Born Catherine Jones, in Treboth, in the parish of
Llangyfelach, a working class area of Swansea, Wales, she was
the middle child of three children born to Dai (or David) 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 Catherine Zeta-Jones's parents won £100,000 at bingo in the 1980s, they moved to St. Andrews Drive in Mayals, an upper class area of Swansea.
Catherine Zeta-Jones attended Dumbarton House School, Swansea, where she was an average student. She left school early without obtaining O levels qualifications to further her acting ambition.
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. As a child, she had a tracheotomy which left a scar.
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.
Zeta-Jones' stage career began in childhood. She was a part of a Catholic congregation's performing troupe before she was 10, and by 1987 she was starring in 42nd Street as Peggy Sawyer in the West End. Once the show closed, Zeta-Jones traveled 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.
Catherine Zeta-Jones 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. 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.
Catherine became famous outside Britain after leading roles in two movies, The Mask of Zorro (1998) with Antonio Banderas and Entrapment (1999) with Sean Connery. It is said that she gained the role in Zorro after Steven Spielberg saw her performance in the Lifetime Television miniseries Titanic, which also stars Tim Curry and Peter Gallagher.
Catherine Zeta-Jones won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Chicago in 2003. On 22 October 2005, she parodied this fact as guest host on the TV 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".
Apart from her acting career, Catherine 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.
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.
Catherine Zeta-Jones' elder brother, David A. Jones (also known as Cameron Jones), is creative director for a film company, Initial Entertainment. He was an executive producer of Gangs of New York. Catherine's younger brother Lyndon Jones is her personal manager.
Catherine's parents recently moved from their Mayals property to a £2 million cliff top home two miles away, built for them by Catherine.
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