Penelope Cruz Sanchez was born on April 28, 1978 in Madrid, Spain to Eduardo and Encarna. Her father was a retailer, while her mother was a hairdresser. She has a brother, Eduardo and a sister, Monica. Although Cruz is now known as a “Spanish Enchantress” and the “Madonna of Madrid” outside of her native country, she grew up with the nickname “Pe”.
At a very early age Cruz was a compulsive performer. She would reenact television commercials for her families entertainment. Although she was a natural born actress, she focused her energies on dance. She studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain’s National Conservatory. She then continued training under a series of prominent dancers.
When Cruz was fifteen years old she heeded her true calling of acting. She out-performed 300 other girls during a talent agency audition. The results landed her several roles in Spanish Television shows and music videos. These roles paved the way for her career on the big screen.
Penelope Cruz made her movie debut in 1991 with the Spanish film El Laberinto Griego (The Greek Labyrinth). She then appeared briefly in Framed, a 1992 Timothy Dalton thriller. Her third film was Oscar winning, Belle e`poque in 1992. In this film she played one of four sisters who were vying for the love of a handsome Army deserter. She received several Goyas for this film. Goyas are the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards.
It wasn’t long before Cruz became the leading lady of Spanish cinema. Her resume continued to grow as she did three to four films a year. In 1997 Cruz worked with renowned Spanish director Pedro Almodlvar for the film Carne Tremula (Live Flesh). Pedro Almodlvar became Cruz’s ticket to international fame. The same year Cruz became the lead actress in Abre Los Ojos, which was a huge hit in Spain. The film earned eight Goyas although Cruz did not receive any. In 1998, her luck changed when she won a Goya for best actress for the film, La Nila de tus Ojos.
Penelope Cruz made international fame in 1999 with the big hit, Almodovar’s Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother). The film was showered with awards and accolades. Cruz quickly became a big demand on both sides of the Atlantic.
Her next big project was the 2000 American Comedy, Woman on Top. Also in 2000, she performed along side Matt Damon in Billy Bob Thorton’s, All the Pretty Horses.
In 2001 Cruz perfomed along side with Johnny Depp in the film Blow. Also in 2001, Cruz performed in the remake of the 1997 film Abre Los Ojos which was Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky.
In 2003’s Gothika, Cruz performed alongside Halle Berry. She also did Bob Dylan’s vanity-disaster, Masked and Anonymous.
In 2004 Cruz took on the roles in Chazz Palminteri’s Noel and alongside Charlize Theron in Head in the Clouds.
In 2005 she was cast opposite of Matthew McConaughey in Sahara.
Penelope Cruz has volunteered for NGO’s overseas and has donated her proceedings from certain films to charities. She also likes to keep stray cats.
She’s gorgeous, gifted and has a big heart. This international bombshell has climbed her way up from supporting actress to leading lady.