Benicio Del Toro
Monday, June 23, 2008
Born Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sanchez on February 19, 1967 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Benicio Del Toro is a multi-awarded actor who has won an Academy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA awards. He is most well-known for his role in The Usual Suspects.
The son of lawyers, Del Toro was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school in Miramar, Puerto Rico called Academia del Perpetuo Socorro. His family moved to Pennsylvania when he was 13, after his mom died of hepatitis four years ago. Del Toro then attended Mercersburg Academy. Upon the advice of his father, he became a business major at the University of California in San Diego. An elective drama course, however, encouraged him to drop out of college and study acting.
Del Toro’s venture to the entertainment industry began in the late 1980s as he played mostly villain roles in television, such as in Miami Vice and Drug Wars: The Camarena Story. He then went on to star in his first movie, Big Top Pee-wee and later on in the James Bond picture License to Kill, where he became the youngest actor to play a Bond villain at 21. From 1991 onwards, he appeared in a string of movies, such as The Indian Runner, China Moon, Money for Nothing, Fearless, and Swimming with Sharks.
Yet it was his breakout performance in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects that established Del Toro’s acting career. His surrealist movie called Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas earned a cult following over the years. His next films, namely The Way of the Gun and Traffic, were critically acclaimed, the last one winning him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The awards and the box office status earned Del Toro the status as a sex symbol, and People named him one of its 50 Most Beautiful People, at times called the Spanish Brad Pitt.