Sharon Vonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, film producer, and former fashion model. She achieved international recognition for her role in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. 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 in Casino.
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.
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 rest of the 1980s, she had roles in such B-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). Also in 1988, Stone took over the role of Janice Henry for the filming of the miniseries War and Remembrance.
Her appearance in Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Stone's career a boost. To coincide with the film's release, she posed nude for Playboy, showing off the muscles she developed in preparation for the film (she lifted weights and learned taekwondo). In 1999, she was rated among the 25 sexiest stars of the century by Playboy.
The role that made her a star was that of Catherine Tramell, a brilliant, bisexual, alleged serial killer, in Basic Instinct (1992). Several better known actresses of the time turned down the part, 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, revealing the fact she is not wearing any underwear. According to Stone, she agreed to film the flashing scene with no panties, 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."
She 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.