Manolo Cardona (born Manuel Julian Cardona Molano; April 25, 1977) is a Colombian actor.
Cardona was born in Popayán, Cauca, Colombia. At the age of seven, Cardona's family baptized him "Manolo". This would later be used as his name as an actor. When he was 18, he moved to Cali, Colombia, to finish his studies. Manolo studied finances and international relations. Manolo's mother, Nancy Molano, is a psychologist and astrologer. His father, Javier Enrique Cardona, has devoted his life to politics, and was the mayor of Popayán. Manolo has two brothers. The elder, Francisco, is an agent and engineer, and the younger Juan Jose, studied film direction in the University of Cataluña in Barcelona, Spain. One of his greatest passions is playing soccer.
Cardona began modeling at a very early age. It was his eldest brother who introduced Manuel to a modeling agency, he was then quickly signed on to a contract, then at the age of fourteen he shot his first television commercial and began modeling professionally for TV commercials, photography, and including runways for several agencies in Colombia.
When Cardona was eighteen, in 1995, he began his acting career on a popular Colombian Television series called Padres e Hijos in which he starred for three years. Then in 1998 he won his first lead role in the television soap opera Carolina Barrantes. A year later he became even more prominent for his role in the successful soap opera Porque Diablos?, portraying a young man who becomes part of a drug organization so he can avenge his friend's death. Later in 2001 came Amor a Mil, a highly popular soap opera in Colombia. In 2002 he signed an exclusive contract with Telemundo and Argos Comunicación, and a year later in 2003 he starred in his first Mexican soap opera, Ladrón de Corazones. In it he portrayed Gustavo Velazco, a man who returns to his home town in Mexico after ten years to avenge his father's death and clear his name. He was the host of Telemundo's Spanish version of Temptation Island. He is also known for his role as Sebastián on the Mexican telenovela Gitanas.
In 2005, the film Rosario Tijeras, Cardona's big-screen debut, was released in Colombia. The film was based on Jorge Franco's book of the same name. Cardona worked opposite Flora Martinez (playing Rosario Tijeras) and Unax Ugalde and was directed by Emilio Maille. The film was nominated for a Goya Award for best foreign film. In 2005 the film had its North American premiere at the American Film Institute Festival, in Hollywood.