Penelope Sky Biography & Facts
Penélope Cruz Sánchez (; Spanish: [peˈnelope ˈkɾuθ ˈsantʃeθ]; born 28 April 1974) is a Spanish actress and model. 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 (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). Cruz is also known for her frequent collaborations with director Pedro Almodóvar in Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999), Volver (2006), Broken Embraces (2009), I'm So Excited! (2013), Julieta (2016), Pain and Glory (2019), and Parallel Mothers (2021), as well as with director Woody Allen in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and To Rome with Love (2012). She is the recipient of various accolades, including a BAFTA Film Award and an Academy Award from three nominations.
Cruz achieved international recognition for her lead roles in the 2000-2001 films Vanilla Sky, All the Pretty Horses, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and Blow. Cruz appeared in various films from a wide range of genres, including the comedy Waking Up in Reno (2002), the thriller Gothika (2003), the Christmas film Noel (2004), the action-adventure films Sahara (2005) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), the crime drama The Counselor (2013), and the mystery film Murder on the Orient Express (2017). She received critical acclaim for her roles in Volver (2006) and Nine (2009), earning Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for each. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2008 for playing volatile painter María Elena in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She is the first and only Spanish actress to both win and be nominated for an Academy Award, as well as the first Spanish actress to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2018, Cruz made her American television debut as Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace in the FX series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, for which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
Cruz has modelled for Mango, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and L'Oréal, and along with her younger sister Mónica Cruz, also designed clothing for Mango. Cruz has volunteered in Uganda and India, where she spent one week working with Mother Teresa; she donated her salary from The Hi-Lo Country to help fund the late nun's mission.
Cruz was born in the town of Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain to Encarna Sánchez, an Andalusian hairdresser and personal manager, and Eduardo Cruz, an Extremaduran 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 said 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, studying 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 said 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."Her father, Eduardo, died at his home in Spain in 2015, aged 62, from a heart attack.
1989-1997: Early work
In 1989, 15-year-old Cruz made her acting debut in a music video for the Spanish pop group Mecano's song "La Fuerza del Destino". Between 1990 and 1991, she hosted the Spanish TV channel Telecinco's talk show La Quinta Marcha, a programme that was hosted by teenagers, aimed at a teenage audience. She also played in the "Elle et lui" episode of an erotic French TV series called Série rose in 1991, where she appeared nude. In 1991, Cruz made her feature film debut as the lead female role in the comedy drama art house film Jamón, jamón. In the film, she portrayed Silvia, a young woman who is expecting her first child with a man whose mother does not approve of the relationship and attempts to sabotage it by paying Javier Bardem's character to seduce her. People magazine noted that after Cruz appeared topless in the film, she became "a major sex symbol". In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News in 1999, Cruz commented that "it was a great part, but...I wasn't really ready for the nudity. [...] But I have no regrets because I wanted to start working and it changed my life." Charlie Rose of 60 Minutes noted that Cruz "became an overnight sensation as much for her nude scenes as for her talent". When Rose asked Cruz if she was concerned about how she would be perceived after her role in the film, Cruz replied, "I just knew I had to do the complete opposite." Jamón, jamón received favorable reviews, with Chris Hicks of the Deseret News describing Cruz's portrayal of Silvia as "enchanting". Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert wrote "it stars actors of considerable physical appeal, most particularly Penélope Cruz as Silvia". For her performance, Cruz was nominated for a Spanish Actors Union Newcomer Award and a Goya Award for Best Actress. The same year she appeared in the Academy Award-winning Belle Époque as the virginal Luz. People magazine noted that Cruz's role as Luz showed that she was versatile.From 1993 to 1996, Cruz appeared in ten Spanish and Italian films. At 20, she went to live in New York for two years at Christopher and Greenwich to study ballet and English between films. She recalls learning English "kind of late", previously knowing only the dialogue she had learned for the casting and the phrases "How are you?" and "Thank you".In 1997, Cruz appeared.... Discover the Penelope Sky popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Penelope Sky books.