Cameron Michelle Diaz (born August
30, 1972) is an American actress and former model. She broke out in the
1990s with her roles in The Mask, My Best Friend's Wedding and There's
Something About Mary, and subsequently appeared in Charlie's Angels,
Shrek, Vanilla Sky, Gangs of New York, and several other Hollywood films.
Diaz has received Golden Globe nominations for her performances in There's
Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, and Gangs of New
Diaz was born in San Diego, California, the daughter of Billie (née
Early), an import-export agent, and Emilio Diaz (1949–2008), born in Los
Angeles County, who worked for the California oil company UNOCAL for more
than 20 years as a field gauger, and in the pipeline department, until he
retired in 1998. Her father was a second-generation Cuban American (her
grandparents settled in Tampa's Ybor City) and her mother is of English,
German and Cherokee ancestry. She has one older sister, Chimene Diaz. She
attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School at the same time as rapper
At 16, she began her career as a fashion model. Diaz signed with top
modeling agency Elite Model Management. After graduating from high school,
she went to work in Japan and met video director Carlos de la Torre. On
her return to the U.S., she moved in with him and had a five-year
relationship from the time she was 17 until she was about 21. For the next
few years, her modeling took her around the world, working for contracts
with major companies. She modeled for designers such as Calvin Klein and
Levi's. She was featured on the cover of the July 1990 issue of Seventeen
At 21, Diaz auditioned for The Mask, even though she had no previous
acting experience, based on the recommendation of an agent for Elite who
met the film's producers while they were searching for the female lead.
After obtaining the lead female role, she immediately started acting
lessons. Over the next three years, she won roles in low-budget,
independent films, such as The Last Supper, Feeling Minnesota, and She's
the One, preferring to feel her way effectively into the business. Her
breakthrough began with her roles in My Best Friend's Wedding and There's
Something About Mary, a film for which she was nominated for a Golden
Globe in the category of Best Actress - Musical or Comedy. She won
critical acclaim for her performance in Being John Malkovich, which earned
her Best Supporting Actress nominations at the Golden Globes, the BAFTA
Awards, and the SAG Awards. During 1990–2000, Diaz starred in many films,
such as Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, A Life Less Ordinary,
Any Given Sunday, and the hit adaptation of Charlie's Angels. In 2001, she
won nominations for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes, the SAG
Awards, the Critics' Choice Awards, and the AFI Awards for Vanilla Sky,
and also voiced Princess Fiona in Shrek, for which she earned $10 million.
In 2003, Diaz received another Golden Globe nomination for Martin
Scorsese's epic Gangs of New York, and became the third actress (after
Wedding costar Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon) to earn $20 million
for a role, receiving the sum for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Her
next film performances were in Shrek 2, In Her Shoes, and The Holiday.
During 2004 and early 2005, Diaz explored some of the planet's
environmentally unique locations while discovering ways to help preserve
them for the 10-episode MTV series Trippin' which featured numerous
celebrities and friends of Diaz, such as Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore,
Mark Hoppus, Eva Mendes, and Justin Timberlake.
Diaz returned to the screen for Shrek the Third in 2007, in which she
co-starred with her then boyfriend Justin Timberlake. She was set to team
up again with The Mask co-star Jim Carrey in the film Fun with Dick and
Jane, but dropped out to star in In Her Shoes. She also appeared in the
romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas, opposite Ashton Kutcher. Diaz will
again voice Princess Fiona in Shrek 4 and starred in The Box, a horror
thriller released November 6, 2009, co-starring James Marsden.
On July 7, 2007, Diaz participated at Live Earth in New York by
introducing Bon Jovi and The Police. In 2007, People ranked her as the
Best Dressed Female Celebrity. In August 2008, Forbes Magazine listed Diaz
as the highest paid actress in Hollywood. She reportedly earned $50
million in the period of a year ending June 2008, for her roles in What
Happens in Vegas and the Shrek films.
She made an uncredited guest appearance on Saturday Night Live on February
14, 2009 with guest star Alec Baldwin on a skit called "The Cougars' Den".
