LOS ANGELES – Oscar winner Charlize Theron (search)'s career came full circle Thursday when she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (search) only blocks from where she was first "discovered."
"I had big dreams when I came here, but this is an incredibly amazing gift ... two cherries on top of the cake," Theron told a cheering crowd at the star's unveiling.
Surrounded by family and friends from her native South Africa, Theron recounted how at 18 an agent found her in line at a bank on Hollywood Boulevard. Her mother, in attendance, had pushed the tall, beautiful star to move to Los Angeles to pursue film acting.
Initially a model, and then a ballerina, the 30-year-old danced for New York's Joffrey Ballet before rising through the ranks of Hollywood.
"She is a movie star in a classic sense. She is more dazzling than any blonde before her," said Niki Caro, director of Theron's upcoming movie "North County" (search).
Theron began her film career as James Spader's love interest in 1996's "2 Days in the Valley" before starring in such movies as "The Cider House Rules," "The Italian Job" and Woody Allen's "Celebrity."
But it was her frightening portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003's "Monster" (search) that cemented her status and earned her an Oscar and Golden Globe award. Theron gained weight and wore false teeth for the role.
In "North County," Theron plays an activist miner. She plays a black-haired assassin in the upcoming sci-fi thriller "Aeon Flux."
"I must admit just her presence here this morning gave my pacemaker a vigorous jump-start," said honorary Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant.