Thursday, January 1, 2009

Penelope Cruz

Birthname: Penolope Cruz Sonchez
Date of birth: 1974-04-28
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Height: 5' 55''
Nationality: Spanish
Profession: Actress, Model

Penélope Cruz Sánchez (born April 28, 1974 in Madrid, Spain), better known as Penélope Cruz (colloquially shortened to Pe), is a Spanish actress. Originally a dancer, she soon moved into Spanish television, and since then she has appeared in a string of films, in Spanish, English, French and Italian, with relative success and some awards.


Early life

Cruz was born in Madrid and was named after a song by Joan Manuel Serrat. Her parents are Eduardo Cruz, a retailer, and Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser. She was a dancer as a child and young teen. She completed 2º B.U.P. (2nd year of secondary school), but dropped out of school at the age of 15 after she beat more than 300 other girls in a dance competition. She received nine years of classic ballet training at the Conservatorio Nacional in Madrid, four years of dance performance with several dance courses at the Cristina Rota School in New York, and three years of Spanish Ballet with Ángela Garrido. She also had jazz dance courses with Raúl Caballero.


Cruz first achieved fame when she appeared in the video clip La fuerza del destino for the Spanish synthpop group Mecano. She later started a relationship with Nacho Cano, a member of the group.
She was a TV presenter for the teen-oriented program La Quinta Marcha.
Cruz's first major films were Jamón, Jamón and Belle Epoque, a film which won an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film.
In 1997, she starred as Sofía alongside Eduardo Noriega in Abre los Ojos, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, and in 2000 she appeared with Matt Damon in All the Pretty Horses (film). In 1999, she appeared in Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre, which won an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film.
In early 2001, she appeared in the film Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, which sparked a supposed three-year relationship with the actor. Vanilla Sky was the Hollywood remake of Abre los Ojos ("Open Your Eyes"), and she played the same part in both films.

Personal life

Cruz has a younger brother Eduardo, who is a singer, and a younger sister Mónica Cruz, who closely resembles her: a similarity exploited for some Spanish TV ads. In the 2000s, Mónica left her dancing career and achieved note on her own in the youth-oriented TV series Un Paso Adelante. They are also distant cousins of Alexandra Cruz.
She has been a vegetarian since 2000.
She speaks four languages: Spanish, Italian, French and English. She learned Italian because she wanted a part in the 2004 movie Non ti muovere, and she went on to win the Italian equivalent of the Oscars for Best Actress.
She has donated a considerable amount of money and time to charity. In 1997 she volunteered in Uganda for two months.
After appearing in 2001 in the film Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, they had a three year relationship. Cruise and Cruz split in January 2004.
After filming Sahara in February 2005, she started dating actor Matthew McConaughey. In May 2006, they released a joint statement to People, saying that they "have decided to take time off as a couple. Due to busy work schedules and so much time apart, they mutually decided four weeks ago that separating was the best thing to do at this time."
Spanish press has been linking Cruz to Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, whom she co-stars in the upcoming film Manolete. Cruz herself has denied the rumors.
Cruz is best friends with actress/producer, Salma Hayek. The two co-stared in the 2006 movie Bandidas. 

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