Sharon Yvonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, film producer, and former fashion model.
Stone first came to attention for her role opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990 sci-fi thriller Total Recall before achieving international recognition with her starring role in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct (1992) by Paul Verhoeven. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance as Ginger McKenna in the crime drama film Casino (1995), directed by Martin Scorsese. She received further acclaim and Golden Globe Award nominations for her roles in the 1998 drama The Mighty and the 1999 comedy The Muse. In 2004, Stone won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in The Practice. She has also appeared in such movies as the crime drama Alpha Dog (2006), the drama Bobby (2006) and, most recently, a biographical drama film about a porn actress, Lovelace (2013).
Stone was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Dorothy (née Lawson b. 1933), an accountant, and Joseph William Stone II (1930-2009), a tool and die manufacturer and factory worker. She has a sister, Kelly, and two brothers, Michael and Patrick Stone. Stone was considered academically gifted as a child and entered the second grade when she was five years old. She has some Irish ancestry.
She graduated from Saegertown High School in Saegertown, Pennsylvania in 1975. While attending Edinboro University, Stone won the title of Miss Crawford County, Pennsylvania and was a candidate for Miss Pennsylvania. One of the pageant judges told her to quit school and move to New York City to become a fashion model. In 1977, Stone left Meadville, moving in with an aunt in New Jersey. She was signed by Ford Modeling Agency in New York.
Stone moved to Europe. While living in Europe, she decided to quit modeling and become an actress. “So I packed my bags, moved back to New York, and stood in line to be an extra in a Woody Allen movie,” she later recalled. Stone was cast for a brief role in Allen’s Stardust Memories (1980), and then had a speaking part a year later in the horror film Deadly Blessing (1981). French director Claude Lelouch cast her in Les Uns et les Autres (1982), starring James Caan. She was on screen for two minutes and did not appear in the credits. In 1983, she appeared in the short-lived sports-themed television series Bay City Blues, playing Cathy St. Marie, the wife of baseball player Terry St. Marie played by actor Patrick Cassidy.
Her next film role was in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), starring Ryan O’Neal, Shelley Long, and a young Drew Barrymore. Stone played a starlet who breaks up the marriage of a successful director and his screenwriter wife. In 1984, she appeared in a two-part episode of Magnum, P.I., titled “Echoes of the Mind”, where she played identical twins, one a love interest of Tom Selleck’s character. Through the remainder of the 1980s, she had roles in such films as King Solomon’s Mines (1985) and Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987), and played Steven Seagal’s wife in Above the Law (1988). In 1988, she played Janice Henry for the filming of the miniseries War and Remembrance.
On January 28, 2005, Stone helped solicit pledges for $1 million in five minutes for mosquito nets in Tanzania, turning a panel on African poverty into an impromptu fund-raiser at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Many observers, including UNICEF, criticized her actions by claiming that Stone had reacted instinctively to the words of Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, because she had not done her research on the causes, consequences and methods of preventing malaria.
Of the $1 million pledged, only $250,000 was actually raised. In order to fulfill the promise to send $1 million worth of bed nets to Tanzania, UNICEF contributed $750,000. This diverted funds from other UNICEF projects. According to prominent economist Xavier Sala-i-Martín, officials are largely unaware of what happened with the bed nets. Some were delivered to the local airport. These reportedly were stolen and later resurfaced as wedding dresses on the local black market.
Stone was criticized over her comments in an exchange on the red carpet with Hong Kong’s Cable Entertainment News during the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2008. When asked about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake she remarked:
Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I’m not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like that. And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that Karma? When you’re not nice then the bad things happen to you?
One of China’s biggest cinema chains reacted to Stone’s comments by declaring it would not show her films in its theaters. The founder of the UME Cineplex chain and the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, Ng See-Yuen, called Stone’s comments “inappropriate”, and said the UME Cineplex chain would no longer present her films. Christian Dior advertisements featuring Stone’s image were dropped from all ads in China amid the public uproar. Stone was removed from the 2008 Shanghai International Film Festival guest list, and the event’s organizers considered banning the actress permanently.
Dior China had originally posted an apology in Stone’s name, but Stone later denied making the apology during an interview with the New York Times, saying “I’m not going to apologize. I’m certainly not going to apologize for something that isn’t real and true – not for face creams,” although she did admit that she had “sounded like an idiot.” However, after the interview, Stone released a statement entitled “In my own words by Sharon Stone” in which she said “I could not be more regretful of that mistake. It was unintentional. I apologize. Those words were never meant to be hurtful to anyone.” While Stone cited the Dalai Lama as her “good friend” when she made the remark at the Cannes film festival, the Dalai Lama has reportedly distanced himself by saying of her only, “yes, I’ve met that lady”.
For many years, Stone maintained that she had an IQ of 154 and was a member of Mensa, but in April 2002, she admitted she had never been a member of that society.
In March 2006, Stone traveled to Israel to promote peace in the Middle East through a press conference with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres. In 2013, she referred to Peres as her “mentor”. On October 23, 2013, Stone received the Peace Summit Award for her work with HIV/AIDS sufferers.
In 2015 Stone was guest of honor at the Pilosio Building Peace Award in Milan. She began an impromptu auction on stage in front of a crowd of CEOs from the construction industry and other dignitaries. She gained enough pledges to build 28 schools in Africa.
She met television producer Michael Greenburg in 1984 on the set of The Vegas Strip War, a television film he produced and she starred in. They were married in 1984. In 1986, Greenburg was her line producer on Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. The couple separated three years later, and their divorce was finalized in 1990. In 1993, Stone met William J. MacDonald (aka Bill MacDonald) on the set of the film Sliver, which he co-produced. MacDonald left his wife Naomi Baca for Stone and became engaged to her. They separated one year later in 1994. While working on the film The Quick and the Dead in 1995, Stone met Bob Wagner (a first assistant director) and they became engaged. After they separated, Stone returned the engagement ring via FedEx.
On February 14, 1998, Stone married Phil Bronstein, executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner and later San Francisco Chronicle. They adopted a baby son, Roan Joseph Bronstein, in 2000. Bronstein filed for divorce in 2003, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce became final in 2004, with a judge ruling that Roan should remain primarily with Bronstein, with Stone receiving visitation rights.
Stone adopted her second son, Laird Vonne, in 2005, and her third son, Quinn Kelly Stone, in 2006.
In 2005, when asked during a television interview for her film Basic Instinct 2 about “life imitating art” (referring to her character’s bisexuality), Stone said, “Why not? Middle age is an open-minded period”. In 2011, Stone stated on Piers Morgan Tonight that she was never married to George Howe Englund, Jr., despite rumors to the contrary, particularly on the internet. She currently lives in West Hollywood, California and owns a ranch in New Zealand. Stone is a convert to Tibetan Buddhism. She believes in God and is religious by self-description.