José Antonio Domínguez Banderas is one of Spain’s most famous exports. Best known as an actor, he is also a singer, film director and producer who lives and works in Hollywood. He has recently separated from the actress Melanie Griffith with whom he has a daughter Estrella.
Son of a policeman and school teacher, Antonio became involved in acting from an early age and moved to Madrid at the age of 19. During the years of the Madrid “movida” he started working in theatre before being chosen by Pedro Almodóvar to work in his early films, including “Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown” which was nominated for an Oscar as the best non-English speaking film. At the same time he worked for other Spanish directors in both serious and comic films. His image as a “latin lover” was enhanced by his appearance in a bedroom scene in a documentary film made by Madonna entitled “Truth or Dare” during which she claims to have tried to seduce him, but failed.
Antonio’s first English speaking role was in “The Mambo Kings” in 1992, for which he had to learn his likes phonetically as he spoke very little English. Next came the important role as Tom Hank’s homosexual partner in “Philadelphia” in 1993. Since then he has worked mainly in English speaking cinema and has become a household name for his roles in “Spy Kids” “The Mask of Zorro” amongst many others.
He proved himself as a singer in the film “Desperado” in 2003 in which he sang the famous Mariachi song. He worked with Madonna in the film version of the musical “Evita” and performed “The Phantom of the Opera” with Sarah Brightman to great acclaim.
He returned to the Spanish cinema in 2011 to make the Almodóvar film “La Piel que Habito” (The Skin I Live In) in which he plays an obsessive plastic surgeon. Within Spain he has managed to maintain his image as a local boy made good, with none of the pretentiousness that some of his fellow Spaniards in Hollywood have been accused of. partly because of his friendly relationship with the media and also because of his devotion to the Easter processions in his home city of Málaga in which he participates every year.