Named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in France in 2005, Stone's other notable film roles include Sliver (1993), The Specialist (1994), The Quick and the Dead (1995), If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), Catwoman (2004), Broken Flowers (2005), Alpha Dog (2006), Bobby (2006), Lovelace (2013), and Fading Gigolo (2013). Stone has made guest-appearances in The Practice (2004), winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, and in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2010). She starred in the short-lived series Agent X (2015).
Sharon Yvonne Stone was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Marie (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. She has some Irish ancestry. Stone was considered academically gifted as a child and entered the second grade when she was five years old.
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 City.
Stone later moved to Europe and while living there, she decided to quit modeling and pursue acting. "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. On December 4, 1982, she played a ditsy bimbo meter maid in the first season of the television series Silver Spoons. 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 "Echoes of the Mind", a two-part episode of Magnum, P.I., playing 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 (1986) 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.
In Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi action film Total Recall (1990), with Arnold Schwarzenegger, she played the role of Lori Quaid, the seemingly loving wife of Schwarzenegger's character, later revealed to be an agent sent by a corrupt and ruthless governor to monitor him. The film received favorable reviews and made US$$261.2 million worldwide, giving Stone's career a major boost. She appeared in five feature films the following year, through those were smaller-scale productions than that of Total Recall; she appeared alongside Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Perkins and Nathan Lane in the romantic comedy He Said, She Said, and starred in the psychological thriller Scissors, as a sexually repressed woman who becomes trapped in a mysterious apartment. She starred opposite Forest Whitaker in the dramatic thriller Diary of a Hitman, screened at the Deauville Film Festival in September. and next, played a sexually provocative young photojournalist in the little-seen Year of the Gun (1991). She also obtained the role of a literary agent and former lover of a mystery writer in the thriller Where Sleeping Dogs Lie.
In another Verhoeven film—the erotic thriller Basic Instinct (1992)— she took on the role that made her a star, playing Catherine Tramell, a brilliant, bisexual, alleged serial killer. Several actresses at the time turned down the role, mostly because of the nudity required. In the film's most notorious scene, Tramell is being questioned by the police, and she crosses and uncrosses her legs, exposing her vulva, which is not covered by underwear. According to Stone, she agreed to film the flashing scene with no underwear, and although she and Verhoeven had discussed the scene from the beginning of production, she was unaware just how explicit the infamous shot would be: "I knew that we were going to do this leg-crossing thing and I knew that we were going to allude to the concept that I was nude, but I did not think that you would see my vagina in the scene. Later, when I saw it in the screening I was shocked. I think seeing it in a room full of strangers was so disrespectful and so shocking, so I went into the booth and slapped him and left". Stone claimed in an earlier interview, however, that "it was so fun" watching the film for the first time with strangers. Verhoeven has denied all claims of trickery and said, "As much as I love her, I hate her, too, especially after the lies she told the press about the shot between her legs, which was a straight lie". Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who later befriended the actress, also claimed in his memoir, Hollywood Animal, that the actress was fully aware of the level of nudity involved.
Critical response towards Basic Instint was mixed, but Stone received critical acclaim for her "star-making performance"; Peter Travers of Rolling Stone remarked that "[Verhoeven's] cinematic wet dream delivers the goods, especially when Sharon Stone struts on with enough come-on carnality to singe the screen," and observed of the actress' portrayal: "Stone, a former model, is a knockout; she even got a rise out of Ah-nold in Verhoeven's Total Recall. But being the bright spot in too many dull movies (He Said, She Said; Irreconcilable Differences) stalled her career. Though Basic Instinct establishes Stone as a bombshell for the [1990s], it also shows she can nail a laugh or shade an emotion with equal aplomb." Australian critic Shannon J. Harvey of the Sunday Times called the film one of the "1990s['] finest productions, doing more for female empowerment than any feminist rally. Stone – in her star-making performance – is as hot and sexy as she is ice-pick cold." For the part, Stone earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and as well as four MTV Movie Awards nominations. The film also became one of the most financially successful productions of the 1990s, grossing US$352.9 million worldwide.
