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Penelope Cruz Biography

Penelope Cruz was born on April 28, 1974 to Eduardo, a merchant and a hairdresser in Madrid, Spain. Penelope was one of three children, brother Eduardo an dsister M�nica. She was named in memory of a Joan Manuel Serrat song.

Penelope attended High School, but didn't finish, choosing to concentrate more on ballet and jazz. She had ten years of classic ballet and three years of Spanish ballet. Her studies took her to four years of Theatre at Cristina Rota's school in New York.

She broke into acting in 1992. That year, she had starring roles in Jam�n Jam�n and Belle Epoque. Jam�n Jam�n (Ham Ham is the English title) cast her as the desperately poor daughter of a village prostitute, while Belle Epoque featured her as one of four lusty daughters of a wealthy man in pre-Franco Spain. Belle Epoque was a critical smash, winning nine Goya Awards, which is essentially the Spanish equivelant of the Oscars, and it did win an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. The success of this film thrust Cruz into the International spotlight, proving to be a huge stepping stone towards success.

It wasn't until 1998, however, that Cruz had her first starring role in an English language film. She played the Mexican-American love interest in Stephen Frears' The Hi-Lo Country. Cruz donated her entire salary from this film to Mother Theresa's charity. Later in the year, she had another English film in the romantic comedy Twice Upon a Yesterday.

She returned to Spain in 1999, to work again with Almodovar on Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother), a critically acclaimed film that landed in Cannes that year. She also began work on her biggest project to date, All the Pretty Horses, which costars Matt Damon. The movie debuted in the year 2000.


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