Benicio Del Toro life and biography

Benicio Del Toro picture, image, poster

Benicio Del Toro biography

Date of birth : 1967-02-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nationality : Puerto-Rican
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-12-09
Credited as : Actor and film producer, Traffic 2000, Sin City 2005, The Wolfman 2010

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Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez is an Academy Award-winning Puerto Rican actor and film producer.

Early Years

Del Toro was born in Miramar, 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 was raised Catholic and 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.


His career gained momentum in 1995 with his breakout performance in The Usual Suspects, where he played the mumbling, wisecracking Fred Fenster. The role won him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor and established him as a character actor. This led to more strong roles in independent and major studio films, including playing Gaspare in Abel Ferrara's The Funeral (1996) and winning a second consecutive Best Supporting Actor Independent Spirit Award for his work as Benny Dalmau in Basquiat (1996), directed by his friend, artist Julian Schnabel. Del Toro also shared the screen with Robert De Niro in the big budget thriller The Fan, in which he played Juan Primo, a charismatic Mexican baseball star.

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 roles were in the film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel Sin City, directed by Robert Rodriguez, and Things We Lost in the Fire, the English language debut of celebrated Danish director Susanne Bier. Things We Lost in the Fire co-starred Halle Berry, Alison Lohman, and John Carroll Lynch.

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).

Some other films include Snatch (2000, starring Brad Pitt), 21 Grams (2004, with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts), Sin City (2005, with Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis) Che (2008, Steven Soderbergh's biopic of Che Guevara) and The Wolfman (2010, with Anthony Hopkins).


1988 Big Top Pee-wee
1989 Licence to Kill
1991 The Indian Runner
1992 Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
1993 Fearless ; Huevos de oro ; Money for Nothing
1994 Swimming with Sharks ; China Moon
1995 The Usual Suspects
1996 The Funeral ; The Fan ; Cannes Man ; Basquiat ; Joyride
1997 Excess Baggage
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
2000 Traffic ; The Way of the Gun ; Snatch ; Bread and Roses
2001 The Pledge
2003 21 Grams ; The Hunted
2005 Sin City
2007 Things We Lost in the Fire
2008 Che
2010 The Wolfman

Tv Series:

1987 Miami Vice ; Private Eye
1990 Drug Wars: The Camarena Story
1994 Tales from the Crypt
1995 Fallen Angels

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