex chain and the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, Ng See-Yuen, called Stone's comments "inappropriate", and said the UME Cineplex chain would no longer present her films. Christian Dior advertisements featuring Stone's image were dropped from all ads in China amid the public uproar. Stone was removed from the 2008 Shanghai International Film Festival guest list, and the event's organizers considered banning the actress permanently.
Dior China had originally posted an apology in Stone's name, but Stone later denied making the apology during an interview with The New York Times, saying "I'm not going to apologize. I'm certainly not going to apologize for something that isn't real and true – not for face creams," although she did admit that she had "sounded like an idiot." However, after the interview, Stone released a statement entitled "In my own words by Sharon Stone" in which she said "I could not be more regretful of that mistake. It was unintentional. I apologize. Those words were never meant to be hurtful to anyone." While Stone cited the Dalai Lama as her "good friend" when she made the remark at the Cannes film festival, the Dalai Lama has reportedly distanced himself by saying of her only, "yes, I've met that lady".
In March 2006, Stone traveled to Israel to promote peace in the Middle East through a press conference with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres. In 2013, she referred to Peres as her "mentor". On October 23, 2013, Stone received the Peace Summit Award for her work with HIV/AIDS sufferers.
In 2015, Stone was guest of honor at the Pilosio Building Peace Award in Milan. She began an impromptu auction on stage in front of a crowd of CEOs from the construction industry and other dignitaries. She gained enough pledges to build 28 schools in Africa.
She met television producer Michael Greenburg in 1984 on the set of The Vegas Strip War, a television film he produced and she starred in. They were married in 1984. In 1986, Greenburg was her line producer on Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. The couple separated three years later, and their divorce was finalized in 1990. In 1993, Stone met William J. MacDonald (aka Bill MacDonald) on the set of the film Sliver, which he co-produced. MacDonald left his wife Naomi Baca for Stone and became engaged to her. They separated one year later in 1994. While working on the film The Quick and the Dead in 1995, Stone met Bob Wagner (a first assistant director) and they became engaged. After they separated, Stone returned the engagement ring via FedEx.
On February 14, 1998, Stone married Phil Bronstein, executive editor of The San Francisco Examiner and later San Francisco Chronicle. They adopted a baby son, Roan Joseph Bronstein, in 2000. Bronstein filed for divorce in 2003, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce became final in 2004, with a judge ruling that Roan should remain primarily with Bronstein, with Stone receiving visitation rights.
Stone adopted her second son, Laird Vonne, in 2005, and her third son, Quinn Kelly Stone, in 2006.
For many years, Stone maintained that she had an IQ of 154 and was a member of Mensa, but in April 2002, she admitted she had never been an actual member of the society.
In 2005, when asked during a television interview for her film Basic Instinct 2 about "life imitating art" (referring to her character's bisexuality), Stone said, "Why not? Middle age is an open-minded period". In 2011, Stone stated on Piers Morgan Tonight that she was never married to George Howe Englund, Jr., despite rumors to the contrary, particularly on the Internet. She currently lives in West Hollywood, California and owns a ranch in New Zealand. Stone is a convert to Tibetan Buddhism. Stone has stated she believes in God and describes herself as religious.
Filmography and accolades
- Sharon Stone filmography
- List of awards and nominations received by Sharon Stone