- José Antonio Domínguez Banderas
August 10, 1960 (age 60)
- Singer, Actor, Dancer, Voice Actor, Film Producer, Film Director, Businessperson
- Melanie Griffith
- José Domínguez Prieto, Ana Banderas
José Antonio Domínguez Banderas (born 10 August 1960), better known as Antonio Banderas, is a Spanish film actor, film director, film producer and singer. He began his acting career with a series of films by director Pedro Almodóvar and then appeared in high-profile Hollywood movies, especially in the 1990s, including Assassins, Evita, Interview with the Vampire, Philadelphia, Desperado,The Mask of Zorro and Spy Kids. Banderas is also a voice artist, portraying the voice of Puss in Boots in the Shrek sequels and Puss in Boots as well as the bee in the US Nasonex commercials.
Banderas was born José Antonio Domínguez Banderas in Benalmádena, Málaga, Andalucía,Spain, on 10 August 1960, to Ana Banderas, a school teacher, and José Domínguez, a police officer in the Guardia Civil. He has a younger brother, Javier. Although the family name is Domínguez, he took his mother's last name as his stage name. As a child, he wanted to become a professional football player until a broken foot sidelined his dreams at the age of fourteen. He went on to enroll in some drama classes, eventually joining a theater troupe that toured all over Spain. His work in the theater, and his performances on the streets, eventually landed him a spot with the National Theatre of Spain.
Banderas began working 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 movie debut Labyrinth of Passion. Five 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 Almodóvar'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' having become a regular feature of Almodóvar's movies all throughout the 1980s, Almodóvar is credited for helping launch Banderas's international career.
In 1991, Madonna introduced Banderas to Hollywood in Madonna: Truth or Dare. In the movie, Madonna says that 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 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.
Banderas married his first wife, Ana Leza, on July 27, 1987. They separated in May 1995 when he began a relationship with actress Melanie Griffith while shooting Two Much. Banderas and Leza divorced in April 1996, and one month later, on May 14, 1996, he married Griffith in a private, low-key ceremony in London. They have a daughter, Stella Banderas, who appeared onscreen with Griffith in Banderas' directorial debut, Crazy in Alabama (1999). In 2002, the couple's dedication to philanthropy was recognized when they received the 'Stella Adler Angel Award' for their extensive charity work. Griffith has a tattoo of Banderas' first name encircled in a heart on her right shoulder.
In June 2014, Griffith and Banderas released a statement announcing their intention to divorce "in a loving and friendly manner". According to the petition filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, the couple had "irreconcilable differences" that led to the divorce.