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Antonio Banderas: 1960—: Actor, Director Biography

Struggled As An Actor, Made American Film Debut, Married Melanie Griffith, Developed Eclectic Style

Antonio Banderas: 1960—: Actor, director.

Antonio Banderas made a quick transition from little-known Spanish actor to Hollywood heartthrob with his 1992 American film debut in The Mambo Kings. Though he seemed to have come from nowhere, he had already made a name for himself in his native Spain, having acted in more than 30 films. He never considered himself a sex symbol during the early part of his career, but his American debut paved the way for a series of macho roles. Yet, whether playing a bullfighting student who faints at the sight of blood in Matador or a hitman in Assassins, Banderas has managed to maintain his box office allure and still produce an eclectic and respected body of work.

Jose Antonio Dominguez Banderas was born in Malaga, Spain, on August 10, 1960, to Jose, a government employee, and Ana, a school teacher. He was named for his father and for his mother's beloved brother Antonio. His brother, Francisco, was born just eighteen months later. Banderas grew up in a middle-class household and had an authoritarian upbringing. "My parents were very strict with me, but not to the point where I'm complaining," he told Cindy Pearlman of The Chicago Sun-Times. "It was necessary because I was a wild boy." He excelled in sports and dreamed, like most young Spanish boys, of becoming a professional soccer player. His aspirations were crushed, however, when he broke his foot playing soccer. It was then that he began to think seriously about becoming an actor.

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