José Antonio Domínguez Banderas (born 10 August 1960), better known as Antonio Banderas, is a Spanish actor, director, and producer. 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 also portrayed 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 on 10 August 1960, in Benalmádena, Málaga, Andalucía, Spain, the son of Ana Banderas Gallego, a school teacher, and José Domínguez, a police officer in the Guardia Civil. He has a younger brother, Javier. Although his father’s 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 (soccer) player until a broken foot sidelined his dreams at the age of fourteen. He showed a strong interest in the performing arts and formed part of the ARA Theatre-School ran by Ángeles Rubio-Argüelles y Alessandri (wife of diplomat, writer and film director Edgar Neville) and the College of Dramatic Art, both in Málaga. His work in the theater, and his performances on the streets, eventually landed him a spot with the Spanish National Theatre.
He has invested some of his film earnings in Andalusian products, which he promotes in Spain and the US. He owns 50% of a winery in Villalba de Duero, Burgos, Spain, called Anta Banderas, which produces red and rosé wines.
He performed a voice-over for a computer-animated bee which can be seen in the United States in television commercials for Nasonex, an allergy medication, and was seen in the 2007 Christmas advertising campaign for Marks & Spencer, a British retailer.
He is a veteran of the perfume industry. The actor has been working with fragrance and beauty multinational company Puig for over ten years becoming one of the brand’s most successful representatives. Banderas and Puig have successfully promoted a number of fragrances so far – Diavolo, Diavolo for Women, Mediterraneo, Spirit, and Spirit for Women. After the success of Antonio for Men and Blue Seduction for Men in 2007, launched his latest Blue Seduction for Women the following year.
Banderas married Ana Leza on 27 July 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 14 May 1996, he married Griffith in a private, low-key ceremony in London. They have a daughter, Stella del Carmen 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.
In 1996, Banderas appeared among other figures of Spanish culture in a video supporting the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party lists in the general election.
In 2013, he called on Europe and the United States to emulate Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and nationalize big corporations as a solution to the global economic crisis.
A longtime supporter of Málaga CF, he is also an officer (mayordomo de trono) of a Roman Catholic religious brotherhood in Málaga and travels during Holy Week to take part in the processions, although in an interview with People magazine, Banderas had once described himself as an agnostic.
In May 2010, Banderas received his honorary doctorate from the University of Málaga in the city where he was born.
Banderas has always struggled with the pronunciation of certain English words, as he mentioned in a 2011 article with GQ Magazine. “The word that really gets me is animals, I just can never say it properly, whenever it is in a film I have to get it changed for a synonym.” “In Zorro I had a line changed from ‘You look like a bunch of animals’ to ‘you look like a collection of beasts’ it worked much better, so I don’t care”.
In August 2015, Banderas enrolled in a fashion design course at Central Saint Martins.