Berry's parents selected her middle name from Halle's Department Store, which was then a local landmark.
When she was five years old, her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry.
Although she is generally considered African American, she is biracial, with a white English-born mother, Judith Ann Hawkins, a psychiatric-ward nurse and an African American father, Jerome Berry who was an attendant in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked. Halle's parents divorced when she was four years old. She and her older sister Heidi were raised exclusively by their mother.
Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood. Back in 1992, she said, "I haven't heard from him since [he left]. Maybe he's not alive."
The store after which Halle was named is now a defunct department store chain. During most of its 91-year history, Halle's Department Store focused on high-end merchandise with personal service. Halle Brothers Company was the first major department store in Cleveland to open a suburban branch store.
The store was in operation from 1891 until 1982.
Actress Halle Berry is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, earning $10 million per film. She has been involved in the production side of several of the films she has performed in.
Berry won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002 for her performance in "Monster's Ball." She has been the only woman of African-American descent to win an Oscar for a leading role.