Penélope Cruz is a Spanish actress and model. She won an Academy Award, and also was one of first Spanish actress to do so, for her performance in the film Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008).
Signed by an agent at the age of 15, she made her acting debut at 16 on television, and her feature film debut the following year in Jamón Jamón in 1992.
Her subsequent roles in the 1990s and 2000s included Belle Époque (1992), Open Your Eyes (1997), The Hi-Lo Country (1999), The Girl of Your Dreams (2000), and Woman on Top (2000).
Penélope achieved recognition for her lead roles in the 2001 films Vanilla Sky, All the Pretty Horses, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Blow. She has three Academy Award nominations, and one won.
- Full name: Penélope Cruz Sánchez
- Born: 28 April 1974 (age 45 years), Alcobendas, Spain
- Height: 1.68 m
- Spouse: Javier Bardem (m. 2010)
- Children: Luna Encinas Cruz, Leo Encinas Cruz
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About Penélope Cruz
Penélope was born on 28 April 1974, in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain. She is the daughter of Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser and personal manager, and Eduardo Cruz, a retailer and car mechanic.
She has two siblings, Mónica, also an actress, and Eduardo, a singer. She also has a paternal half-sister, Salma.
She was raised as a Roman Catholic. Cruz grew up in Alcobendas, and spent long hours at her grandmother’s apartment. She says she had a happy childhood.
Cruz remembers “playing with some friends and being aware that I was acting as I was playing with them. I would think of a character and pretend to be someone else.”
Initially, Cruz focused on dance, having studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain’s National Conservatory. She took three years of Spanish ballet training and four years of theatre at Cristina Rota’s school.
She says that ballet instilled in her discipline that would be important in her future acting career. When she became a cinephile at 10 or 11, her father bought a Betamax machine, which was then a very rare thing to own in her neighborhood.
As a teenager, Cruz became interested in acting after seeing the film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990) by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar.
She did casting calls for an agent but was rejected multiple times because the agent felt that she was too young. Cruz commented on the experience, “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.”
Cruz married her Vicky Cristina Barcelona co-star, Spanish actor Javier Bardem, in 2010.
Her father, Eduardo, died at his home in Spain in 2015, aged 62, from a heart attack.