Penelope Cruz Biography

Why Is She Famous?

Aside from having been romantically linked to some of the biggest actors in Hollywood, Penelope Cruz has appeared in a number of successful films, such as Blow (2001), Vanilla Sky (2001), Volver (2006), and The Good Night (2007). Able to jump from Spanish to English rose with ease, Penelope is the ultimate Hollywood Latin beauty, with oodles of talent to boot.

Penelope Cruz

Name : Penelope Cruz

Name At Birth : Penelope Cruz Sanchez

Date of Birth : 28 April 1974

Place of Birth : Madrid, Spain

Height : 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Weight : 47Kg

Nickname : Pe, Madonna of Madrid

Eyes : Hazel

Hair : Brown

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Father : Eduardo Cruz (auto mechanic)

Mother : Encarna Cruz (hairdresser manager)

Sister : Monica (professional flamenco dancer)

Brother : Eduardo Jr

Education : Secondary Studies (dropped out)

National Conservatory Madrid Spain (majored in Classical Ballet)

Cristina Rota's School in Nueva York (4 years

Mailing Address:

Penelope Cruz
c/o Creative Artists Agency
2000 Avenue Of The Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

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Penelope Cruz Biography:

Penelope Cruz Sanchez was born on April 28, 1974, in Madrid, Spain. She displayed a proclivity for performance while she was still in diapers, as she would often entertain her family members by re-enacting popular TV commercials. She eventually transferred this enthusiasm to the world of dance, and she subsequently studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain’s prestigious National Conservatory. Penelope Cruz seemed well on her way towards a career as a dancer, though there did come a point at which she was unexpectedly bitten by the acting bug.

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penelope cruz appears in belle epoque
While still in her teens, Penelope Cruz embarked on a quest to establish herself as an actress -- with her professional debut coming in 1991 with a guest appearance on a French soap entitled Softly from Paris. While that appearance hardly brought her visibility, Penelope Cruz’s first film role in 1992’s Jamon, jamon brought her to the attention of movie fans across the globe. The film, which co-stars Javier Bardem and was nominated for several Goya Awards, transformed Penelope Cruz into a sex symbol virtually overnight, while her starring role in the critically-acclaimed Belle epoque (released that same year) only cemented her status as one of Spain’s most intriguing up-and-coming performers.

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penelope cruz in open your eyes
Penelope Cruz spent the next several years working steadily in a number of Spanish-language films, including 1996’s La Celestina (alongside Maribel Verdu) and 1997’s Pedro Almodovar effort Live Flesh. It wasn’t until Penelope Cruz took on a role in the mind-bending 1997 flick Open Your Eyes that she once again found herself the focus of international attention, as the movie quickly became a cult classic thanks to its peculiar storyline and shocking conclusion. A year later, Penelope Cruz made her English-language debut with a small role opposite Billy Crudup and Woody Harrelson in The Hi-Lo Country, though it wasn’t until the new millennium that she finally began establishing herself among mainstream North American audiences.

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penelope cruz in blow

2000 proved to be the defining year of Penelope Cruz’s career, as the actress’ roles in Woman on Top and All the Pretty Horses propelled her to the top of Hollywood’s A-list. Though neither film was particularly successful, Penelope Cruz’s exotic looks and palpable abilities made her a hot commodity among some of the industry’s top directors and producers. Penelope’s output in 2001 was particularly prolific, as she appeared opposite Nicolas Cage in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Johnny Depp in Blow, Gael Garcia Bernal in Don’t Tempt Me, and Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky.

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penelope cruz in volver
Penelope Cruz’s return to Spanish-language cinema with 2006’s Volver garnered the actress some of the best reviews of her career, and she was even nominated for her first Academy Award (she ultimately lost to Helen Mirren, however). Her success with Volver lead to her roles in 2007's The Good Night alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Simon Pegg, as well as Manolete opposite Oscar award winner, Adrien Brody.

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penelope cruz in elegy
2008 looked to be just as bright for Penelope Cruz as she took on the role of Consuela Castillo in Elegy along with Ben Kingsley and Dennis Hopper. Based on a novel, Elegy is a dramatic movie particularly suited to Penelope's acting prowess.

Along with her casting calls, Penelope was also ranked as No. 58 in Maxim's Hot 100 of 2007 list, and was chosen by Empire magazine as being one of the 100 Sexiest Movie Stars in the world.

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After filming All the Pretty Horses (2000), she became a vegetarian.

It was rumored that she donated her entire The Hi-Lo Country (1998) salary to the Mother Teresa's children's sanctuary in Calcutta after spending a week there volunteering. This was later denounced by Cruz, according to a Reuters news article in 2001.

