Diaz, Cameron: 1972—: Model, Actress
Cameron Diaz: 1972—: Model, actress
"She has an energy, an electricity in her face—a sparkle that is unmistakable," photographer Jeff Dunas is quoted as having said in People Weekly about model-turned-actress Cameron Diaz. Diaz is an interesting combination of naiveté and geek—she actually won a belching trophy from Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards—mixed with sophistication and beauty. In 1995 she was chosen as one of Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in film history, and in 1998 she was chosen as one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people in the world.
Diaz was born August 30, 1972 in Long Beach, California to a Cuban-American father Emilio, and an Anglo-German mother. She graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in 1990. She did not originally intend to model or act, but instead intended to study zoology. She met an agent at a party and soon she started down the road to stardom. An adventurous and independent woman, Diaz left home at 16 to live and model around the world in such places as Japan, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, and Paris. She was a responsible young woman, but the allurements open to young women away from home were very strong, and while she was in Australia she almost died from alcohol poisoning.
For about a year after that Diaz went through a rocky time full of rejections and hard work and she finally returned to California when she was 21. While on a shoot for L.A. Gear she met video producer Carlos de la Torre. The two moved in together and their relationship lasted for five years. While in Los Angeles Diaz continued working as a model until she was offered the role of Tina Carlyle in 1994's The Mask. She auditioned for a small, three-line role, and was stunned to be offered the female lead opposite Jim Carrey. In 1994 Diaz was also seen in a commercial for Salon Selectives.
After The Mask, the world of acting opened for Diaz. She was next seen in such movies as The Last Supper, (1995,) She's the One, (1996,) Feeling Minnesota, (1996,) Head Above Water, (1996,) and Keys to Tulsa, (1997,) none of which attracted much attention. It was in 1997's My Best Friend's Wedding, that Diaz came more prominently into the public eye. Diaz was lauded by critics for her sweet, impetuous performance. Entertainment Weekly wrote, "[Diaz's] hilariously humiliating karaoke scene revealed: (1) her voice was not as pretty as her face, and (2) this was one blond who had more funny than anyone had previously suspected."
At a Glance . . .
Born August 30, 1972 in Long Island, California; daughter of Emilio and Billie Diaz. Education: Attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School; studied acting with John Kirby.
Career: Model, 1988-94. Actress, 1994-.
Awards: Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Favorite Supporting Actress-Comedy for My Best Friend's Wedding, 1998; American Comedy Award, Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) for There's Something About Mary, 1999; nominated Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy/Musical for There's Something About Mary, 1999; MTV Movie Award, Best Female Performance for There's Something About Mary, 1999; NYFCC Award, Best Actress for There's Something About Mary, 1999; ShoWest Award, Female Star of Tomorrow, 1999; ALMA Award, Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film for Any Given Sunday, 2000; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Favorite Actress Drama for Any Given Sunday, 2000; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Favorite Actress Comedy for There's Something About Mary, 2000; nominated Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Being John Malkovich, 2000; Block-buster Entertainment Award, Favorite Action Team (Internet Only) for Charlie's Angels, 2001; BSFC Award, Best Supporting Actress for Vanilla Sky, 2001; CFCA Award, Best Supporting Actress for Vanilla Sky, 2002; nominated Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Vanilla Sky, 2002; nominated Screen Actor's Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Vanilla Sky, 2002.
Address: Agent— Artists Management Group, 9465 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 519, Beverly Hill, CA 90212 (310) 271-9818.
With her ability at comedy proven, Diaz next took the part of Mary in 1998's There's Something About Mary. The New Statesman said of Cameron's character, "Everybody, whatever their role in the plot, is a fool rather than a knave—except for Mary. The California blonde Cameron Diaz portrays her as so drop-dead gorgeous, the only surprise is that the entire male population are not pursuing her." However, according to People Weekly, it wasn't her beauty that made Diaz so good in There's Something About Mary, but "It's what's beneath that beauty—sporty confidence, absence of attitude, and madcap point of view—that has made Cameron Diaz … Hollywood's sexiest, silliest sweetheart." Also in 1998 Diaz was seen alongside Christian Slater and Jeremy Piven in Very Bad Things. In an interview with People Weekly Diaz stated that her growing popularity has changed her: "It has toughened me up. I used to be such a nice girl. Now, I'm all calloused and bruised."
