From New York modelling to Police Academy flops and finally Hollywood recognition, this actress had more than enough basic instinct, and talent, to succeed.
The daughter of working-class parents in a North Pennsylvania town, American actress Sharon Stone was both the recipient of a scholarship to Penn State’s Edinboro University and a winner of local beauty pageants. Studying fine arts and creative writing, Stone began a successful modelling career in the late 1970s, becoming the face of Diet Coke, Revlon and Clairol.
Starting with a small role in Woody Allen’s ‘Stardust Memories’ in 1980, Stone took some time to escape "blonde-bimbo" typecasting. Her break arrived in 1990, when she starred opposite Arnold Swarzenegger in ‘Total Recall’. However, it was her role in ‘Basic Instinct’, two years later, that truly made her a star. In the 1992 film, Stone played a bisexual nymphet and alleged serial killer, and caused outrage with her infamous ‘no-knickers’ police interrogation scene. She soon found herself typecast, with films such as ‘Slivers’ and ‘The Specialist’ mining her erotic reputation, and not much else.
It was not until 1995, and Stone’s role in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino’, that she began to be recognised for her acting skills alone. She won an Oscar-nomination, as well as a Golden Globe, for the role. Subsequent outings including the western ‘The Quick and the Dead’ (1994), which earned her a Saturn Award for Best Actress nomination, the remake ‘Diabolique’ (1996) and ‘Last Dance’ (1996) followed, but all were relative box-office flops.
Whilst gaining an enviable reputation for off-screen glamour and opinionated wit, her screen career was not in great shape. Voicing the animated feature ‘Antz’ was a good move, but films such as ‘The Mighty’ and ‘Sphere’, while warmly received, were further popular failures. In 1999, she appeared in a remake of ‘Gloria’, which received the worst reviews of her career, from which she had to bounce back, despite stronger showings in ‘The Muse’, and, opposite Jeff Bridges, in ‘Simpatico’ (1999).
Stone kicked off the new century with ‘If These Walls Could Talk 2’, an Emmy Award-winning 2000 television movie that explored the lives of three lesbian couples in three different time periods. She followed this up with a role as a narrator in the TV series ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’, which ran between 2001 and 2002, and 2003's ‘Cold Creek Manor’.
Between 2004 and 2005, Stone was credited with appearing in seven films and television series, including Turkish TV serial ‘Kurtlar Vadisi’, ‘The Practice’, ‘Broken Flowers’, ‘Catwoman’ and ‘Will & Grace’, but she still failed to achieve her previous success. Even a sequel to ‘Basic Instinct’ released in 2006 failed to return her to her former glory as the movie became a commercial flop.
Despite her lack of success on the silver screen, Stone continued to land roles and went on to star in the likes of ‘When a Man Falls in the Forest’ (2007), ‘Five Dollars a Day’ (2008) and four episodes in ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ (2010). Her latest roles include 'Lovelace' (2013) and 'Fading Gigolo' (2014).
The elusive screen success did not spare her personal life either as Stone's marriages to George Englund Jr, Michael Greenburg and Phil Bronstein all ended in divorce. Stone, who has type 1 diabetes, is also a Buddhist.