Benicio Del Toro
Real name: Benicio Del Toro
Birthdate: February 19, 1967
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Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez (born February 19, 1967) is an Academy Award-winning Puerto Rican actor and film producer.
Del Toro was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico; his parents, Gustavo Adolfo del Toro Bermúdez and Fausta Sánchez Rivera, were both lawyers. He has an older brother, Gustavo, who is a pediatric oncologist. Del Toro's childhood nickname was "Skinny Benny". He attended Academia del Perpetuo Socorro (The Academy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help), a Roman Catholic school in Miramar, Puerto Rico. When he was nine years old, his mother died of hepatitis. At the age of thirteen, del Toro's father moved his two sons to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, where del Toro was enrolled at the Mercersburg Academy. He spent his adolescence and high school there.
After graduation, del Toro followed the advice of his father and pursued a degree in business at the University of California, San Diego. Success in an elective drama course encouraged him to drop out of college and study with noted acting teachers Stella Adler and Arthur Mendoza in Los Angeles, as well as at the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York. Del Toro hid his new career goals from his family until roles began to come his way.
His praised work swept all of the major critics awards in 2001, as well as the Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. In addition to the critical accolades, Traffic was also a success at the box office, bringing to del Toro real Hollywood clout for the first time in his career. While Traffic was still playing in theaters, two other del Toro films were released in late 2000/early 2001. He had a brief role as the diamond thief Franky Four Fingers in Guy Ritchie's hip caper comedy Snatch, and played a mentally-challenged Native American man in The Pledge, directed by his old friend Sean Penn.
All of this attention helped to cement Benicio's status as a sex symbol. He was placed on People magazine's annual "50 Most Beautiful People" list. While his looks have led to comparisons with Marlon Brando and James Dean, he has been jokingly referred as the "Spanish Brad Pitt". In 2003, del Toro appeared in two films: The Hunted, co-starring Tommy Lee Jones, and the drama 21 Grams, an acting tour-de-force, co-starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. He went on to garner another Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his work in the latter.
His most recent role was in the film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel Sin City, directed by Robert Rodriguez.
In 2001, del Toro became the fourth Oscar winner whose winning role was a character who speaks predominantly in a foreign language (most of del Toro's dialogue is in Spanish). Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, and Roberto Benigni are the other three. Del Toro is also the third Puerto Rican actor to win an Oscar. The other two were actors Jose Ferrer and Rita Moreno. The night he won his Oscar, it was the first time that two actors born in Puerto Rico were nominated in the same category (The other actor was Joaquin Phoenix for his role in Gladiator).