Actor (1960 - present)
A Star from the Southern Spanish Skies
This highly acclaimed actor has it all – the looks, the charm, the drive, the energy, the creativity. But he appears to be lacking any sense of pretension, arrogance, aloofness; he is not at all star struck.
By all accounts Antonio Banderas is nice. He’s fun, funny, down to earth, honest and sincere. And he seems to have some kind of higher calling, a sense of ideals, moral values and a loyalty that commit him to always remember anyone, anyplace or anything that ever contributed in even the slightest way to his astronomical rise to fame.
Antonio Banderas was born on August 10, 1960 and named José Antonio Domínguez Banderas. Following Spanish tradition his last name would actually be Domínguez, which comes from his father. He chose however, to rise to fame on his second – and less common - last name, which comes from his mother.
Ana Banderas, the star’s mother, was a schoolteacher, and his father, José Domínguez, a Guardia Civil officer. The couple brought their children up as Roman Catholics, and to this day the famous actor makes the pilgrimage back home every Semana Santa (Holy Week) to participate in Málaga’s processions. In fact, he is even known to include this commitment in movie contracts, just to ensure that nothing will interfere with his uncompromising loyalty to this religious celebration.
Ana and José raised their future Hollywood phenomenon in the southern Spanish town of Fuengirola, near Marbella. According to legend, Antonio entertained every Spanish boy’s dream of making it big in the world of football (soccer). Banderas was star player in his school team, until his hopes were dashed with an ankle injury at just 14 years old. He then turned his attention to the world of singing and acting, moving to Madrid when he was 19 and launching himself on the theatre circuit.
For the talented Antonio Banderas, Madrid theatre served as a launching pad to work in the Spanish film industry. He made his movie debut in the second work by one of Spain’s top film directors, Pedro Almodóvar - Laberinto de Pasiones (1982). The working relationship between the two continued as leading lights in La Movida, the pop cultural movement of 1970s and 80s Madrid. In 1992 Átame (Tie me up, Tie me down) saw success in the U.S. and rocketed the aspiring actor beyond Spanish borders.
Not one to let an opportunity slip, Antonio Banderas made the leap across the charco (puddle – i.e. the Atlantic Ocean), as they say in Spanish, landing on his feet in Hollywood. From there, it was history in the making with this star shining more brightly than ever in films like Philadelphia, Desperado, Evita, El Zorro, Two Much, Spy Kids, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and so many more. He also gives a voice to Shrek’s Puss in Boots. And he has made award-winning stage performances on Broadway with prizes from the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk as well as a Tony Award nomination.
A star of such stature keeps the local grapevines drooping under the weight of juicy fruit every time the actor even considers making a trip home. Not only paparazzi look forward to a Banderas family arrival at Málaga’s Pablo Picasso International Airport. The entire local, regional and national press is sure to turn out along with crowds of curious spectators.
He is now separated from his wife of 18 years, Melanie Griffith, who often accompanied Antonio at Málaga’s Holy Week processions. Their daughter, Stella del Carmen, was born at Marbella’s Costa del Sol Hospital. Watching the child grow has been something of a regional – if not national – pastime, with locals taking such pride in the child you would think she were their own.
The death of Antonio Bandera’s father in early 2008 was a blow the actor and his family took with great dignity. Antonio moved his father to his luxurious Marbella home to be lovingly cared for during the last weeks of his life. After his father’s death, close family friends reported that Antonio participated personally in taking care of his dying father. He reportedly postponed numerous projects in order to spend those last precious moments to give back to those who had given him so much.
And that takes us back to the beginning. In a speech, the actor once credited his parents by saying:
“You’re the ones who have shaped my personality and given me the essential shields I’ve had to use at times on the battlefields of a confusing world.” Perhaps it’s one of those shields that guards this amazing star from the lights that blind so many celebrities.
- El camino de los Ingleses (2006)
- Crazy in Alabama (1999)
- Machete Kills (2013)
- I'm so excited (2013)
- Justin y La Espada del Valor (2013)
- Los amantes pasajeros (released 2013)
- Ruby Sparks (2012)
- Haywire (2011)
- Day of the Falcon (2011)
- La piel que habito (2011)
- Puss in Boots: Story of an Ogre Killer (2011)
- You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
- Shrek Forever After (2010)
- The Big Bang (2010)
- Un-broke: What You Need To Know About Money (2009)
- Thick as Thieves (2009)
- My Mom's New Boyfriend (2008)
- The Other Man (2008)
- The Code (2008)
- My Mom’s New Boyfriend (2008)
- Shrek the Halls (2007)
- Shrek the Third (2007)
- Bordertown (2006)
- Take the Lead (2006)
- The Legend of Zorro (2004)
- Far, Far Away Idol (2004)
- Shrek II (2004)
- Imagining Argentina (2003)
- And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself (2003)
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
- Spy Kids 3-D Game Over (2003)
- Ballistic (2002)
- Frida (2002)
- Spy Kids II Island of the Lost Dreams (2002)
- Femme Fatal (2002)
- The Body (2001)
- Spy Kids (2001)
- Original Sin (2001)
- Play it to the Bone (2000)
- The Sparrow (2000)
- The 13th Warrior(1999)
- The White River Kid (1999)
- The Mask of Zorro (1998)
- Evita (1996)
- Two Much (1996)
- Nunca Hables con Extraños (1996)
- Asesinos (1995)
- Desperado (1995)
- Miami (1995)
- Four Rooms (1995)
- Entrevista con el Vampiro (Crónicas Vampíricas) (1994)
- De Amor y de Sombras (1995)
- La Casa de los Espíritus (1993)
- ¡Dispara! Joven Mussolini (1993)
- Philadelphia (1993)
- Valparaíso (1993)
- Los Reyes del Mambo Tocan Canciones de Amor (1992)
- En la Cama con Madonna (1991)
- Cuentos de Borges I (1991)
- Una Mujer Bajo la Lluvia (1991)
- Terra Nova (1991/I)
- ¡Átame! (1990)
- Contra el Viento (1990)
- La Otra Historia de Rosendo Juárez(1990)
- Si te dicen que caí (1989)
- La Blanca Paloma (1989)
- Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (1988)
- Bajarse al moro (1988)
- Bâton rouge (1988)
- La Mujer de tu vida: La mujer feliz (1988) (TV)
- La Ley del deseo (1987)
- El Placer de matar (1987)
- 27 Horas (1986)
- Matador (1986)
- Así Como Habían Sido (1986)
- Delirios de Amor (1986)
- The Puzzle (1986)
- La Corte de Faraón (1985)
- Réquiem por un Campesino Español (1985)
- Zancos, Los (1984)
- El Caso Almería (1983)
- El Señor Galíndez (1983)
- Y del seguro... Líbranos Señor! (1983)
- Laberinto de Pasiones (1982)
- Pestañas Postizas (1982)
Read previous Andalucia.com reports about Antonio Banderas.
Read about Antonio Banderas' production company's latest project.