Catherine Zeta-Jones (born 25 September 1969) is an Academy Award-winning Welsh actress. She was born in Wales and began her career on stage at an early age. After starring in a number of television films and small roles in films, she became famous with roles in films such as The Phantom, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment in the mid to late 1990s.
She is married to Michael Douglas, with whom she starred in the 2000 film Traffic. Her most recent films are Ocean’s Twelve and The Legend of Zorro. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Chicago. She has been the spokeswoman for T-Mobile since 2003.
Born Catherine Jones, in Treboeth, in the parish of Llangyfelach, a working class area of Swansea, West Glamorgan in Wales. She was the middle child of three children born to Dai Jones, a Welsh sweet factory owner, and Patricia Fair, who is of Irish-Catholic extraction. Her father has no religious interests and Catherine and her siblings were raised as Roman Catholics. After her parents won £100,000 at bingo in the 1980s, they moved to St. Andrews Drive in Mayals, an upper class area of Swansea. She attended Dumbarton House School, Swansea, where she was an average student.
One of her first performances to an audience was to friends and family at her great-aunt Faith O’Brien’s house. Catherine used the living room table as her stage. She left school early to further her acting ambition without obtaining O levels qualifications. Her name stems from those of her grandmothers; one named Katherine Fair, and the other Zeta Jones, named after a ship which her great-grandfather had sailed on.
Zeta-Jones’ stage career began in childhood. She was a part of a Catholic congregation’s performing troupe before she was 10. She also starred in a London production of Annie, among other productions, such as Bugsy Malone. By 1987 she was starring in 42nd Street as Peggy Sawyer 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 (also known as 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 briefly flirted with a musical career, having a part in Jeff Wayne’s 1992 Spartacus. A single, “The Appian Way”, featured her; it was released but failed to chart. She also starred in an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, as well as having a role in Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.
She continued to find moderate success with a number of television projects, namely, The Return of the Native and the mini-series Catherine the Great. She also starred in Splitting Heirs, a comedy starring Eric Idle, Rick Moranis and John Cleese. In 1996, she was cast as the aviatrix “Sala” in Paramount’s big budget action film, The Phantom, based on the famous comic created by Lee Falk.
Jones starred in the CBS mini-series Titanic, which also starred Tim Curry and Peter Gallagher. Steven Spielberg, who noted her performance in the mini-series, recommended her to the director of an upcoming film, The Mask of Zorro. Jones landed a lead role in the film, alongside Antonio Banderas. The film contributed to boosting her profile. The following year she was the star of the film, Entrapment with Sean Connery. Later that year she also starred in The Haunting, alongside Liam Neeson and Lili Taylor.
In 2000 she starred in Traffic with future husband Michael Douglas. The following year she starred in America’s Sweethearts, with Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal and John Cusack. In 2003, she won an Academy Award or Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 2002 film Chicago. Chicago also won the Academy Award for Best Film that year. On 22 October 2005, she referenced her award, as guest host on the television 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”.
In 2003 she voiced a role in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, as well as starring in Intolerable Cruelty with George Clooney. In 2004 she was in The Terminal, as well as Ocean’s Twelve, the sequel to Ocean’s Eleven. In 2005 The Mask of Zorro returned to the big screen, with Catherine reprising her role as Elena in The Legend of Zorro. She stars in and produces the rugby-related comedy, Coming Out, which Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson will also be in.
Zeta-Jones is married to actor Michael Douglas, with whom she has two children. They were married at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on 18 November 2000. Their son, Dylan Michael Douglas, was born 8 August 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). Their daughter, Carys Zeta Douglas, was born April 20, 2003. Zeta-Jones has decided that her children will grow up aware of their Welsh heritage and has built a seaside home for her parents in her hometown of Swansea. She also wants her children to know the Welsh language (Cymraeg), although she herself is not a Welsh-speaker.
Her elder brother, David A. Jones (also known as Cameron Jones), is VP for film company, Initial Entertainment. He was an executive producer of Gangs of New York. Catherine’s younger brother Lyndon Jones is her personal manager and producer for Milkwood Films. Catherine’s parents recently moved from their Mayals property to a £2 million cliff top home two miles away, built for them by Catherine. 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.
* Has the same birthday as her husband Michael Douglas, who 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.
* Her shoe size is 6(UK)/8(US)/39(EUR)
* Her father’s cousin, Robert Sullivan, is married to singer Bonnie Tyler, who is also Welsh.
* During her Darling Buds of May period, Catherine also helped her cousin promote his “Lazerzone” business in Swansea by appearing as a special guest at open days.
* Once appeared on Welsh TV channel HTV teaching children how to tap dance.
* She is a resident of Bermuda.
* Was unable to attend the funeral of her grandfather, Billy Fair, as she was pregnant and unable to fly.
* Does not attend many family functions such as weddings as she does not want her presence to take the focus off the event.
* Her uncle Robert Jones owns Swansea’s Å koda car dealership as well as Llanelli A.F.C. football club.
* Has a niece named Jena Jones. (Daughter of Catherine’s brother David Jones) When Jena passed her GCSE exams, Catherine placed an advert in Swansea’s Evening Post newspaper to congratulate her on her multiple A* passes.
* Catherine does not speak Welsh.
* Is a former girlfriend of former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie, UK actor Angus MacFayden and Hollywood producer Jon Peters, ex-boyfriend of Barbra Streisand
* A traditional Welsh choir sang at her wedding
* Her wedding ring includes a Celtic motif and was bought in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth.
* Showing an example of her ‘down to earth’ roots, at the 2005 All*Star Cup Golf Tournament held at the Celtic Manor in Newport, Catherine surprised fellow competitors and the media by arriving at the venue in her mother’s Skoda car - driven by Michael Douglas.
* She owns the film company “Milkwood Films” that will put out Coming Out in 2006 in which she will also act, besides having the producer’s role.
* While pregnant with her second child, photos were published of Zeta-Jones smoking cigarettes on a private balcony. Afterwards, she became the target of anti-smoking and child health and welfare groups due to her reckless behavior.