Family & Companions
Exceptionally bright, outspoken, and controversial both onscreen and off, Golden Globe-winning actress Sharon Stone weathered career ups and downs, but always emerged as master of her own iconic image. With a flair for self-invention and a full embrace of the old Hollywood notion of creating a larger-than-life persona, Stone was a journalist's dream -- smart, tough and funny and one of the most deliciously quotable celebs -- not to mention one renowned for bringing back high glamour as a quintessential "movie star." When given the shot, the blonde beauty demonstrated considerable range as an actor and with complex, psychologically-driven material, she outshone the competition. But such roles were few and far between for an aging actress, and Stone's film choices were often beneath her talent. Consequently, she failed to maintain a steady Hollywood footing, despite critical successes with "Basic Instinct" (1992), which single-handedly made her an overnight star, courtesy of the infamous interrogation scene, "Casino" (1995) and "The Muse" (1999). In the 21st century, Stone recast herself as a solidly dependable character actress, bringing her dependable energy to films from the biopics "Bobby" (2006) and "Lovelace" (2013) to John Turturro's "Fading Gigolo" (2013) and James Franco's "The Disaster Artist" (2017), along with an increasing amount of television work including starring roles on action drama "Agent X" (TNT 2015) and Stephen Soderbergh's interactive mystery "Mosaic" (HBO 2018). One thing was certain: Stone was never boring and always managed to find herself the center of attention, for better or for worse.
Sharon Stone was born in rural Saegertown, PA, on March 10, 1958. She was the second of four children born to factory worker, Joseph, and homemaker, Dorothy, who had been wed as teenagers. In interviews, Stone joked (and her mother corroborated) that she was born an adult, walking and talking by ten months old and with a sophisticated, intense sensibility that made it hard to relate to kids her own age. She was remarkably creative, sewing her own clothes, writing, painting and staging plays in the family garage that included her own scripts and set designs. There was one movie screen in town and the avid film fan saw everything that came through when she was not glued to Golden Age Hollywood oldies airing on TV. Stone was also considered academically gifted and was skipped ahead several grades throughout her schooling which did not help her status as an awkward outsider. Towards the end of her high school career, at age 15, she was spending half her day at Saegertown High School and half attending courses at a nearby Edinboro University.
Despite the fact that she was not very outgoing socially, the willowy, naturally blonde teen was urged by relatives to enter a local beauty pageant and received an esteem boost when she was named Miss Crawford County. In 1977, while studying creative writing full time at Edinboro University, Stone received further encouragement to go into modeling and decided it might as well be her ticket out of small-town life. Within four days of her arrival in New York City, Stone was signed with the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency. Over the next few years she became the face of such famous ad campaigns as Charlie perfume and Maybelline cosmetics, and while she was not crazy about the work, it enabled her to travel the world and soak up international art and culture. It was while living in Paris in 1980 that Stone decided it was time to focus on something more than her looks, so she moved back to New York and began dramatic training. She made her film debut with a non-speaking part as a beautiful woman fleetingly glimpsed from a moving train in Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories" (1980).
Stone continued studying with renowned acting coaches and persevered in lackluster films like Wes Craven's "Deadly Blessing" (1981) and guest TV spots until she landed a small recurring role in the short-lived professional baseball drama "Bay City Blues" (NBC, 1983). She did attract some notice as Ryan O'Neal's conniving actress girlfriend in "Irreconcilable Differences" (1984), her tough and independent demeanor leading to a series of roles in B-action films like "King Solomon's Mines" (1985) and the follow-up sequel "Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold" (1987) and "Cold Steel" (1988).
Getting a chance to stretch her developing acting muscles, she appeared as Robert Mitchum's daughter-in-law in the much-watched ABC miniseries "War and Remembrance" (1988) and her breakthrough seemed on the horizon when she landed seven TV and film roles in a two-year period. Stone had had her fill of what she called "stupid action movies" by 1989 when she was sent a script for the sci-fi actioner "Total Recall" (1990). When she found out it was being directed by Paul Verhoeven, whose work she had admired, she changed her tune and jumped at the chance, landing opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger as his kick-boxing secret agent "wife" in what would be the first of her big screen breakouts.
