Born : April 28th 1974 in Madrid, Spain
Bio: Penélope Cruz Sánchez (born April 28, 1974), better known as Penélope Cruz, is a Spanish actress. At 15, she was signed by an agent. She made her acting debut at 16 on television, and her feature film debut the following year in Jamón, jamón (1992), to critical acclaim. Her subsequent roles in the 1990s and 2000s included Open Your Eyes (1997), The Hi-Lo Country (1999), The Girl of Your Dreams (2000) and Woman on Top (2000). Cruz achieved recognition for her lead roles in Vanilla Sky and Blow. Both films were released in 2001 and were commercially successful worldwide.
In the 2000s she has appeared in films from a wide range of genres, including the comedy Waking Up in Reno (2002), the thriller Gothika (2003), the Christmas movie Noel (2004), the action adventure Sahara (2005), the animated G-Force and the musical drama Nine. Her most notable films to date are Volver (2006), for which she earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), for which she received an Academy Award. She was the first Spanish actress in history to receive an Academy Award, and the sixth Spanish actor overall. G-Force (2009) is her most commercially successful film.
Cruz has modeled for companies such as Mango, Ralph Lauren and L'Oréal. Cruz and her younger sister Mónica Cruz have designed items for Mango. She has donated both her time and money to charities. Cruz has volunteered in Uganda and India, where she spent one week working for Mother Teresa; she donated her salary from The Hi-Lo Country to help fund the late nun's mission. In the 2000s Cruz had been in long term relationships with her co-stars Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey. In the summer of 2010, she married Spanish actor Javier Bardem.
Penélope Cruz Sánchez was born in Alcobendas, Community of Madrid, Spain, the daughter of Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser and personal manager, and Eduardo Cruz, a retailer and auto mechanic. She was raised Roman Catholic. Throughout her childhood, Cruz lived in Alcobendas, a working-class suburb, although she spent "a lot" of time at her grandmother's apartment. Cruz is the oldest of three siblings; she has a younger brother, Eduardo, who is a singer, and a younger sister, Mónica, who is an actress. She has said that she had a happy childhood, and Charlie Rose of 60 Minutes described Cruz's childhood as a "simple life". In 2000, Cruz stated that as a child she would throw herself on the floor and "start kicking and breaking things" when she did not get her way. Initially, Cruz had no ambition to be an actress and focused on dance, having studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain's National Conservatory. She received three years of Spanish ballet training and four years of theater at Cristina Rota's New York school.
When Cruz was a teenager she began having an interest in acting after seeing the film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. She began doing casting calls for an agent, but was rejected multiple times because the agent felt that she was too young. Cruz commented on the experience that "I was very extroverted as a kid. [...] I was studying when I was in high school at night, I was in ballet and I was doing castings. I looked for an agent and she sent me away three times because I was a little girl but I kept coming back. I'm still with her after all these years." In 1989, at the age of 15, Cruz won an audition at a talent agency over more than 300 other girls. In 1999, Katrina Bayonas, Cruz's agent, commented, "She was absolutely magic [at the audition]. It was obvious there was something very impressive about this kid. [...] She was very green, but there was a presence. There was just something coming from within."
Early work, 1991–1996
In 1990 and 1991 Cruz hosted the Spanish television talk show La Quinta Marcha, a program that is hosted by teenagers, aimed at a teenage audience. In 1992, Cruz made her feature film debut at 17 as the lead female role in the comedy drama art house film, Jamón, jamón. In the film she portrayed Silvia, a young woman who is expecting her first child with a man whose mother does not approve of the relationship and attempts to sabotage it by paying Javier Bardem's character to seduce her. People magazine noted that after Cruz appeared topless in the film, she became "a major sex symbol." In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News in 1999, Cruz commented that "it was a great part, but...I wasn't really ready for the nudity. [...] But I have no regrets because I wanted to start working and it changed my life." Charlie Rose of 60 Minutes noted that Cruz "became an overnight sensation as much for her nude scenes as for her talent". When Rose asked Cruz is she was concerned about how she would be perceived after her role in the film, Cruz replied, "I just knew I had to do the complete opposite." Jamón, jamón received broadly favorable reviews, with Chris Hicks of the Deseret News describing Cruz's portrayal of Silvia as "enchanting". Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert wrote "[The film] stars actors of considerable physical appeal, most particularly Penelope Cruz as Silvia". For her performance, Cruz was nominated for a Spanish Actors Union Newcomer Award and a Goya Award for Best Actress. The same year she appeared in the Academy-Award winning Belle Epoque as the virginal Luz. People magazine noted that Cruz's role as Luz showed that she was versatile. From 1993 to 1996, Cruz appeared in ten Spanish and Italian films.
Early critical success, 1997–2000
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Cruz in 2006.
In 1997, Cruz appeared in the Spanish comedy film Love Can Seriously Damage Your Health. In the film she portrays Diana, a fan of The Beatles band member John Lennon; she tries unsuccessfully to meet him. Years later, after multiple failed relationships, Diana re-unites with an acquaintance under unusual circumstances. Also in 1997, she appeared in the opening scene of Pedro Almodóvar's Live Flesh as a prostitute who gives birth on a bus and in Et hjørne af paradis as Doña Helena. Cruz's final appearance in 1997 was the Amenabar-directed Spanish drama Open Your Eyes. In the film she plays Sofia, the girlfriend of lead character's best friend, who eventually begins a brief relationship with the lead character. Open Your Eyes generally received positive reviews and was not commercially successful, grossing $370,000 in the United States. Kevin N. Laforest of the Montreal Film Journal commented in his September 2002 review that Cruz "has been getting some really bad reviews for her recent American work, but I personally think that she's a more than decent actress, especially here, where she's charming, moving and always believable. [...] There's one shot in particular, where Cruz enters a room in a greenish glow, which is right out of Hitchcock's picture "
The following year, Cruz appeared in her first American film as Billy Crudup's consolation-prize Mexican girlfriend in Stephen Frears' western film, The Hi-Lo Country. Cruz stated that she had difficulties understanding people speaking English while she was filming The Hi-Lo Country. The film was critically and commercially unsuccessful. Kevin Lally of the Film Journal International commented in his review for the film that "in an ironic casting twist, the Spanish actress Penelope Cruz [...] is much more appealing as Josepha [than in her previous roles]". For her performance in the film, she was nominated for an ALMA Award for Best Actress. Also in 1998, Cruz appeared in Don Juan and The Girl of Your Dreams. In The Girl of Your Dreams, Cruz portrayed Macerna Granada, a singer who is in an on and off relationship with Antonio Resines's character, Blas. Cruz's performance in the film was praised by film critics, with Jonathan Holloland of Variety magazine writing "if confirmation is still needed that Cruz is an actress first and a pretty face second, then here it is." A writer for Film4 commented that "Cruz herself is the inevitable focus of the film" but noted that overall the film "looks great". Cruz's role as Macerna has been viewed as her "largest role to date". For her performance, Cruz received a Goya Award and Spanish Actors Union Award, and was nominated for a European Film Award. In 1999, Cruz worked with Almodóvar again in All About My Mother, playing Sister María Rosa Sanz, a pregnant nun with AIDS. The film received generally favorable reviews, and was commercially successful, grossing over $67 million worldwide, although it performed better at the box office internationally than domestically.
In 2000, she appeared in Woman on Top in the lead female role as Isabelle, a world-class chef that has suffered from motion sickness since birth. Her role as Isabelle was her first American lead role. Lisa Nesselson of Variety magazine praised the performances of both Cruz and her co-star, Harold Perrineau, saying they "burst off the screen", and added that Cruz has a charming accent. BBC film critic Jane Crowther said that "Cruz is wonderfully ditzy as the innocent abroad" but remarked that "it's Harold Perrineau Jr as Monica who pockets the movie". Annlee Ellingson of Box Office magazine wrote "Cruz is stunning in the role—innocent and vulnerable yet possessing a mature grace and determined strength, all while sizzling with unchecked sensuality". Also in 2000, she played Alejandra Villarreal, who is Matt Damon's love interest in Billy Bob Thornton's film adaptation of the western bestselling novel, All the Pretty Horses. Studio executive's had originally considered Natalie Portman for the part of Alejandra, but Thorton stated that he chose to cast Cruz because she was "exactly" what he had envisioned for the part. Susan Stark of the Detroit News commented that in the film Thornton was able to guide Damon, Henry Thomas and Cruz to "their most impressive performances in a major movie yet." However, Bob Longigo of the Atlanta Journal Constitution was less enthusiastic about Cruz and Damon's performance, saying that their "resulting onscreen chemistry would hardly warm a can of beans."
2001 marked a significant turning point in Cruz's career, when she starred in the feature film's Vanilla Sky and Blow. In Vanilla Sky, which is the English remake of Open Your Eyes, Cruz played Sofia Serrano, the love interest of Tom Cruise's character. The film received generally unfavorable reviews] but was successful at the box office, making over $200 million worldwide. Her performance was well received by critics, with BBC film critic Brandon Graydon saying that Cruz "is an enchanting screen presence," and Ethan Alter of the Film Journal International noting that Cruz and her co-star Cruise were "able to generate some actual chemistry". Her next film was Blow, which was adapted from Bruce Porter's 1993 book Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All. In the film she had a supporting role as Mirtha Jung, the wife of Johnny Depp's character. The film received mixed reviews, and was successful at the box office, making over $80 million worldwide. Nina Willdorf of the Boston Phoenix described Cruz as being "multi-talented" in her film review for Blow and Mark Salvo of the Austin Chronicle wrote "I may be one of the last male holdouts to join the Cruz-Rules camp, but her tour de force performance here sucks you right in." In 2001 Cruz also appeared in Don't Tempt Me, playing Carmen Ramos. The film received generally negative reviews, with Jeff Vice of the Deseret News commented that "unfortunately, casting Cruz as a tough girl is a hilariously bad one..." and Michael Miller of the Village Voice writing that "as Satan's helper Carmen, Penélope Cruz doesn't hold a candle to her cocaine-huffing enabler in Blow". Cruz's last film appearance in 2001 was in Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which is a film adaption of the novel of the same name. She plays Pelagia, a woman who falls in love with another man while her fiancé is in battle during World War II. Captain Corelli's Mandolin was not well received by film critics, but was successful at the box office, making $62 million worldwide.
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Cruz at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2002, she had a minor role in Waking Up in Reno, the film received broadly negative reviews and was a box office failure, making $267 thousand worldwide. The following year, Cruz had a minor role in the horror drama film Gothika, as Chloe Sava, a patient at a mental hospital who is believed to have a mental illness. David Rooney of Variety magazine wrote that Cruz "adds a serviceably malevolent edge to Chole's apparent madness." Cruz's performance in Fanfan la Tulipe, which was also released in 2003, was not well received, with Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian commenting that Cruz "deserves a special Cannes Razzie for a performance of purest teak." In 2004, Cruz appeared in the Christmas-themed drama film Noel as Nina, the girlfriend of Paul Walker's character and as Mia in the romantic drama film, Head in the Clouds, which is set in the 1930s. Head in the Clouds performed poorly at the box office. For Cruz's performance in Head in the Clouds, Bruce Birkland of Jam! Canoe said, "The story feels forced and the performances dreary, with the notable exception of Cruz, who seems to be in a different film from the rest of the cast." Desson Thompson of the Washington Post was more critical of Cruz's portrayal; his comment about the character's "pronounced limp" was that "Cruz (hardly the world's greatest actress) can't even perform without looking fake."
In 2005 Cruz appeared in the action adventure film Sahara as Dr Eva Rojas. Cruz earned $1.6 million for her supporting role in the film. The film grossed over $110 million worldwide, but was unable to recoup its $160 million budget. Moviefone dubbed the film as being "one of the most famous flops in history" and listed the film at number twenty four on its list of "Biggest Box-Office Turkeys of All Time" in 2007. Lori Hoffman of the Atlantic City Weekly felt that Cruz put her "considerable [acting] skills on cruise control as Dr Eva Rojas" and James Berardnelli of ReelViews criticized Cruz's performance, describing it as a "black hole", he commented that she "lacks screen presence." Also in 2005, Cruz appeared in Chromophobia, which was screened at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and released the following year. Mathew Turner of View London said he felt that Cruz's character Gloria, a cancer-riddled prostitute, is "actually more interesting than the main storyline" while Time Evan's of Sky Movies wrote, "The Cruz/Ifans storyline – featuring the only two remotely sympathetic characters – never really fuses with the main plot". Her final 2005 film was Don't Move playing Italia. Eric Harrison of the Houston Chronicle noted that Cruz "goes all out" with her appearance and Patrick Peters of Empire magazine commented that the film's director, who also appears in the film, was able to draw a "sensitive performance" from Cruz.
Worldwide recognition, 2006–present
In the photo, a Caucasian male and a Hispanic female can be seen. The female has short medium brown hair and is wearing a white sleeveless dress. She is smiling and titling her head to look to her right. The male has light and dark grey hair and is wearing an all black long sleeved suit with black sunglasses. In the background, there are people standing with camera's.
Cruz with Volver director Pedro Almodovar at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Cruz appeared in the 2006 Western comedy film Bandidas, portraying María Álvarez, a poor farm girl who turns to robbing banks with a wealthy friend in an effort to combat a ruthless enforcer terrorising their town. Randy Cordova of the Arizona Republic commented that the film "sports" Cruz and her co-star Salma Hayek as the "lusty dream team" and that they were the "marketing fantasy" for the film. A writer for 20minutos.es called Cruz and Hayek the "demand curves" of the film. Also in 2006, Cruz received favourable reviews for her performance as Raimunda in Pedro Almodóvar's Volver. The film was well received by film critics, and was included on multiple film critics' top ten film lists for 2006. Carina Chocano of The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Cruz, who has remarked that in Hollywood she's rarely allowed to be anything more than pretty, instills her with an awesome resoluteness and strength of character." Jan Stuart of Newsday described Cruz as having "never been more radiant and funny". IGN film critic Todd Gilchrist praised Cruz, saying her "performance is nothing short of revelatory" and that "Here, she finds the best role of her career, and leaps in with complete commitment". She shared a Best Actress award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival with five of her co-stars, as well as receiving a Goya Award and European Film Award, and was nominated for the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the BAFTA Award, and the Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role. She was the first Spaniard to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 2007, Cruz appeared in Manolete, a biopic of bullfighter Manuel Laureano Rodríguez Sánchez in the lead female role, playing Antoñita "Lupe" Sino. She also appeared in The Good Night, playing two characters, Anna and Melody. The film received negative reviews and did not perform well at the box office. TV Guide film critic Maitland McDonagh noted that in the film Cruz "expertly mines the contrast between chic, compliant, white-clad Anna and funky, street-smart Melody, who treats [Martin Freeman's character] Gary like the world-class drag he is." David Edelstein of New York Magazine commented that "Cruz shows up in the flesh, and she's wonderfully tart and funny". In 2008, Cruz appeared in Isabel Coixet's film Elegy, which was based on the Philip Roth story The Dying Animal, as the lead female role, Consuela Castillo. The film generated mixed to positive reviews, and appeared on multiple film critics' top ten film lists for 2008. Ray Bennett of the Hollywood Reporter described Cruz's performance as being "outstanding in an otherwise lame male fantasy [film]" and MSNBC film critic Alonso Duralde praised Cruz and her co-star, Ben Kingsley, writing that they give "extraordinary performances" in the film.
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Cruz at the 81st Academy Awards. She won her first Academy Award later that night for her performance as María Elena.
Later that year, she starred in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona as María Elena, a mentally unstable woman. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian praised Cruz's performance in the film, commenting, "Cruz looks as if she has wandered in from a more hefty film entirely; everything she does and says seems to mean more, count for more. This isn't to say that she gets bigger laughs, or perhaps any laughs, but she certainly walks off with the film." Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter remarked that the film "belongs" to Cruz and her co-star Bardem. Todd McCarthy of Variety magazine felt that Cruz's performance was "dynamite" in both of the languages she spoke. A writer for 20minutos.es described Cruz as having planted "relentless growth" in the film. Cruz received a Goya Award and her first Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also received a Golden Globe and SAG nomination. Cruz was the first Spanish actress to ever be awarded an Academy Award and the sixth Spanish person to ever receive the award.
Cruz's next film was the kid-friendly animated film, G-Force, which was released to theaters in July 2009. In the film, she voiced a guinea pig spy named Juarez. G-Force was a commercial success, making over $290 million worldwide. Also in 2009, she appeared in the film Broken Embraces as Lena, the lead character's mistress and assistant who is an aspiring actress. Moira Macdonald of the Seattle Times wrote "Cruz, so lovely she hardly seems real, makes Lena both vulnerable and steely. Lena's life, it seems, is turning into a movie that she can't escape, as men and cameras seem to blur together and her dazzling smile becomes little defense." Claudia Puig of USA Today described Cruz's performance as Lena as being "superb". Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com noted in her review for the film that Cruz "doesn't coast on her beauty in Broken Embraces, and she has the kind of role that can be difficult to flesh out." Cruz received nominations from the Satellite Awards and European Film Awards for her performance in Broken Embraces.
Cruz's final 2009 film was the film version of the musical Nine, playing the character Carla Albanese, the lead character's mistress. Variety reported that Cruz had originally auditioned for the role of the film within a film's star, Claudia, which eventually went to Nicole Kidman. Cruz said that she trained for three months for the dance routine in the film. The film generated negative reviews and was a financial failure. Claudia Puig of USA Today commented that while Cruz "does a steamy song and dance," her "acting is strangely caricatured." Chris Tookey of the Daily Mail made a similar comment, saying: "I know Penelope Cruz has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her camp vamp act, but to me she is unnervingly over the top [in this film], like Strictly Come Dancing's Bruno Tonioli in drag." F. Bernal of Que.es commented, "In terms of its ability to integrate with luck in the cast of a musical, it is clear that Penelope does a good note [in the film]". Cruz's performance as Carla garnered her nominations for Best Supporting Actress from the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and SAG Awards. In 2010, Cruz appeared in the film Sex and the City 2, the sequel to the 2008 film, in a cameo role. Cruz is set to appear in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film as Angelica Teach, Blackbeard's daughter and the former love interest of Captain Jack Sparrow. This film has Cruz and director Rob Marshall returning once more for a film. In April 2010, Cruz became contracted to star in the film Venuto al mondo, playing Gemma, a mother who accompanies her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died during the war. In an interview with the Italian publication La Repubblica Cruz commented on playing Gemma, saying, "I feel as an actress Gemma will be playing one of the most important opportunities of my life".]
In the center of the photo, a Hispanic women wearing a long sleeveless black dress with light brown hair is shown. Men and women, as well as a red carpet that is roped-off and a green bush can be seen.
Cruz in 2009 at the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Cruz, known to her friends as Pe, owns a house in Madrid that is near her family's home and another house in Los Angeles. Although Cruz's parents are divorced, in 2008 she stated that she remains close to both parents and to her brother as well as having a "100 percent" bond with her younger sister. She speaks four languages: Spanish, Italian, French and English. Cruz learned to speak Italian for her role in Don't Move. She was a vegetarian in her youth and has spoken out about bullfights. Cruz, an animal lover, picked up a stray dog when filming Bandidas in Mexico and took it back to her Los Angeles home. In 2008, she expressed her dislike of tabloids, describing them as being "disgusting" and felt that aside from false stories that affect her directly, that "this culture of gossip affects our society on a much deeper level, on an ethical level." In 2010, Cruz was a guest editor for the French Vogue magazine, focusing on larger-size models in a provocative photo shoot.
Cruz has donated a considerable amount of money and time to charity. In addition to her work in Nepal, she has volunteered in Uganda and India, where she spent a week working for Mother Teresa that included assisting in a leprosy clinic. That trip had inspired Cruz to help start a foundation to support homeless girls in India, where she personally sponsors two young women. She donated her entire salary from her first Hollywood movie, The Hi-Lo Country, to help fund Mother Teresa's mission. Cruz has shown an interest in photography, and in the early 2000s she spent time in Nepal photographing Tibetan children for an exhibition that was attended by the Dalai Lama. She also photographed some of the residents at the Pacific Lodge Boys' Home, most of whom are former gang members and recovering substance abusers. Cruz commented, "these kids break my heart. I have to control myself not to cry. Not out of pity, but seeing how tricky life is and how hard it is to make the right choices."
Cruz owns a clothing store in Madrid and designed a line of jewelry and handbags with her younger sister for a company in Japan. In 2006 she signed an exclusive contract to become the new spokesmodel for the French beauty company L'Oréal to promote products such as the L'Oreal Paris hair dye Natural Match and L'Oreal mascara products. Cruz appears in television and print ads for the company. She receives $2 million a year for her work for the company. Cruz has appeared in print ads for the Barcelona-based fashion chain Mango and had a contract with Ralph Lauren in 2001. In May 2007, it was announced that Cruz and her sister would be designing a collection for Mango. The collection, which is their second for the brand, was inspired by Brigitte Bardot and summers in St Tropez. Cruz commented on the collection for Mango that, "It's been a really good collaboration because they're a great Spanish company and they give us a lot of freedom. My sister and I have a great time working on the designs." In April 2010, she became the ambassador for Lancôme's Trésor fragrance.
After appearing in Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, they had a three-year relationship which ended in January 2004. In April 2003, Cruz filed a lawsuit against the Australian magazine New Idea for defamation over an article it published about her relationship with Cruise. Her lawyers claimed in a statement that "the proceedings state that the article contains a number of false and defamatory statements concerning Ms. Cruz" and she is seeking "substantial damages and is confident that legal proceedings will vindicate her reputation."
After filming Sahara in February 2005, she began dating actor Matthew McConaughey. In June 2006, they released a joint statement to People magazine saying that they "have decided to take time off as a couple" and that "due to busy work schedules and so much time apart" they mutually decided that "separating was the best thing to do at this time." In April 2007 Cruz, who was single at the time, stated that she would like to have children one day and she feels the need to adopt. "Of course I want to have kids," Cruz told the Spanish edition of Marie Claire in its April 2007 issue. "I want to have my own kids, but also adopt. For a while I've had the feeling that my life won't be complete if I don't adopt." Cruz is close friends with Pedro Almodovar, whom she has frequently worked with on films and known for almost two decades. Vanity Fair magazine celebrated Cruz's and Almodovar's friendship by asking them to pose for the magazine's upcoming Hollywood issue in 2010. Almodovar has described her as being his muse. Cruz began dating then co-star Bardem in 2007, although the couple has maintained a low public profile. In early July of 2010, the couple were wed in a private ceremony at a friend's residence in the Bahamas.
Acted Movies : 31 Movies