José Antonio Domínguez Banderas was born in the year 1960 in Spain. When his dream of being a professional soccer player ended at the age of 14, Banderas went on to pursue his interest in acting. He began by acting on stage in a group that traveled all over the country.
His stage acting was inspirational and caught the eye of well-renowned Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar who went on to cast Banderas in his 1982 film, “Labyrinth of Passion.” Banderas went on to appear in other projects created and directed by Almodóvar including “Matador” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” However it wasn’t until he starred in Almodóvar’s 1990 film “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” that he received Hollywood recognition.
Interestingly enough, when Banderas arrived in the United States to act in American films, he only spoke minimal English. His first role in America came when he appeared in the film “The Mambo Kings” in 1992. Even though he was still learning to speak English, he was ultimately praised for this role. Check out the link to watch the trailer.
The following year, Banderas appeared in the film “Philadelphia” alongside actor Tom Hanks. It was this film that brought on much of Banderas’ nationwide recognition and his career in Hollywood took off. In the 1990s, Banderas appeared in “Interview with the Vampire” (in 1994 alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt), Desperado (1995 alongside Salma Hayek and Joaquim de Almeida), and Evita (1996 alongside Madonna).
However, his iconic role came in 1998 when he was cast as the famous masked hero, Zorro. Though there have been over forty film adaptations of the hero, Banderas is the first Spanish actor to ever portray him. This role brought on many nominations and awards including but not limited to nominations for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film, and he received a European Films Award for Best European Actor and an Imagen Award for Lasting Image Award.
The 2000s continued shaping Banderas’ career as he went on to appear in the “Spy Kids” trilogy in the year 2001, in which he was nominated for an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. In 2003, he starred in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the last installment of the Mariachi Trilogy which also included Banderas’ film, “Desperado.” He received another Imagen Award, this time for “Best Actor.” In 2003 he starred in “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself”, “Imagining Argentina”, and he reprised his role as Zorro in the 2005 hit, “The Legend of Zorro”, for which he received another nomination for an Imagen Award for Best Actor.
2004 opened a new venue for Banderas in the way of voice acting when he joined the stellar cast of the “Shrek” series. Banderas made his voice debut in “Shrek 2” as Puss in Boots. This role also brought on several award nominations, roles in “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After”, and his character’s own film, “Puss in Boots” which is set to bow November 4th.
Banderas has accomplished many things in his career as an actor, and he has been honored and recognized in various ways. In 2004, Banderas was awarded with the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. In 2005, he received the Gabi Lifetime Achievement Award at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and in that same year he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Banderas also dedicates much of his time to charity work, and in the year 2002 as a thank you he and his wife, Melanie Griffith, received the Stella Adler Angel Award.
Banderas will next be seen in “Puss in Boots”, and he is set to appear in “Haywire”, the action-thriller from Relativity Media set to open January 2012.