She headlined the 1993 erotic thriller Sliver, based on the Ira Levin novel of the same name about the mysterious occurrences in a privately owned New York City high-rise apartment building. The film was heavily panned by critics and earned Stone a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress, but became a commercial success, grossing US$116.3 million at the international box office. She made a cameo appearance in the action film Last Action Hero (1993), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1994, she starred opposite Richard Gere and Lolita Davidovich in the drama Intersection, directed by Mark Rydell. The film, a remake of the French film Les choses de la vie (1970) by Claude Sautet, concerns an architect (played by Gere) who as his car hurtles into a collision at an intersection, flashes through key moments in his life, including his marriage to a beautiful but chilly heiress (Stone) and his subsequent affair with a travel writer (Davidovich). Intersection received negative reviews and flopped at the box office.
She starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in the action thriller The Specialist (1994), portraying May Munro, a woman who entices a bomb expert she is involved with (Stallone) into destroying the mafia that killed her family. Despite negative reviews, the film made US$170.3 million worldwide. For her work in both Intersection and The Specialist, Stone won a Golden Raspberry Award and a Stinkers Bad Movie Award for Worst Actress, but was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Female for The Specialist. In the western The Quick and the Dead (1995), she obtained the role of a gunfighter who returns to a frontier town in an effort to avenge her father's death. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and performed modestly at the box office upon its North American and European premiere. Stone received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress.
Stone starred opposite Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's epic crime drama Casino (1995), where she took on the role of Ginger McKenna, the scheming, self-absorbed wife of a top gambling handicapper (De Niro). The film, based on the non-fiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi, received widespread critical acclaim and made US$116.1 million globally. Like the film, Stone's performance was unanimously praised, earning her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. During an interview with The Observer originally ran in on January 28, 1996, Stone said of the response: "Thank God. I mean just finally, wow [...] I am not getting any younger. It couldn't have happened at a better time". Also in 1995, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd, and was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award.
In 1996, Stone starred in the psychological thriller Diabolique, as the mistress of a cruel school master collaborating with his wife in an attempt to murder him. Subsequently, in the same year, she appeared as a woman waiting on death row for a brutal double murder she committed in her teens in the little-seen drama Last Dance. Both films received lukewarm reviews, and earned Stone a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star (as the new serious Sharon Stone).
In 1998, Stone starred with Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson in the science fiction psychological thriller Sphere, directed and produced by Barry Levinson. The film was released in the United States on February 13, 1998, and made a lackluster US$50.1 million in its international theatrical run. She next voiced the role of Princess Bala, daughter of the Queen of a community of ants, in the animated adventure comedy Antz, co-starring Woody Allen, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone and Gene Hackman. The film topped the box office in its opening weekend and went on to gross US$171.8 million around the globe. Her last film release in the year was the drama The Mighty, where she played the mother of a 13-year-old boy suffering from Morquio syndrome. The film garnared a positive critical response upon its premiere in selected theaters, and Stone was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
Stone obtained the titular role of a street-wise, middle-aged moll in Gloria (1999), a remake of the 1980 film of the same name written and directed by John Cassavetes. The updated version received negative reviews and Stone earned a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress. Gloria also flopped at the box office, grossing US$$4.1 million at the North American box office despite its US$30 million budget. Another titular role followed in the year with the comedy The Muse, co-starring Albert Brooks and Andie MacDowell. The film was met with a mixed critical reception, and Helmut Voss, then president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who give the annual Golden Globe Awards, ordered all 82 of its members to return gift luxury watches sent by either Stone or October Films (now merged into Focus Features) as this was considered promotions for a nomination for Stone's performance in the film. She ultimately received the nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
In 2000, Stone starred opposite Ellen DeGeneres in the made-for-HBO drama If These Walls Could Talk 2, portraying a lesbian trying to start a family. For her role, she was again recognized by Women in Film, this time with the Lucy Award. She next played an exotic dancer alongside Billy Connolly in the little-seen comedy Beautiful Jo (also 2000). Following her hospitalization on September 29, 2001, for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, she took a hiatus from screen acting, returning to the screen in 2003; in the year, she portrayed Sheila Carlisle, an attorney who believes she can communicate with God, in three episodes from the eighth season of The Practice. For her performance, she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Also in 2003, she appeared in a James Woods-directed American Stroke Association television commercial to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke. This commercial was also shown in Canada courtesy of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
In the early 2000s, Stone attempted a return to the mainstream with roles in the films Cold Creek Manor (2003), with Dennis Quaid, and Catwoman (2004), with Halle Berry. In the mystery psychological thriller Cold Creek Manor, she and Quaid played a family terrorized by the former owner of the rural estate they bought in foreclosure. Variety magazine remarked in its review for the film that both actors "fish in vain to find any angles to play in their dimension-free characters". The superhero film Catwoman saw her play the age-obsessed CEO of a cosmetic company and the story's antagonist. While both films were box office flops, Catwoman is considered by many critics to be one of the worst movies of all time.
