Sharon Yvonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, film producer, and former fashion model. She first achieved international recognition for her performance in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. 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 role in Casino. Stone also has diabetes.
Stone won the title of Miss Crawford County in Meadville. One of the pageant judges said she should quit school and move to New York City to become a fashion model. When her mother heard this, she agreed, and, in 1977 Stone left Meadville, moving in with an aunt in New Jersey. Within four days of her arrival in New Jersey, she was signed by Ford Modeling Agency in New York. After signing with Ford, Stone spent a few years modeling and appeared in TV commercials for Burger King, Clairol and Maybelline.
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. While auditioning, she met Michelle Pfeiffer, who recognized her from the pageant she competed in, and the two became friends. Stone was cast for a brief but memorable role in Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), and then had a speaking part a year later in the horror movie Deadly Blessing (1981). When French director Claude Lelouch saw Stone in Stardust Memories, he was so impressed that he cast her in Les Uns et Les Autres (1982) starring James Caan. She was only on screen for two minutes and did not appear in the credits.
Her next role was in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and a young Drew Barrymore. Stone plays a starlet who breaks up the marriage of a successful director and his screenwriter wife. The story was based on the real-life experience of director Peter Bogdanovich, his set designer wife Polly Platt and Cybill Shepherd, who as a young actress had starred in Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), which co-starred Stone's mother-in-law Cloris Leachman and won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The highlight of Stone's performance is when her cocaine-addict character plays Scarlett O'Hara in a musical pitched as a remake of Gone with the Wind.
Through the rest of the 1980s she appeared in Action Jackson (1988), King Solomon's Mines (1985) and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987). She was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performance in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. She also played the wife of Steven Seagal's character in Above the Law (1988). She appeared in a two-part episode of Magnum, P.I., titled "Echoes of the Mind", where she played identical twins, one a love interest of Tom Selleck's character.
Her appearance in Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Stone's career a jolt. To coincide with the movie's release, she posed nude for Playboy, showing off the muscles she developed in preparation for the movie (she lifted weights and learned Tae Kwon Do). In 1999, she was rated among the 25 sexiest stars of the century by Playboy.
Sharon Stone in France, 1991
The role that made her a star was that of Catherine Tramell, a brilliant, bisexual serial killer, in Basic Instinct (1992). Stone had to wait and actually turned down offers for the mere prospect to play Tramell (the part was offered to 13 other actresses and considered to 150 women before being offered to Stone). Several better known actresses of the time such as Geena Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith, Kelly Lynch and Julia Roberts turned down the part mostly because of the nudity required. In the movie’s most notorious scene, Tramell is being questioned by the police and she crosses and uncrosses her legs, revealing the fact she was not wearing any underwear. According to Stone, upon seeing her own vulva in the leg-crossing scene during a screening of the film, she went into the projection booth and slapped director Paul Verhoeven.
Stone claimed that although she agreed to film the flashing scene with no panties, 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. She said, "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."
Despite this, she claimed in an earlier interview 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 the actress was fully aware of the level of nudity involved in his memoir, Hollywood Animal.
Following this film, 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 these portraits he recreated his style of the 1930s, with the actors posing in costumes, hairstyle and makeup of the period.
Stone's stardom was such that she received top billing over Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio when cast as a gunslinger for Sam Raimi's 1995 western The Quick and the Dead.
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 movie 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 opposite Robert De Niro. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the role.
In 2001, Stone was linked to a biopic of the German film director Leni Riefenstahl. The prospective director Paul Verhoeven and Riefenstahl herself favoured Stone to portray Riefenstahl in the film. According to Verhoeven, he discussed the project with Stone and she was very interested. Subsequently, Verhoeven pulled out of the project as he wanted to hire a more expensive screenwriter than the producers did.
Stone was hospitalized in late 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.
Stone starred opposite actress Ellen DeGeneres in the 2001 HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk 2, in which she played a lesbian trying to start a family. 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.
Stone attempted a return to the mainstream with a role in the film Catwoman (2004); however, the film was a critical and commercial flop.
After years of litigation, Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction 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 movie; 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 U.K. 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 drama 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 winners Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank.