Penelope Cruz (born Penelope Cruz Sanchez, 28.4.1974)
Penelope Cruz is a Spanish actress who has successfully made the transition into mainstream Hollywood films.
Penelope Cruz: Childhood
Penelope Cruz was born to Encarna Sanchez and Eduado Sanchez in Madrid, in Spain. She would perform re-enactments of TV commercials as a child, for her family's amusement. Cruz studied Spanish Ballet for three years, as well as learning jazz dance at Cristina Rota's school in Madrid.
At the age of 15, Penelope Cruz beat 300 other girls at a talent audition. It was at this point that she decided to focus more on acting.
Penelope Cruz: Career
Penelope Cruz first hit the limelight when she appeared in a pop video for the Spanish pop group La Mecano. She also worked as a presenter on the teen programme La Quinita Marcha, as well as appearances in the French erotic series Serie Rose.
Cruz's debut film appearance came in Jamon, Jamon, a Spanish comedy, also starring Javier Bardem. She then starred in Belle Époque, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 1997, Cruz then appeared in Open Your Eyes, alongside Eduardo Noriega.
The first film in a lengthy working relationship with the director Pedro Almodovar came in 1999, when she appeared in All About My Mother (another Academy Award winner). The following year, she starred alongside Matt Damon in All the Pretty Horses. This was followed, in 2001, with a performance in Vanilla Sky, alongside Tom Cruise. The film was a remake of Open Your Eyes.
Having already mastered three languages (Spanish, English and French), Penelope Cruz learned Italian so that she could star in Don't Move, earning herself a David di Donatello award (the Italian Oscars).
2006 saw Cruz star in Bandidas with Salma Hayek, followed by a highly revered performance in Pedro Almodovar's Volver, which landed her an Oscar nomination, making her the first Spanish actress to be nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award.
Two years later, Penelope Cruz starred with Ben Kingsley in Isabel Coixet's Elegy, an English-speaking role that earned her a lot of praise. That year, she also starred in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a Woody Allen film, with Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson. Penelope Cruz won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the first Spanish actress to win the award. In 2009, Cruz worked with Almodovar once again, in Los Abrazos Rotos, along with Rossy de Palma and Blanca Portillo.
Penelope Cruz: Personal Life
Penelope Cruz dated Tom Cruise for three years after they starred in Vanilla Sky together. She then dated Matthew McConaughey, after appearing in Sahara together in 2005. In 2007, she started dating Javier Bardem.