In 1999 Diaz was seen in Being John Malkovich as a frizzy-haired, sweet pet shop worker whose life was enhanced when she discovered a portal that allowed her to live through the eyes of John Malkovich. Diaz was quoted on the Internet Movie Database as having said of the film, "It's been said that in Hollywood there are only 14 different scripts. Well, this is number 15." It was an odd film, but according to the Advocate, "Thanks in no small way to Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener, the wildly inventive Being John Malkovich is a sexy, gender-bending trip." The Variety said of Diaz's performance, "While it takes time to recover from the shock of seeing Diaz so dismally plain, with shapeless outfits and a bad perm, the actress again demonstrates her verve and razor-sharp comic skills as she falls for Maxine, is thwarted by her husband, and responds with fierce determination to secure happiness at any price."
Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, (2000,) was Diaz's next film. The film is a collection of five vignettes that are linked by characters and not by story. Also in 2000 Diaz was seen in the TV-to-film remake, Charlie's Angels. According to Variety, "Of the three women, Diaz is indisputably the dazzler; with her long limbs, beach-blond hair, lagoon-blue eyes, mile-wide smile, and shimmying booty, she all but pops off the screen as if in 3-D, and rarely has a performer conveyed the impression of being so happy to be in a particular movie." And Entertainment Weekly said that the film makes "beating the unholy crap out of bad guys as adorable as it is exciting."
Diaz's next project was the 2001 animated film Shrek. The film, different from anything Diaz had done before, was an unlikely fairytale that was praised by critics and audiences alike. Besides garnering many rave reviews from critics, Diaz was honored by the Girl Scouts for her portrayal of Princess Fiona. According to PR Newswire, "Princess Fiona's example of the meaning of true beauty was hailed by Girl Scouts, who inspired by the film, created a program tie-in to two activity patches for their membership." Diaz's next selection of projects was as far from the comical Shrek as possible—her next film was Vanilla Sky, (2001,) a mystery starring Diaz, Tom Cruise, and Penelope Cruz. According to The Roanoke Times, "Cameron Diaz gives one of her better performances."
The spunky actress returned to her comedic flair with the 2002 film, The Sweetest Thing, co-starring Christina Applegate, Thomas Jane, Selma Blair, and Parker Posey. She is set to appear in Gangs of New York, a film set in the 1800s in which she plays a prostitute opposite Leonardo di Caprio and Daniel Day-Lewis. She has also signed on to recreate her parts in both Charlie's Angels 2 and Shrek 2. Throughout her acting career, she has been nominated for and won many awards, including ALMA Awards, AFI Film Awards, Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, Golden Globes, MTV Movie Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The Mask, 1994.
The Last Supper, 1995.
She's the One, 1996.
Feeling Minnesota, 1996.
Head Above Water, 1996.
Keys to Tulsa, 1997.
My Best Friend's Wedding, 1997.
There's Something About Mary, 1998.
Very Bad Things, 1998.
Being John Malkovich, 1999.
Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, 2000.
Charlie's Angels, 2000.
Vanilla Sky, 2001.
The Sweetest Thing, 2002.
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 28, Gale Group, 2000.
Notable Hispanic American Women, Book 2, Gale Research, 1998.
Advocate, November 9, 1999.
Boston Herald, November 2, 2001, p. 21.
The Christian Science Monitor, December 14, 2001, p. 15.
Entertainment Weekly, October 31, 1997,p. 12; December 12, 1997, p. 50; December 26, 1997, p. 72; June 26, 1998, p. 24; November 10, 2000; March 30, 2001, p. 50.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 20, 2002, p. 04.
Newsmakers 1999, Issue 1, Gale Group, 1999.
New Statesman, September 25, 1998, p. 65; July 2, 2001, p. 47.
People Weekly, May 11, 1998, p. 167; October 12, 1998, p. 176; December 28, 1998, p. 52.
PR Newswire, December 15, 2001.
The Roanoke Times (VA) , December 15, 2001, p. 1.
Teen Magazine, June, 1997, p. 54; December, 2001, p. 128.
Time, November 16, 1998, p. 133.
Variety, September 6, 1999, p. 61; January 24, 2000, p. 57; October 30, 2000, p. 21; December 10, 2001, p. 32.
—Catherine Victoria Donaldson
Diaz, Cameron 1972–
DIAZ, Cameron 1972–
Full name, Cameron Michelle Diaz; born August 30, 1972, in Long Beach (some sources say San Diego), CA; daughter of Emilio (an oil company foreman) and Billie (an import–export agent) Diaz. Education: Attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School; studied acting with John Kirby.
Addresses: Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Artists Management Group, 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 519, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager—The Firm, 1999 Century Park East, 18th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Publicist—Bragman/Nyman/Cafarelli, 9171 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Contact—Weschler & Associates, 955 South Carrillo Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Career: Actress and producer. Worked as a model, 1989–c. 1994; appeared in television commercials for Salon Selectives, 1994, and www.actgreen.com, 2003.
Awards, Honors: MTV Movie Award nominations, best dance sequence (with Jim Carrey), best breakthrough performance, and most desirable female, 1994, and named female star of tomorrow, National Theatre Owners Association, 1996, all for The Mask; ShoWest Award, female star of tomorrow, ShoWest Convention, 1996; Golden Satellite Award nomination, best supporting actress in a comedy or musical motion picture, Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite supporting actress in a comedy, 1997, ALMA Award, outstanding individual performance in a crossover role in a feature film, 1998, all for My Best Friend's Wedding; MTV Movie Award nomination (with Ewan McGregor), best dance sequence, 1997, for A Life Less Ordinary; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a comedy or musical motion picture, American Comedy Award, funniest lead actress in a motion picture, ALMA Award, outstanding actress in a feature film in a crossover role, New York Film Critics Circle Award, best actress, Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actress in a comedy, MTV Movie Award, best female performance, and MTV Movie Award nominations, best comedic performance, best kiss (with Ben Stiller), and best onscreen duo (with Stiller), 1998, all for There's Something about Mary; selected one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world, People Weekly, 1998; Golden Globe Award nomination, best supporting actress in a motion picture, 1999, Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, outstanding performance by a cast in a theatrical motion picture (with others), and outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best supporting actress, Sierra Award nomination, best supporting actress, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role, comedy or musical, Film Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, American Comedy Award nomination, funniest supporting actress in a motion picture, 2000, all for Being John Malkovich; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actress—drama, ALMA Award, outstanding actress in a feature film, 2000, both for Any Given Sunday; Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture, comedy or musical, MTV Movie Award nomination, best line from a movie, MTV Movie Awards, best dance sequence and best on–screen team (with others), Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite action team (with others), Saturn Award nomination, best supporting actress, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, 2001, all for Charlie's Angels; Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best supporting actress, 2001, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, best supporting actress, Saturn Award nomination, best supporting actress, ALMA Award nomination, outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture, AFI Film Award nomination, AFI Featured Actor of the Year—Female—Movies, 2002, all for Vanilla Sky; MTV Movie Award nomination (with others), best on–screen team, Blimp Award nomination, favorite voice from an animated movie, 2002, both for Shrek; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture, Teen Choice Award nomination (with Leonardo DiCaprio), choice movie liplock, MTV Movie Award nomination (with DiCaprio), best kiss, 2003, for Gangs of New York; MTV Movie Award nominations, best look and best dance sequence (with others), 2004, for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.
Tina Carlyle, The Mask, New Line Cinema, 1994.
Freddie, Feeling Minnesota, Fine Line, 1996.
Heather Davis, She's the One, Fox Searchlight, 1996.
Jude, The Last Supper, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1996.
Nathalie, Head above Water, Fine Line, 1996.
Trudy, Keys to Tulsa, Gramercy, 1997.
Kimberly "Kimmy" Wallace, My Best Friend's Wedding, TriStar, 1997.
Celine Naville, A Life Less Ordinary, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1997.
Blonde television reporter, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Rhino Films, 1998.
Mary Jensen Matthews (title role), There's Something about Mary (also known as There's Something More about Mary), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1998.
Laura Garrety, Very Bad Things, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1998.
Lotte Schwartz, Being John Malkovich, USA Films, 1999.
Random celebrity, Man Woman Film, Canis Lupus Entertainment, 1999.
Christina Pagniacci, Any Given Sunday, Warner Bros., 1999.
Carol, "Love Waits for Kathy," Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, United Artists, 2000.
Natalie Cook, Charlie's Angels (also known as 3 Engel fuer Charlie), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2000.
Herself, Welcome to Hollywood (documentary), PM Entertainment Group, 2000.
Herself, The Master and the Angels (documentary short film), Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2000.
Herself, Getting G'd Up (documentary short film), Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2000.
Faith O'Connor, The Invisible Circus, Fine Line, 2001.
Voice of Princess Fiona, Shrek (animated), Dream-Works, 2001.
Julie Gianni, Vanilla Sky, Paramount, 2001.
Voice of Princess Fiona, Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party, DreamWorks, 2001.
Christina Walters, The Sweetest Thing, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2002.
(Uncredited) Woman on metro, Minority Report, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2002.
Jenny Everdeane, Gangs of New York, Miramax, 2002.
Herself, Slackers (also known as Les complices), Screen Gems, 2002.
Herself, The Making of "The Sweetest Thing" (documentary; also known as Politically Erect), Columbia, 2002.
Voice of Princess Fiona, Shrek 4–D (also known as Shrek 3–D), DreamWorks, 2003.
Natalie Cook, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2003.
Voice of Princess Fiona, Shrek 2 (animated), Dream-Works, 2004.
Herself, In Search of Ted Demme (documentary), IFC Films, 2004.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Herself, I Love the '70s (documentary), VH1, 2003.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
The 1995 NCLR Bravo Awards (also known as National Council of La Raza Bravo Awards), Fox, 1995.
Presenter, The 1995 MTV Movie Awards (also known as The 4th Annual MTV Movie Awards), MTV, 1995.
The 1996 ShoWest Awards, TNT, 1996.
Presenter, The 1997 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 1997.
Presenter, The 1998 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 1998.
ALMA Awards, 1998.
Presenter, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.
The 1999 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 1999.
Herself, The 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.
Presenter, The 72nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 2000.
Presenter, The 2000 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2000.
Nickelodeon's 14th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, 2001.
The 7th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2001.
The 2001 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2001.
Presenter, The 74th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2002.
Presenter, The 59th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2002.
Presenter, The 75th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2003.
Herself, The 2003 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2003.
Nickelodeon's 16th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, 2003.
Nickelodeon's 17th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, 2004.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Herself, The Bad Boys of Saturday Night Live (also known as Saturday Night Live: Bad Boys), 1998.
Herself, Reel Comedy: Something about Mary (also known as Reel Comedy: There's Something about Mary), 1998.
Herself, Full Contact: The Making of "Any Given Sunday" (documentary), 1999.
Tony Bennett: An All–Star Tribute—Live by Request, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.
Herself, AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, CBS, 2000.
(In archive footage) Herself, Headliners & Legends: Cameron Diaz, 2001.
Herself, Creating A Fairy Tale World: The Making of "Shrek" (documentary), 2001.
Herself, America: A Tribute to Heroes, 2001.
Herself, Reel Comedy: The Sweetest Thing, Comedy Central, 2002.
(In archive footage) Herself, MTV Europe Music Awards, MTV, 2003.
The Stars' First Time ... On Entertainment Tonight with Mary Hart, CBS, 2003.
Charlie's Angels Uncensored, MTV, 2003.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
Herself, Why Blitt?, Fox, 2003.
Herself, Trippin', MTV, 2004.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Herself, "Surprise!," Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cartoon Network, 1994.
Guest, Late Show with David Letterman, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2002.
Herself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, 1997.
Herself, Lo mas plus, 1997.
Host, Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1998, 2002.
The Entertainment Business, Bravo, 1998.
Herself, Mad TV, Fox, 2000.
Herself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.
Herself, Total Request Live, MTV, 2002.
Herself, "Cannes Festival 2002," Leute heute, 2002.
Herself, RI:SE, 2002.
Herself, Leute heute, 2002.
Herself, "Charlie's Angels," Player$, 2003.
Herself, Holiday, 2003.
Herself, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 2003.
Herself, Otro rollo con: Adal Ramones, 2003.
(In archive footage) Herself, Celebrities Uncensored, E! Entertainment Television, 2003, 2004.
Herself, Tinseltown TV, 2003.
Herself, Matthew's Best Hit TV, 2004.
Herself, The Oprah Winfrey Show, syndicated, 2004.
Herself, This Morning, ITV, 2004.
Herself, Smap x Smap, 2004.
Herself/Fiona, "Shrek," VH1 Goes Inside, VH1, 2004.
Television Work; Pilots:
Executive producer, Trippin', MTV, 2004.
Appeared in REM's "The Great Beyond."
Contemporary Hispanic Biography, Volume 1, Gale Group, 2002.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th ed., St. James Press, 2000.
Newsmakers 1999, Issue 1, Gale Group, 1999.
Cosmopolitan, November, 1997, p. 217.
Entertainment Weekly, June 26, 1998, p. 24.
Interview, August, 1994, p. 74.
People Weekly, August 22, 1994, pp. 51–52; May 11, 1998, p. 167; December 28, 1998, p. 52.
Premiere, August, 1994, pp. 58–59.
Rolling Stone, August 22, 1996, p. 50.
Teen, June, 1997, p. 54.
Time, November 16, 1998, p. 133.
Nationality: American. Born: San Diego, California, 30 August 1972. Education: Long Beach Polytechnic High School, San Diego; studied acting with John Kirby. Career: Began modeling professionally, 1988; first film role in The Mask, 1993. Awards: ShoWest Award, Female Star of Tomorrow, 1996; New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, and American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress, for There's Something About Mary, 1999. Agent: Addis-Weschler and Associates, 955 South Carrillo Drive, Suite 300, Los Angeles, California, 90048.
Films as Actor:
The Mask (Russell) (as Tina Carlyl)
The Last Supper (Title) (as Jude)
She's the One (Burns) (as Heather); Feeling Minnesota (Baigleman) (as Freddie); Head Above Water (Wilson) (as Nathalie)
Keys to Tulsa (Greif) (as Trudy); My Best Friend's Wedding (Hogan) (as Kimmy Wallace); A Life Less Ordinary (Boyle) (as Celine)
There's Something About Mary (Bobby and Peter Farrelly) (as Mary Jensen Mathews); Very Bad Things (Berg) (as Laura Garrety); Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Gilliam) (as the blonde TV reporter)
Being John Malkovich (Jonze) (as Lotte Schwartz); Any Given Sunday (Stone) (as Christina Pagniacci); Things You Can Tell By Looking at Her (Garcia) (as Carol); Man Woman Film (Pearson) (as Random Celebrity)
Charlie's Angels (McG) (as Natalie); Invisible Circus (Brooks) (as Faith O'Connor); Things You Can Tell by Just Looking at Her (García) (as Carol);
By DIAZ: articles—
Grobel, L., "Candid Cameron," interview in Movieline (Escondido), March 1997.
