"Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do.
So I like to take every opportunity that I can."

Full Name: Cameron Michelle Diaz
Date of Birth: 30th August 1972
Place of Birth: San Diego, California

Since first bursting on to the movie screen as little more than Jim Carrey's love interest in the Mask, the unquestionably gorgeous Cameron Diaz has cemented herself as one of the best comedy actresses working today. More recently she has branched out into more serious work, like Vanilla Sky and Gangs of New York, but for now she is still best known for comic turns in the likes of There's Something About Mary.

The Early Years
Cameron Diaz was born in August 1972 to mixed parentage - her father was Cuban-American, while her mother was Anglo-German. Her obvious good looks were noticed early on in life and it was at the tender age of sixteen that she was noticed at a Hollywood party by a fashion photographer and within a week she had been signed up by the Elite modelling agency. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty one, Cameron spent her life in many exotic locations - travelling the world working as a model and living in such disparate locations as Japan, Australia and Mexico.

Breakout Role
When she returned to California in 1993, Cameron had her sights on a move out of modelling into the seemingly lucrative world of movies. Despite having no experience, it was probably her good looks that landed Cameron the role in the Mask - she was originally signed up to play a minor character, but director Charles Russell saw something in the 22 year-old and persuaded producers and backers to greenlight Cameron in the lead female role of Jim Carrey's love interest, Tina Carlyle. Off the back of his frenetic performance in Ace Ventura, Carrey was hot and the film was a major success. To date, this has arguably been the highpoint of his career (I could mention Dumb & Dumber or the Truman Show, but shan't) - the same is certainly not true of Cameron, whose performance, while competent, amounted to little more than eye candy.

Cameron was now hot property, and was quickly signed up to play Sonya Blade in videogame crossover movie, Mortal Kombat. Some would say it was good fortune that a wrist injury in training led to her pulling out - the film was somewhere fairly short of startling. Instead, Cameron took a step back and appeared in a number of independent movies over the next few years, including The Last Supper, Feeling Minnesota alongside Keanu Reeves and Head Above Water with Harvey Keitel. She spent the time making some money from modelling jobs and learning more and more about acting through the only consistent method - experience:

"I just knew I wanted to carry on acting and to learn about acting,
So I chose these smaller films."

In 1997, Cameron appeared in her next big movie. In My Best Friend's Wedding, she appeared alongside Julia Roberts, the most important and highest paid actress in Hollywood, and was by no means overshadowed. In fact, she won a lot of critical applause for her portrayal of bride-to-be Kim. Next was the lead female role in A Life Less Ordinary. A lot was expected from Danny Boyle's first major international movie after seminal brit-flicks Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, but unfortunately the source material just wasn't up to scratch, and while the tale of hostage victim taking control was very likeable, the film was a fairly major flop and really wasn't very good at all, despite reasonable turns from both Cameron and Ewan McGregor.

Defining Moment
After what was little more than a cameo in Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas came Cameron's real moment in the spotlight. It was with There's Something About Mary and that hair gel scene. Obviously her character is the centrepiece of the movie (the title gives that away) and Cameron plays it superbly. Her comic timing is spot on and this is the role that catapulted Cameron into Hollywood's A-list.

Possibly apprehensive of becoming the blonde eye candy figure, Cameron's next role involved being quite spectacularly 'made down'. The first Charlie Kaufman / Spike Jonze collaboration, Being John Malkovich is nothing if not bizarre and stars Cameron as a dowdy woman married to a man who finds a portal into the head of John Malkovich. The film was an absolutely massive (and unexpected) hit and certainly showed that Cameron could do comedy work that wasn't slapstick.

Malkovich was followed by roles in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday and Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, about which I know very little (any information gladly accepted). In late 2000, the film version of cult TV show Charlie's Angels was released - starring Cameron, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu in the lead roles. Cameron again does some fine comedy work, but the film was widely criticized for being quite so silly. Not at all like the TV series and borrowing heavily from the Matrix (one choreographed fight between Crispin Glover's Thin Man and one of the angels in particular seems almost punch for punch, bullet time for bullet time, lifted from the Wachowski's movie), it went on to do well enough to warrant a sequel, and I for one enjoyed it.

Vanilla Sky
You know you're doing OK if you get to play opposite one of Hollywood's leading men, and Cameron does very well as Tom Cruise's possibly illusionary love interest in this remake of Alejandro Amenabar's Abre Los Ojos. The film itself is pap (my opinion, not necessarily shared by critics or the general public), but it at least gave Cameron another high-profile part.

The Sweetest Thing
I'm not sure this movie deserves its own mini-heading, but it may well be the low point of Cameron Diaz's career so far. With possibly the worst reviews I have ever seen (OK, Freddy Got Fingered got worse, but that's scraping the barrel), The Sweetest Thing stars Cameron, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair as three women looking for 'Mr Right Now' and includes the infamous penis song and the three stars actually ridiculing the whole movie on it's own DVD commentary. Now that really tells you how bad it is.

Cameron's latest cinema outing is in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York - she has the lead female role, but this is not saying much. She doesn't have a massive amount of screen time, but does pretty well with her limited part even if the film itself was a bit of a disappointment given the long wait. The only future films on the radar for Cameron are sequels - doing the voice of Princess Fiona again in Shrek 2 and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, for which she is being paid $20m - only the second actress, after her My Best Friend's Wedding co-star Julia Roberts, to obtain a pay-packet quite so large. This by itself marks Cameron as one of the most sought-after and important women in Hollywood today.

the glittering imdb.com

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