Cameron Michelle Diaz (born August 30, 1972) is an American actress and former model. She became famous during the 1990s with roles in the movies The Mask, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and There’s Something About Mary.
Diaz was born in San Diego, California. Her mother, Billie (née Early), is an import-export agent, and her father, Emilio Diaz (1949–2008), worked for the California oil company UNOCAL for more than 20 years as a field gauger. She has an older sister, Chimene. Her father’s family came from Spain via Cuba (her paternal grandparents settled in Tampa’s Ybor City and her father was born in Los Angeles County). Her mother is of English, German, Native American, and Dutch descent. Diaz was raised in Long Beach, California and attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School.
At age sixteen, she began her career as a fashion model, contracted with modeling agency Elite Model Management. For the next few years, she worked around the world for contracts with major companies, modeling for designers such as Calvin Klein and Levi’s. When she was 17 years old, she was featured on the front cover of the July 1990 issue of the magazine Seventeen.
During the next three years, she had roles in the low-budget independent films The Last Supper (1995), Feeling Minnesota (1996), She’s the One (1996), Keys to Tulsa (1996), and A Life Less Ordinary (1997), preferring to feel her way effectively into the business. She was scheduled to feature in the film Mortal Kombat, but had to resign after breaking her hand while training for the role.
She returned to mainstream films with the major movie successes My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) and There’s Something About Mary (1998), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the category of Best Actress – Musical or Comedy. She received critical acclaim for her performance in Being John Malkovich (1999), which earned her Best Supporting Actress nominations at the Golden Globe Award, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards). Between 1998 and 2000, Diaz featured in many movies, such as Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, Very Bad Things, Any Given Sunday, and the successful adaptation of Charlie’s Angels. During 2001, she won nominations for Best Supporting Actress for the Golden Globe Awards, the SAG Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the American Film Institute Awards for Vanilla Sky, and also voiced Princess Fiona in the movie Shrek, for which she earned $10 million.
During 2003, Diaz received another Golden Globe nomination for Martin Scorsese’s 2002 epic Gangs of New York, and became the third actress (after Wedding costar Julia Roberts) to earn $20 million for a role, receiving the sum for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Her next movies were In Her Shoes (2005) and The Holiday (2006). She was preparing to work again with The Mask co-star Jim Carrey for the film Fun with Dick and Jane, but resigned to feature in In Her Shoes. Diaz reportedly earned $50 million during the period of a year ending June 2008, for her roles in What Happens in Vegas opposite Ashton Kutcher, and the Shreksequels. In 2009, she starred in My Sister’s Keeper and The Box.
During 2010, Forbes Magazine ranked Cameron Diaz as the richest Hispanic female celebrity, ranking number 60 among the wealthiest 100. Also that year, Diaz was cast as the female lead in a live action/animation hybrid film version of The Smurfs, and as well as voicing Princess Fiona for the movie Shrek Forever After, also reunited with her Vanilla Sky co-star Tom Cruise in the action/comedy Knight and Day, and on January 14, she played “Lenore Case”, the journalist in the remake of the 1940’s film, The Green Hornet. She was listed among CEOWORLD magazine’s Top Accomplished Women Entertainers.
Diaz received “substantial” defamation damages from suing American Media Incorporated, after The National Enquirer had claimed she was cheating on then-paramour Justin Timberlake.
She endorsed Al Gore publicly during 2000. Diaz wore a t-shirt that read “I won’t vote for a son of a Bush!” while making publicity visits for Charlie’s Angels.
Diaz has also been involved with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the first and largest nonprofit organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has spoken as an advocate for military families.
Although she was quoted by a 1997 Time magazine article as saying she was germophobic, Diaz specifically denied this on the June 26, 2009, edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, saying that a small comment she made 12 years earlier regarding public bathroom doorknobs was distorted out of proportion.
On April 15, 2008, her father, Emilio Diaz, died of pneumonia, aged 58.
Filmography and awards
During 1996, Diaz received an award at the ShoWest Convention for “Female Star of Tomorrow. During 2006, she won a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Leading Lady.” On June 22, 2009, she was commemorated by a star-figure on the Hollywood Walk of Fame