Unfortunately, the actress was involved in a car accident immediately after her high profile boost and she spent months in recuperation. When she was able to return to work, however, she had a more recognizable name and was bumped up to the next level of work. She landed her first starring role in the psychological thriller "Scissors" (1991), and maintained her steely edge in "The Year of the Gun" (1991) and "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie" (1991) before reuniting with Verhoeven and launching into far-from-overnight super-stardom with "Basic Instinct" (1992). With her performance as a voracious bisexual crime writer who becomes involved with a detective investigating her possible role in a string of murders, Stone elevated the erotic thriller well above the confines of the tired genre. Stone's infamous scene as the subject of a police interrogation who casually exposes herself beneath a miniskirt was the subject of much conversation. In the hands of lesser actress, the famous flash would have barely registered than little more than soft-core porn; hardly the feminist uprising that some interpreted it as.
Despite the debate and controversy, Stone emerged as a legitimate movie star, looking every bit the part of the classic Hollywood femme fatales whom critics likened her to. Screenwriter Joe Ezsterhas hoped Stone could bring the same depth to more of his male fantasies and though she really did not want to do "Sliver" (1993), another sizzling sex melodrama, she could not find any other part she liked better. Trying to stretch beyond the image of her past two films, she begged for the frigid wife role - they offered her much more to play the girlfriend - in "Intersection" (1994), which was a limited success and earned the actress a nomination at the Razzie Awards.
Harkening back to her earlier years when she was often cast opposite impossibly larger than life men of action, Stone paired with Sylvester Stallone in the explosive "The Specialist" (1994). Stone fared better in the risk-taking Western "The Quick and the Dead" (1995), signing on as co-producer and paying half of Leonardo DiCaprio's wages out of her own salary when the project ran into difficulties. Critical reception was uneven, but Stone was fun as a distaff version of a Clint Eastwood-like gunfighter, the film featured a pre-stardom Russell Crowe, and director Sam Raimi helmed the smartly derivative tale with style to spare. Later in the year, she gave her strongest dramatic performance to date as Ginger, the Vegas hustler who wins the heart of Robert De Niro, in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" (1995). No part had ever made such heavy demands on the actress and she was a Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated revelation.
Now a highly-paid, much-in-demand diva with her own production company (Chaos) and a first-look deal with Miramax, Stone filmed a remake of the noir classic "Diabolique" (1996) with Isabelle Adjani and Chazz Palminteri before playing a death-row inmate whose lawyer (Rob Morrow) works to save her from execution in "Last Dance" (1996). The former was notable more for her battle with its producer over refusing to bare her flesh, while the latter - despite presenting a uniquely drab, unglamorous Stone - followed too closely on the heels of the similarly-themed "Dead Man Walking" (1995). Protecting her hard-won stardom, Stone was a clever manipulator of her public image, on heavy press days reportedly changing outfits between each interview and photo session, a practice unheard of since the days of Carole Lombard and Norma Shearer. On the red carpet, Stone became the fashion trendsetter. When donning a Gap turtleneck to the Oscars, she was crowned the fashion queen of Hollywood for going against the grain, but infusing her own personal style to great effect. Her personal life, however, and the wreckage of her real-life femme fatalities had solidified an image as an "ice princess," a tag she sought to lose in order to be taken seriously as an actress.
Stone went to work changing the public's perception of her, crediting Miramax executive Harvey Weinstein with having the foresight to see she could convincingly play a relatively normal, single mother "when everyone else said it was impossible." The fact that her production company ultimately financed 1998's "The Mighty" made his decision infinitely easier. That said, her strong, emotional performance in a secondary role confirmed her range, and her marriage to San Francisco Examiner editor Phil Bronstein helped with her transition. Stone finally began to achieve the diversity she had craved with movies like the animated "Antz" (1998) and "Sphere" (1998), a Barry Levinson venture where she appeared as a biochemist. The flop was forgotten in the face of Albert Brooks' "The Muse" (1999), where she was fantastic as a Greek muse who lends her inspiration to Hollywood types, but not without turning their lives upside down with her demands.
Stone appeared in fine form in a brief role in "Simpatico" and resurfaced occasionally in low-profile projects - including "Picking Up the Pieces" (2000), "Beautiful Joe " (2000) and HBO's lesbian-themed "If These Walls Could Talk 2" (2000) - but her marriage to Bronstein kept her away from Hollywood - both geographically and on film - for many years. In 2001, the actress was further sidelined by an unexpected health issue when she suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly proved fatal. Following several surgeries and her eventual recovery, Stone appeared in a public service announcement meant to educate the public on recognizing the signs of a stroke.
Her recovery coincided with the end of her marriage to Bronstein, leaving Stone to return to Hollywood, lighting up the big screen in director Mike Figgis' sly reinvention of a haunted house thriller "Cold Creek Manor" (2003). Stone gave one of her most campy turns as the villainous model-cum-mogul Laurel Hadare opposite Halle Berry in the flop "Catwoman" (2004). Offscreen, she was the subject of a courtroom battle after producers backed out of an alleged verbal $19.36 million agreement for her to star in a sequel to "Basic Instinct." She later settled, with part of deal including a planned sequel.
Stone next gave a great performance as a racecar driver's wife and the mother of an exhibitionist Lolita teen in Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers" (2005). After over a decade of sequel speculation, Stone returned to the familiar territory that made her famous in "Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction" (2006). As promised, the nearly 50-year-old actress bared all in her return as the ice pick-wielding crime novelist Catherine Trammell, creating what she hoped would be a big enough stir to lure curiosity seekers into the multiplexes. But "Basic Instinct 2" took a critical and theatrical drubbing, while the actress received unbridled scorn for a performance that was deemed embarrassing and comical.
Stone rebounded yet again, and was the recipient of warm praise for her mature and grounded performance in "Bobby" (2006), first-time director Emilio Estevez's look at the 16 hours prior to Senator Robert F. Kennedy's assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of several guests and employees. Following the film's debut at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, it received a nine minute-long standing ovation, particularly for Stone and co-star Demi Moore. Stone proved that her comeback was no fleeting success, giving a powerhouse performance the following year in Nick Cassavetes' "Alpha Dog," a fact-based drama in which she played the devastated mother of a murdered teen. Stone had no fewer than three feature releases scheduled for 2008, including independent films "If I'd Known I Was a Genius" and "The Year of Getting to Know Us." Stints in a direct-to-video action flick starring Val Kilmer and 50 Cent, "Streets of Blood" (2009), comic-book thriller "The Burma Conspiracy" (2011) and indie action drama "Border Run" (2012) were followed by supporting roles in better-received fare as '70s-era porn biopic "Lovelace" (2013) and John Turturro's comedy-drama "Fading Gigolo" (2013). Stone starred in Italian comedy-drama "A Golden Boy" (2014) and appeared in John Travolta-led disaster thriller "Life on the Life" (2015) and indie drama "Mothers and Daughters" (2016) before taking on her first starring television role as the Vice President of the United States in action drama "Agent X" (TNT 2015). After producing and starring in the romantic comedy "A Little Something for Your Birthday" (2017) and appearing in James Franco's Hollywood comedy "The Disaster Artist" (2017), Stone received her highest praise in years for starring in Stephen Soderbergh's event series, "Mosaic" (HBO 2017). The mystery series was initially released as an app that allowed viewers to take part in solving the show's central mystery.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Won the Miss Crawford County (Pennsylvania) beauty pageant and was also queen of her high school's spring festival
Became one of the top ten models at the Ford Agency, most memorably in the Charlie perfume ads; appeared in TV commercials, magazine layouts and billboard campaigns; worked in New York, Paris and Milan; modeling career adversely affected by a scar on her neck (received in a horseback riding accident), which cast a shadow requiring photo-retouching; as plastic surgery was unable to correct it, often hides it with scarfs, high necks, etc.
Made film debut in a bit part in Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories"; Allen offered her the part after the two spent a half hour discussing infinity
TV debut, "Not Just Another Affair" (CBS)
Appeared as spokesmodel contestant on the pilot for the syndicated series "Star Search"; won the competition
Played a baseball player's wife in the short-lived NBC TV series "Bay City Blues"
Attracted notice as Ryan O'Neal's conniving girlfriend in "Irreconcilable Differences"
First of two films with Richard Chamberlain, the remake of "King Solomon's Mines"; later referred to her performance as "a bad hairdo running through a jungle"
Reteamed with Chamberlain on "Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold", actually shot immediately after its predecessor but shelved for two years
Played Robert Mitchum's daughter-in-law in TV miniseries, "War and Remembrance" (ABC)
Made her first film with director Paul Verhoeven, "Total Recall", starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Capitalized on her role as Arnold's kick-boxing cyber-wife with a ten-page photospread in PLAYBOY
Acted in "Diary of a Hitman", directed by her beloved acting teacher Roy London; played a beautiful blonde who "hits" on assassin-for-hire Forest Whitaker, sent to kill her sister
Reteamed with Verhoeven for her breakthrough role in the erotic thriller "Basic Instinct", written by Joe Eszterhas
Acted in "Sliver", also written by Eszterhas
Hosted a TV biography of 1930s film star Jean Harlow, "Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell" (TNT)
Starred opposite Sylvester Stallone in "The Specialist"; first film with James Woods
Feature producing debut (as co-producer), the Sam Raimi-directed Western "The Quick and the Dead"; despite the presence of Gene Hackman and Leonardo DiCaprio in the cast, the public balked at the idea of a female gunfighter
Earned Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Casino"; picture reteamed her with Woods playing her ne'er-do-well boyfriend
In November, received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Signed a multi-year first-look deal under her newly formed Chaos Productions with Miramax Films
Sported a very unglamorous look as a woman on death row in "Last Dance"
Got many tips from Gena Rowlands regarding a future part while acting with her in Peter Chelsom's "The Mighty"; played the single mother of a disabled child, and her company co-produced the picture
Rendered as an insect, reunited with Woody Allen on "Antz", providing the voice of Princess Bala
Starred with Dustin Hoffman in Barry Levinson's underwater flop "Sphere"
Played opposite Jeff Bridges and Nick Nolte in "Simpatico", adapted from the play by Sam Shepard; released in France (September 1999), feature directorial debut of Matthew Warchus
Starred as "Gloria", Sidney Lumet's remake of the 1980 John Cassavettes film which had starred Rowlands
Had title role of Zeus' daughter opposite Albert Brooks in his romantic comedy "The Muse"
Teamed with Allen again in "Picking Up the Pieces", a black comedy whose all-star cast also included Fran Drescher and David Schwimmer, among many others; aired on Starz! in lieu of a theatrical release
Acted in Anne Heche's writing-directing project "Miss Conception", one of the three stories comprising HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk 2", examining the lesbian experience in America in three different decades; starred opposite Ellen DeGeneres
Signed for a reported $14 million pay or play deal to reprise role of Catherine Trammell in a sequel to "Basic Instinct"; sued producers Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar in June 2001 when project was canceled
Appeared opposite Billy Connolly in "Beautiful Joe"
Had a recurring guest starring role on the ABC drama "The Practice"
Co-starred with Dennis Quaid in the thriller "Cold Creek Manor"
Cast as the scheming wife of a cosmetics mogul in "Catwoman"
Starred as an ex-flame of Bill Murray's in Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers"
Cast as a a beautician married to William H. Macy in Emilio Estevez's directorial debut, "Bobby," an ensemble centered around the night of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination
Co-starred as the mother of a kidnapped boy in "Alpha Dog," about real-life drug dealer Jesse James Hollywood; Nick Cassavetes wrote and directed
Joined the cast of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" for a four-episode arc playing a former cop-turned-prosecutor
Starred on the short-lived action drama "Agent X"
Appeared in the ensemble drama "Mothers and Daughters"
Co-starred in western drama "Running Wild"
Was cast as Iris Burton in James Franco's Tommy Wiseau biopic "The Disaster Artist"
Began co-starring on the choose-your-own-outcome drama "Mosaic"
Appeared in the ensemble romantic drama "What About Love"
Starred in the crime thriller "Sunny"