Her next film release was the dramedy Broken Flowers (2005), directed by Jim Jarmusch and co-starring Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy. In the film about an aging "Don Juan" (Murray) tracking down his former lovers after finding out he has a son, Stone took on the role of Laura, a grasping and overly eager closet organizer who re-connects with him. Broken Flowers premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and received a theatrical run in arthouse cinemas, garnering a widely positive reception. New York Magazine remarked: "Sharon Stone, playing a widow who's half-hippie, half-working-class-tough, demonstrates that, given the right part, she’s still not merely sexy but knockabout funny and sly". In 2005, she was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.
After years of litigation, Basic Instinct 2 was released on March 31, 2006. A reason for a long delay in releasing the film was reportedly Stone's dispute with the filmmakers over the nudity in the film; she wanted more while they wanted less. A group sex scene was cut in order to achieve an R rating from the MPAA for the North American release; the controversial scene remained in the UK version of the London-based film. Stone told an interviewer, "We are in a time of odd repression and if a popcorn movie allows us to create a platform for discussion, wouldn't that be great?". Despite an estimated budget of US$70 million, it placed only 10th in gross on its opening weekend with a meager US$3.2 million and was subsequently declared a flop. It ultimately ran in theaters for only 17 days and finished with a total domestic gross of under US$6 million.
Stone appeared in Nick Cassavetes's crime drama Alpha Dog (2006), opposite Bruce Willis, playing Olivia Mazursky, the mother of a real-life murder victim; she wore a fatsuit for the role. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was an arthouse succcess. She made part of an ensemble cast in Emilio Estevez's drama Bobby (2006), about the hours leading up to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Stone received favorable comments for her performance, particularly a scene alongside Lindsay Lohan. As a member of the cast, she was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture, but won the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast. In December 2006, Stone co-hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with Anjelica Huston. The concert was in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus for his social contribution in Bangladesh through Grameen Bank. Also in 2006, she appeared in the last episode of the Turkish TV series Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves) along with Andy Garcia.
Stone took on the role of a clinically depressed woman in the independent drama When a Man Falls in the Forest (2007), premiered in competition at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival where it was nominated for the Golden Bear. She found her part "challenging" to play, remarking: "It was a watershed experience. I think that we live in a [...] Prozac society where we're always told we're supposed to have this kind of equilibrium of emotion. We have all these assignments about how we're supposed to feel about something." Her next film roles have been in independent productions, including the late 2000s films If I Had Known I Was a Genius (2007), The Year of Getting to Know Us (2008), Five Dollars a Day (2009) and Streets of Blood (2009), all of which went directly-to-DVD in North America.
In April 2010, Stone made guest-appearances in four episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, portraying Jo Marlowe, a former cop turned prosecutor. Entertainment Weekly included in a review on the 29th of that April such descriptions of her performance as a "great presence", and having "had to revive her best [...] tone to sell hokey lines" in a series it described as "mawkish and overwrought." She took on the leading female role in the French action sequel Largo Winch II as an United Nations investigator named Diane Francken. Her first theatrical-released production since 2007, the film premiered on February 16, 2011 in France, where it opened in second place at the box office. She next starred in the thriller Border Run (2012), portraying Sofie Talbert, a hard-hitting journalist against illegal immigration to the United States. The film received a directly-to-DVD release.
In the biographical drama Lovelace (2013), Stone obtained the role of the mother of porn actress Linda Lovelace (played by Amanda Seyfried). The film, covering Lovelace's life from age 20 to 32, had its world premiere at Sundance and opened in North American selected theaters. She played a dermatologist seeking a ménage à trois in the Woody Allen–John Turturro comedy Fading Gigolo, which received a limited theatrical run in April 2014 following its premiere at the 38th annual Toronto International Film Festival. The film was an arthouse success and garnered positive reviews from critics; Glenn Kenny found Stone to be "splendidly understated" in what he described as "a New York story through and through [...] often funny, sometimes moving, occasionally goofy as hell".
Stone starred as an actress-turned-publisher opposite Riccardo Scamarcio in the Italian dramedy A Golden Boy (Un ragazzo d’oro), directed by Pupi Avati. The film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival and was released in Italian cinemas on September 18, 2014. The Hollywood Reporter expressed in its review for the production that a "bright, shining" Stone "doesn't have to reach far to play an intellectual femme fatale, and her sunny blonde exudes as much seductive cool as any dark lady", while pointing out her part "strikes an odd note in [Avati]’s dark Oedipal drama about a mentally ill ad writer". Also in 2014, Stone headlined the action drama series Agent X, which aired only for one season on the TNT channel. Her role was Natalie Maccabee, America's first female Vice President who takes the office after the death of her Senator husband.
She starred as an adoptive mother in the independent drama Mothers and Daughters, as part of an ensemble cast, consisting of Susan Sarandon, Selma Blair, Mira Sorvino and Courteney Cox. The film was released on May 6, 2016 for digital markets and received largely mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter found the "talented actresses" involved to be "hamstrung" by the film's "unsubtle script that piles on far too many melodramatic plot contrivances for a 90-minute [production]". Also in 2016, she played a "lineman widow" and the "alcoholic mom" of a crew member of high-wire workers hit by a deadly storm in the action film Life on the Line, co-starring John Travolta, Kate Bosworth, Devon Sawa and Gil Bellows. The film was released for VOD and selected theaters.
Stone next appeared in the independent drama Running Wild (2017), portraying a billionaire using her massive wealth and power to turn the town against a widow who is trying to protect horses in her ranch. Like Mothers and Daughters and Life on the Line, the film received a VOD release, and is available at Walmart, Amazon and Netflix. She made part of an ensemble cast in the biographical comedy The Disaster Artist (2017), directed, produced by, and starring James Franco. The film, chronicling the making of the cult film The Room (2003), saw Stone play the role of Iris Burton, the agent of line producer and actor Greg Sestero. It had its premiere at the South by Southwest, to what review aggregator Metacritic indicated as "universal acclaim".
For her leading roles in erotic and adult-themed feature films such as Basic Instinct, Sliver and The Specialist, she created a "tough-talking, no-underwear, voyeuristic, cool-as-ice, sex symbol" status during most of the 1990s. Stone has appeared in the covers and photo session of over 300 celebrity and fashion magazines throughout her four-decade acting career; in 1986, she graced the June–July cover of French Vogue, and to coincide with the release of Total Recall, she posed nude for Playboy, showing off the muscles she developed in preparation for the film. Following Basic Instinct, photographer George Hurrell took a series of photographs of Stone, Sherilyn Fenn, Julian Sands, Raquel Welch, Eric Roberts, and Sean Penn. Stone, who was Hurrell's reportedly last sitting before his death in 1992, is also a collector of the photographer's original prints and wrote the foreword to the book Hurrell’s Hollywood.
In 1992, she was listed by People as one of the "50 most beautiful people in the world". In 1995, Empire chose her as one of the "100 sexiest stars in film history", and in October 1997, she was ranked among the "top 100 film stars of all time" by the magazine. In 1999, she was rated among the "25 sexiest stars of the century" by Playboy. She has been the subject of four television documentary specials, and several biograhies have been written about her. On her sex symbol image, Stone told Oprah Winfrey on Oprah Prime in 2014: "It's a pleasure for me now. I mean, I'm gonna be 56 years old. If people want to think I'm a sex symbol, it's, like, yeah. Think it up. You know. I mean, like, good for me". In 2015, Stone posed naked for the September issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine, in which she stated: "At a certain point you start asking yourself, 'What really is sexy?' It’s not just the elevation of your boobs. It’s being present and having fun and liking yourself enough to like the person that's with you".
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".
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. 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.
Stone adopted her second son, Laird Vonne, in 2005, and her third son, Quinn Kelly Stone, in 2006.
Stone was hospitalized on September 29, 2001, for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which was diagnosed as a vertebral artery dissection rather than the more common ruptured aneurysm, and treated with an endovascular coil embolization.
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.
In a career spanning over three decades, Stone has had over one hundred acting credits in film and on television. She has won 10 awards from 41 nominations, including one Emmy Award (for The Practice), one Golden Globe Award (for Casino), and two MTV Movie Awards (for Basic Instinct). Her top-billing roles and most notable films as of 2017 include: