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Antonio Banderas

Date of Birth: Wednesday, August 10, 1960
AGE: 58
Occupation: Actor

Biography: A Spanish film actor, film director, film producer and singer. He began his acting career at age 19 with a series of films by director Pedro Almodóvar and then appeared in high-profile Hollywood films including Assassins, Evita, Interview with the Vampire, Philadelphia, Desperado, The Mask of Zorro, Spy Kids and the Shrek sequels.

Banderas was born in Málaga, Andalucía, Spain, in 1960 to Ana Banderas, a school teacher, and Jose Dominguez Prieto, a police officer in the Guardia Civil. He has a younger brother, Francisco. Although the family name is Domínguez, he took his mother?s surname as his stage name. He initially wanted to become a professional soccer player until a broken foot sidelined his dreams at the age of fourteen. He went on to enrol in some drama classes, eventually joining a theatre troupe that toured all over Spain. His work in the theatre, and his performances on the streets, eventually landed him a spot with the National Theatre of Spain.

His acting career began at the age of 19, when he worked in small theatres during Spain?s post-dictatorial cultural movement known as the ?Movida?. While performing with the theatre, Banderas caught the attention of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who cast the young actor in his 1982 film debut, Labyrinth of Passion. Two years later he went on to appear in the director?s Law of Desire, making headlines with his performance as a gay man, which required him to engage in his first male-to-male onscreen kiss. After Banderas appeared in Almodóvar?s 1986 Matador, the director cast him in his internationally acclaimed 1988 film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

The recognition Banderas gained for his role increased two years later when he starred in Almodovar?s controversial Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! as a mental patient who kidnaps a porn star (Victoria Abril) and keeps her tied up until she returns his love. It was his breakthrough role in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, that helped spur him on to Hollywood.

Banderas was first introduced to the American audience in the documentary film Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991). In the film, Madonna says she wants to seduce Banderas even though she knows he is married.

The following year, still speaking minimal English, he began acting in U.S. films. Despite having to learn all his lines phonetically, Banderas still managed to turn in a critically praised performance as a struggling musician in his first American drama film, The Mambo Kings (1992).

Banderas then broke through to mainstream American audiences in the film, Philadelphia (1993), as the gay lover of AIDS-afflicted lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks). The film?s success earned Banderas wide recognition, and the following year was given a role in Neil Jordan?s high-profile adaptation of Anne Rice?s Interview with the Vampire, which allowed him to share the screen with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

He appeared in several major Hollywood releases in 1995, including a starring role in the Robert Rodriguez-directed film Desperado and the antagonist on the action film Assassins, co-starred with Sylvester Stallone. In 1996, he starred alongside Madonna in Evita, an adaptation of the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and in Tim Rice in which he played the narrator, Che, a role played by David Essex in the original 1978 West End production. He also made success with his role as the legendary masked swordsman Zorro in the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro. He was the first Spanish actor to portray the character.

In 2001, he collaborated with Robert Rodriguez who cast him in the Spy Kids film trilogy. He also starred in Michael Cristofer?s Original Sin alongside Angelina Jolie the same year. In 2002, he starred in Brian De Palma?s Femme Fatale opposite Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and in Julie Taymor?s Frida with Salma Hayek. In 2003, he starred in the last installment of the trilogy Once Upon A Time In Mexico (in which he appeared with Johnny Depp and Salma Hayek). Banderas? debut as a director was the poorly-received Crazy in Alabama (1999), starring his wife Melanie Griffith.

Both Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas were married to other people when they first met. Banderas divorced his first wife, Ana Leza, and in May 14, 1996, married American actress Melanie Griffith in a private, low-key ceremony in London. They had met a year earlier while shooting Two Much. They have a daughter, Stella Banderas, who appeared with her parents in the 1999 film Crazy in Alabama, in which Griffith starred and which Banderas directed

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