Jose Antonio Dominguez Banderas was born on August 10, 1960 in Malaga, Spain, during the height of the oppressive regime of tyrannical leader Francisco Franco. He was named after his father, Jose, and his mother’s beloved brother, Antonio. His mother, Ana, was a school teacher. The birth of his brother, Francisco Javier, better known as Chico, came just eighteen months later.
Antonio knew fairly early in life that he wanted to be an actorAntonio enrolled in drama classes - against his parents’ wishes - and put together a group of other young thespians to form his own troupe. The crew traveled to little towns all over Spain performing on the streets. In 1981 he moved to Madrid and won a place as an ensemble member of the esteemed National Theater of Spain. Being a struggling young actor he also worked as a waiter and took small modeling jobs to provide for himself.After a performance at the theater, Antonio was introduced to Pedro Almod-var, a radical young film director. Pedro was one of the most outrageous and talented of an emerging breed of cinematic pioneers and wanted Antonio to help him forge a new film industry. They joined forces and made several respectable and controversial movies. It was the 1988 hit “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” that brought Banderas international attention
American director, Arne Glimcher, cast Antonio in “The Mambo Kings” even though Banderas couldn’t speak English. Antonio was determined to conquer the language barrier and learned all his lines phonetically. He also took intensive English lessons at a Berlitz school. Motivated by a frantic desire to learn and to succeed, he delivered a stunningly deep rendering of his lines that won him high praise for his performance. His next flick was “Philadelphia” and offered up a remarkably creditable performance as Tom Hanks understanding lover. He went on to play in a string of movies that brought out even more of his incredible talent such as “The House of the Spirits” (1993), “Interview With the Vampire” (1994), “Desperado” (1995), and “Assassins” (1995). He also showed his incredible talent for dance and singing in the musical “Evita” with Madonna.In 1995 Antonio and Melanie Griffith stared in the flick “Two Much” and became romantically linked. After a whirl wind romance, and to the surprise of many, were married in May of 1996. The couple welcomed the birth of their first child, Stella del Carmen, the following September. The family has two home bases and as he stated in one article “Melanie and I have two lives, a professional one that we developed in Los Angeles—apart from which it’s the city where Melanie was raised, and the other, more familial, in our house in Spain where we live when we don’t work.” His wish is to impart the best of both worlds into his daughter. “I wanted that she have a marked Spanish character and that she speak the two languages very well. And clearly that she will respect her Anglo-Saxon side” he has stated.