Cameron Michelle Diaz was born on August 30, 1972, in San Diego, California. She is the daughter of Emilio Diaz, a second-generation Cuban-American oil company foreman, and Billie Early, a predominantly English and German woman who worked as an import-export agent. Cameron has an older sister, Chimene.
Growing up in Long Beach, California, Cameron attended Los Cerritos Elementary School and later graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School. She was an athletic and adventurous child, participating in various sports and activities, including softball and cheerleading.
Cameron’s foray into the entertainment industry began at the age of 16 when she was signed by the prestigious Elite Model Management agency. Her modeling career took her around the world, from Japan to Australia, Morocco, and Paris. She appeared in advertisements for major brands like Calvin Klein, Levi’s, and Coca-Cola.
Throughout her modeling career, Cameron also graced the covers of numerous magazines, including Seventeen, Elle, and Mademoiselle. In addition, she made a brief appearance in a soft drink commercial directed by David Fincher, which would prove to be the catalyst for her transition into acting.
In 1994, Cameron auditioned for a supporting role in the Jim Carrey-led comedy film “The Mask.” Despite having no previous acting experience, her natural charisma and on-screen presence impressed director Chuck Russell and producer New Line Cinema. Cameron was cast as the female lead, Tina Carlyle, and her acting career took off.
“The Mask” was a commercial and critical success, grossing over $350 million worldwide and receiving favorable reviews. It also earned Cameron a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, catapulting her to stardom.
Following the success of “The Mask,” Cameron appeared in a string of successful films, cementing her status as a rising star in Hollywood. Her notable roles during this period include:
“My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997) – Cameron played the bubbly, yet naive fiancee of Julia Roberts’ character’s best friend. The film was a box-office hit, further establishing Cameron as a leading lady in romantic comedies.
“A Life Less Ordinary” (1997) – Paired with Ewan McGregor, Cameron portrayed a wealthy heiress kidnapped by a janitor, leading to a series of comedic and romantic misadventures.
“There’s Something About Mary” (1998) – Starring alongside Ben Stiller and Matt Dillon, Cameron played the titular character, Mary Jensen. The film became a cultural phenomenon and grossed over $360 million worldwide.
Expanding Her Horizons
In the early 2000s, Cameron continued to diversify her acting portfolio with a mix of comedy, drama, and action films. Some of her most acclaimed roles from this period include:
“Being John Malkovich” (1999) – A critically acclaimed film directed by Spike Jonze, Cameron played the disheveled and quirky Lotte Schwartz, earning her a second Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
“Charlie’s Angels” (2000) – Alongside Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, Cameron starred as one of the three leads in this action-packed, female-driven film. The movie was a commercial success, spawning a sequel, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” (2003).
“Vanilla Sky” (2001) – Starring opposite Tom Cruise, Cameron took on a darker role as the obsessive and tragic Julie Gianni. Her performance earned her a third Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress.
“Gangs of New York” (2002) – In this Martin Scorsese-directed historical drama, Cameron starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis, playing the role of pickpocket and love interest, Jenny Everdeane.
Voice Acting and Continued Success
In 2001, Cameron lent her voice to the character of Princess Fiona in the animated film “Shrek.” The movie was a massive hit, grossing over $480 million worldwide and spawning three sequels, with Cameron reprising her role in each installment.
Throughout the 2000s and early 2023s, Cameron continued to star in a variety of films, including “The Holiday” (2006), “My Sister’s Keeper” (2009), “Knight and Day” (2010), “Bad Teacher” (2011), and “The Other Woman” (2014).
Personal Life and Retirement
In 2023, Cameron married musician Benji Madden of the band Good Charlotte. The couple has maintained a private relationship, largely keeping their personal lives out of the public eye.
In 2023, Cameron announced her retirement from acting, stating that she wanted to focus on her personal life and well-being. While she has not appeared in any films.