Diaz received "substantial" defamation damages from suing American Media
Incoporated, after The National Enquirer had claimed she was cheating on
In 1992 Diaz appeared in a soft-core S&M video entitled "She's No Angel"
shot by photographer John Rutter. In 2003 she won an injunction against
Rutter preventing him from distributing the video or accompanying
photographs, however in 2004 the video began being distributed online
through a Russian website.
When Diaz was asked if she can speak Spanish she said:
“ I go, 'God, you know, it all sounds so familiar. I know what you're
saying, I really do. I just cannot respond to you back in Spanish. I can
barely speak English properly.' I didn't grow up in a Cuban community. I
grew up in Southern California on the beach, basically. And I'm third
generation. I'm of Cuban descent.”
The actress was vocal in her support for Al Gore in 2000. Diaz went so far
as sporting a t-shirt that read "I won't vote for a son of a Bush!" while
making the publicity rounds for Charlie's Angels.
Diaz has also been involved with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of
America (IAVA), the first and largest nonprofit for veterans of Iraq and
Afghanistan, and has spoken as an advocate for military families.
Although she was quoted in a 1997 Time Magazine article 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 blown out of proportion.
On April 15, 2008, her father, Emilio Diaz, died of pneumonia, aged 58
Diaz dated former *NSYNC member Justin Timberlake, whom she met at the
2003 Kids' Choice Awards. In October 2004, Diaz and Timberlake were in an
altercation with a tabloid photographer outside a hotel. When the
photographer and another man tried to photograph them, the couple snatched
the camera. Pictures of the incident appeared in Us Weekly.
Representatives for the pair claimed that they were "ambushed" and acting
out of self-defense. The pair issued a joint statement on January 11,
2007, announcing they had broken up, following weeks of breakup rumors.
"There were times when I'd go,
'This outfit would look so badass with stilettos.' You wanted those
4-inch heels, those wrappy, strappy, show-off-your pedicure shoes,
but you couldn't do it. At the beginning of the scene it would have
been fine because I'm just hanging out with the dude. But the next
thing you know, you're kicking the dude's rear, so you had to make
sure you had the right shoes on."
"I didn't realize it [The Mask (1994)] was a fairly large film that
I was a part of. Halfway through I was going, 'Is there any place
that my mom and dad can see this film?' and they're going, 'Cameron,
at the theatres.' I had no idea. Durrrrrrr. I'm blonde. I'm
"One thing I realized from Julia [Roberts, _My Best Friend's Wedding
(1997)_ co-star] - which I knew before, but was made very clear - is
that when you're the star of the film, the crew looks to you to set
the tone of everyday work. So when you come into work, whatever it
is that you're giving off, that is what the tone is going to be for
the working conditions."
On Being John Malkovich (1999): "it's been said that in Hollywood
there are only 14 different scripts. Well, this is number 15."
"Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do. So I take
"I grew up with a lot of boys. I probably have a lot of testosterone
for a woman."
"Growing up, I was the plain one. I had no style. I was the tough
kid with the comb in the back pocket and the feathered hair."
"I would kiss a frog even if there were no promise of a Prince
Charming popping out of it. I love frogs. I'd lick him."
"We have a voice now and we're not using it. Women have so much to
lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. If you think
rape should be legal then don't vote. But if you think you have a
right to your body and you have a right to say what happens to you
and fight off that danger of losing that, then you should vote."
"My Latin roots are very strong. All my life, because I'm blonde and
blue-eyed, people who aren't Hispanic can't believe I am. And people
who are Hispanic always think I'm not, because I don't look like
them. Being Latin is part of who I am and I bring that part to every
"What we women need to do, instead of worrying about what we don't
have, is just love what we do have." quoted Women's World (6-14-05)
"Toronto has such a nice balance as far as the films they show
there. They kind of give an opportunity to everybody. You get the
best of the best there. It's a good standard to be held up against,
and it's very flattering to be in that festival."
"I'm like every other woman: a closet full of clothes, but nothing
to wear: So I wear jeans." quoted in Woman's World 1-3-06
"I know what you're saying, I really do. I just cannot respond to
you back in Spanish. I can barely speak English properly. I didn't
grow up in a Cuban or Latin community. I grew up in Southern
California on the beach, basically. And I'm third generation. I'm of
Cuban descent, but I'm American." - when asked if she can speak