"Cameron-ready," interview with Robert Sullivan in Vogue, October 1997.
Charity, Tom, "Fame? They Can Keep It," interview in Time Out (London), no. 1415, 1 October 1997.
On DIAZ: articles—
Richardson, J.H., "Yearning for Keanu," in Premiere (Boulder), March 1996.
Elia, M., "Cameron Diaz," in Sequences (Montreal), no. 184, May/June 1996.
Hofler, Robert, "The Year of Living Famously: Cameron Diaz, Hollywood's Up-and-coming Big Star," in Premiere (Boulder) December 1998.
Peretz, Evgenia, "Frat-house Goddess," in Vanity Fair, Jan. 2000.
* * *
Cameron Diaz is that type of actor eagerly sought by innovative directors—a natural. Discovered by a modeling agency photographer at a party, she began an international modeling career when she was only sixteen, and fell into acting with no experience outside of high school drama classes.
Her first film role, like her modeling career, was a combination of serendipity, good looks, and her own sometimes painfully difficult work. Her modeling agent suggested she audition for a bit part in Chuck Russell's upcoming fantasy-adventure blockbuster The Mask, as an adventure. Diaz caught the director's eye, however, and she found herself cast in the lead, where she made the most of the femme fatale role of Tina, the sultry nightclub singer with the heart of gold who ends up with the hero. Though Diaz's nervousness about acting left her with an ulcer, critics singled her out for the depth of her savvy portrayal of Tina, who might have been just another comic book character in the comic book film.
Diaz surprised studios, fans, and critics when she did not follow up her success in The Mask by seeking work in other big studio blockbuster films. Instead, she chose to step back from the fast track to fame. She refused several offers of big budget movies and spent several years working in small independent films. Many of these films were dark and quirky, like The Last Supper, about liberals who decide to rid the world of right wing extremists by inviting them to dinner one by one and poisoning them.
Diaz got mixed reviews for her roles in these films. Some critics found it hard not to typecast her as the model-turned-actress bimbo, while others found her subtle and engaging, even pointing her out as the best performer in films like She's the One that they otherwise hated. Stacy Title, director of The Last Supper, said that Diaz has the "old movie-star glamour of Rita Hayworth and the incredible timing and great physical comedy of Lucille Ball."
It is this gift for comedy that helped create one of the biggest sleeper hits of the 1990s. There's Something About Mary filled movie houses and set staid reviewers from journals as diverse as The New Republic and Variety rolling in the aisles in unwilling laughter over jokes about penis pain and cruelty to animals. The film not only intentionally broke all taboos about good taste and appropriate comedy material, but inspired a series of so-called "gross-out" comedies that competed to find the most offensive subjects of fun. In the midst of it all, Diaz's sweet, funny, and artful performance as Mary made There's Something About Mary the single film of the genre that may outlast the fad.
Perhaps to sidestep the blonde bimbo stereotype that followed her since her role in The Mask, Diaz took a much less glamorous role in the off-beat independent film, Being John Malkovich. As Lotte, a mousy veterinarian's assistant with frizzy brown hair and an entourage of needy animals clinging to her skirts, Diaz turned the ideal of the sex object on its head. Lotte is not only a sweet surprise of a character, showing spirit, sensuality, and loyalty, but also explores her sexual and gender identity with a freedom and irony that typifies the turn of the century.
In many ways, Diaz represents the attitudes of her generation. While certainly not rejecting the glitz and glamour of Hollywood fame, she has resisted the big studio establishment and chosen a more rebellious path toward that fame. While she might often play the bimbo, she manages to give that stereotype a "riot grrl" edge of nerve and self-reliance. It has been her willingness to take the circuitous route, shifting between mainstream Hollywood and the innovative independents, that has given Diaz her depth as an actress. When she was cast in The Mask, Diaz said, "I'm a pretty girl who's a model who doesn't suck as an actress." Her good looks and sincere charm may have gotten her into the movies, but it is her adventurous approach to her career that may keep her there.