Daughter of Eduardo (merchant) and Encarna (hairdresser).

Brother, Eduardo.

Academic curriculum: Finished 2º B.U.P. (2nd. year of secondary school). Had 4 years of dance performance with Cristina Rota, several dance courses at New York, 9 years of classic ballet at the Conservatorio Nacional and 3 years of Spanish ballet with Ángela Garrido. Also had Jazz Dance course with Raúl Caballero.

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Volunteered in Uganda for 2 months in 1997 with then boyfriend Faiz Ahmad.

She founded a non-government organisation (NGO) called Sabera Foundation. Together with Nacho Cano and other Spanish entertainers, they have set up a home, a school and a clinic for homeless girls and people suffering from tuberculosis in Calcutta. Two documentary programs were made for Spanish TV on this project. Unfortunately differences of opinion caused a collapse in the project and Sabera Foundation tragically no longer exists.

Dated Tom Cruise. [2001-January 2004]

She was named after the song "Penélope" by Joan Manuel Serrat.

Her sister Mónica Cruz is now a TV star in Spain. She starred in "Paso adelante, Un" (2002) as a young dancer with a famous aunt.

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Voted the 7th Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.

Lived with Nacho Cano, Spanish musician, part of the trio (famous in Spain) called "Mecano", a pop music group. Penelope appeared in one of the band's video-clips "la Fuerza del Destino" and that's where her romance with one of the two Cano brothers that form part of the group along with the singer Ana Torroja begun.

Best friends with actresses Goya Toledo and Salma Hayek.

Ranked #23 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002).

Likes to keep stray cats.

Learned Italian because she wanted her part in the movie Non ti muovere (2004) really badly. It paid off and she went on to win the Italian equivalent of the Oscars for Best Actress.

Speaks four languages: Spanish, Italian, French and English.

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Was accompanied by Matthew McConaughey to the Grammy Awards in 2005. The couple met on the set of Sahara (2005).

Shares her birthday with Jessica Alba & Jay Leno

Spanish citizen.

Two of her boyfriends have been named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine: Tom Cruise (in 1990) and Matthew McConaughey (in 2005).

Sister of Monica Cruz

Bigas Luna was determined to have her starring as the lead character in the torrid Edades de Lulú, Las (1990), but Penélope was only 14. They agreed that she was too young for the role and Francesca Neri was cast instead. Two years later, Luna's fixation with Cruz resulted in her breakthrough performance in Jamón, jamón (1992), her first film, famous for her somewhat erotic scenes. They eventually collaborated again in Volavérunt (1999).

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Claims that Victoria Abril's powerful performance in Pedro Almodóvar's ¡Átame! (1990) ("Tie me up, tie me down!") determined her to become an actress.

Ranked as #51 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement. (2005)

She claims her role in Bigas Luna's Jamón, jamón (1992) psychologically scarred her for life. She was a teenager when she was cast in the film which required her to do nudity and sex scenes.

Named #72 in FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006" supplement. (2006).

Good friends with ex-boyfriend Tom Cruise. She was one of the first people to visit his new-born baby daughter Suri.

One of People magazines 50 Most Beautiful People in the world 2005.

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Sister of singer Eduardo Cruz and actress Mónica Cruz.

Second Spanish performer to be Oscar-nominated. The first one was Javier Bardem.

Is a fan of Indian cinema and has expressed interest in working with Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan someday.

Ranked #58 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.

Choosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Movie Stars in the world (#50) 2007.

In 2006, she was earning $2 million per year representing L'Oreal cosmetics.

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Personal Quotes:

The most difficult thing in the world is to start a career known only for your looks, and then to try to become a serious actress. No one will take you seriously once you are known as the pretty woman.

I'm strong and opinionated. Those qualities brought me a lot of problems since I was a little girl in school, saying 'I don't agree' and fighting with the children. It's part of my curiosity for life.

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There's so much more I want to do. I refuse to get to 50 and wait at home for the phone to ring. In Spain, actresses work until they are old. That's my plan.

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"I love Salma Hayek, we've been friends for a really long time. i admire how she has come such a long way and always remained grounded and who she is. She never compromises to follow her vision and she is loyal. Such qualities only mark the great stars".

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"I love the Italian culture, it's a beautiful culture. I love the language, the Italian people, their music, their attitudes...I just love it! Sometimes I think I'm an Italian trapped in a Spanish woman's body.

You cannot live your life looking at yourself from someone else's point of view.

--- Penelope Cruz