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.
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.
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.
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.
Penelope Cruz - Penelope Cruz attends the 29th Goya Awards at the Principe Felipe Convention Center. The Goya Awards recognize outstanding achievements in Spanish film. - Madrid, Spain - Saturday 7th February 2015
Penelope Cruz is reportedly in talks to star in 'Zoolander 2'.
Penelope Cruz at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in March.
Continue reading: Penelope Cruz Set To Join Ben Stiller In 'Zoolander 2'
The Spanish actress is the 11th starlet to earn the accolade, previous winners include Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson.
Despite the fact that Penelope Cruz turned 40 years-old in April and is a mother of two children, whom she shares with husband Javier Bardem, the veteran actress still remains one of Hollywood's most beautiful women.
Cruz has been named Esquire magazine's 2014 "Sexiest Woman Alive"
However, Esquire thinks Cruz's beauty deserves to be recognized on a global scale, therefore the magazine has named her 2014's "Sexiest Woman Alive." The Spanish star is the 11th female to earn the accolade, previous winners include Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson.
Continue reading: Esquire Magazine Name Penelope Cruz 2014's 'Sexiest Woman Alive'
A study has found that non-white ethnic groups were severely underrepresented in Hollywood in 2013, indicating deep-seated issues regarding inclusion and equality at the heart of the movie industry.
'12 Years a Slave' - an Oscar winner with a predominantly black cast. But Hollywood is still far, far behind
The study found that, while America’s population includes a large Hispanic population – more than 16% - only 4.9% played speaking parts in blockbuster movies from 2013. Black actors were cast in 14.1% of roles and 17% of films had no black speaking characters.
Continue reading: Non-White Ethnic Groups Dangerously Under/Misepresented in Hollywood
While the Gaza conflict enters a brief cease-fire, Hollywood stars are generating headlines.
Several Hollywood big names have already spoken out on Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem’s open letter on the Israel-Palestine conflict, including Jon Voight, and now, Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.
Bardem [l] and Cruz [r] had to defend themselves against accusations of anti-semitism.
Last week, the Hollywood power couple gave their backing, along with Pablo Almodover and other luminaries of the Spanish entertainment industry to the letter, which denounced Israel’s actions in Gaza and the resulting civilian casualties as “genocide”. In the following days, Cruz and Bardem each released a statement, clarifying their intentions.
Mason and Voight responded to an open letter co-signed by Bardem and Cruz criticising Israeli tactics
Hollywood celebrities have never been ones to shy away from getting involved with foreign policy and world affairs, and the current bloodshed in Gaza is stirring similar bouts of activism from the great and good in the movie industry.
Following Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem’s signatures to an open letter published in El Diario last week condemning Israel’s military actions, comedian Jackie Mason has criticised those celebrities who are blaming Israel for the crisis.