In honor of Oscar-nominated actor Antonio Banderas's 61st birthday on Aug. 10, 2021, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at his life and career in photos… As a boy growing up in Malaga, Spain, Antonio dreamed of becoming a soccer player — until he broke his foot at 14. That led him to get involved in the theater. He studied acting at the School of Dramatic Art in his hometown… and the rest is history! In the early '80s, he was performing with a theater company in Spain when he was discovered by Pedro Almodovar. The director cast him in 1982's "Labyrinth of Passion" — Antonio's film debut — and in 1986's "Matador," seen here.
Keep reading to see more of Antonio's life and career in photos…
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Antonio Banderas and Pedro Almodovar continued their working relationship in 1988's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," a movie that helped bring them both international recognition when it earned an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film. Antonio is seen here with co-star Maria Barranco.
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In the late '80s, Antonio Banderas married Spanish actress Ana Leza after reportedly dating for only six months. She accompanied him to the 1992 Academy Awards (seen here). They would separate a few years later, finalizing their divorce in 1996.
After starring in an Academy Award-nominated film, Antonio Banderas's next big move was starring in yet another Pedro Almodovar film — 1989's "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" This was the role that helped him transition to Hollywood. He's seen here in the movie with with co-star Victoria Abril.
Did you know Madonna helped introduced Antonio Banderas to American audiences? In her 1991 documentary "Truth or Dare," which chronicled her 1990 "Blonde Ambition" tour, Madonna spent quite a bit of time on camera obsessing over the Spanish actor, explaining how she couldn't wait to meet him when she attended a party in Madrid, where she had a tour stop. "Antonio Banderas is this Spanish actor that I've had a crush on for two years," Madonna said in the doc. "I've seen every movie that Antonio has ever done. I have to say he's one of the few actors that I was dying to meet." She intended, she confessed, "to make Antonio fall madly in love with me. Although there's this one major obstacle that I never really counted on: his wife." They're seen together here at an event in Beverly Hills in 1991.
In 1992, Antonio Banderas starred opposite Armand Assante — they're seen here flanking Desi Arnaz Jr. — in "The Mambo Kings" as a Cuban musician who flees Havana and heads to New York City with his brother in hopes of reviving his music career. It marked Antonio's first English-speaking role.
1993's "Philadelphia" helped make Antonio Banderas a household name. He played the lover of Tom Hanks' character, who has AIDS.
From Tom Hanks to the rest of the A-list! Next, Antonio Banderas landed a role in 1994's "Interview with the Vampire" alongside some of Hollywood's biggest names including Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. He's seen here at the premiere with his co-stars, who also included Christian Slater and a young Kirsten Dunst.
Thanks to his smoldering good looks and acting talents, by the mid-'90s, Antonio Banderas was an international heartthrob. He's seen here at a photocall for his movie "Desperado" at the Cannes Film Festival in France in May 1995 a few months before it hit theaters…
Antonio Banderas played the vengeful mariachi in "Desperado," which was released in August 1995. He starred alongside Salma Hayek in the flick — the second film in director Robert Rodriguez's Mexico Trilogy. Antonio and Robert would work together again in the future. That same year, Antonio also starred in "Assassins" opposite Sylvester Stallone.
New love! While shooting 1996's "Two Much" in 1995, Antonio Banderas fell for co-star Melanie Griffith. He was still married to Ana Leza — the Spanish actress later accused Melanie of "stealing" her husband — and Melanie was ending her marriage to actor Don Johnson for the second time. Antonio and Melanie are seen here stepping out together as a couple at the London premiere of "Haunted" in October 1995.
Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith tied the knot in May 1996 shortly after both of their divorces were finalized. She was pregnant with their daughter, Stella, at the time. The newlyweds are seen here at a Hollywood charity event in October 1996 just a month after welcoming their baby girl.
Antonio Banderas reunited with Madonna in the 1996 film "Evita." He played Che, the film's narrator. The performance earned him his very first Golden Globe nomination (for best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy).
Baby makes three! Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith welcomed daughter Stella del Carmen Banderas Griffith in September 1996 and doted on their little girl, who's seen here with them in January 1998. Melanie also had two children from previous relationships — son Alexander Bauer with actor Steven Bauer, who was born in 1985, and daughter Dakota Johnson with Don Johnson, who was born in 1989.
1998 saw Antonio Banderas take on the iconic role of Zorro in "The Mask of Zorro." He starred opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in the action film, which was a smash hit at the box office and earned him a best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy Golden Globe nomination. The film's success also inspired a sequel, "The Legend of Zorro," that debuted seven years later.
"The Mask of Zorro" ended up being such a hit that Antonio Banderas gave his cape and mask from the film to Planet Hollywood's memorabilia collection! He brought along daughter Stella and wife Melanie Griffith to the event a few weeks after its 1998 release.
Antonio Banderas moved behind the camera for the first time in 1999. He made his directorial debut with "Crazy in Alabama," which starred wife Melanie Griffith. Daughter Stella made her big-screen debut in the movie.
Doting stepdad! While attending the 2000 Academy Awards as a presenter, Antonio Banderas brought two dates — wife Melanie Griffith and stepdaughter (and future star!) Dakota Johnson.
It was time for a family-friendly film in 2001: Antonio Banderas signed on to star in Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids." The flick kicked off a franchise that saw Antonio returned for the 2002 and 2003 sequels, "The Island of Lost Dreams" and "Game Over," though he didn't take part in the final installment, 2011's "All the Time in the World."
Do-gooders! Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith received the Stella Adler Angel Award in 2002, a prize that recognized their extensive work in philanthropy.
Antonio Banderas made his Broadway debut in "Nine" in 2003 and delivered a Tony Award-nominated performance. The actor took on the role of Guido Contini in the musical, which also earned him a Drama Desk Award.
The same year Antonio Banderas made his Broadway debut, he also transitioned to television with the titular role in the HBO film "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself." The performance earned Antonio his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination (for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie) as well as a Golden Globe nomination (for best actor in a miniseries or television film).
Antonio Banderas picked up another award in 2003 — the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors presented him with the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence that year.
Antonio Banderas joined the "Shrek" franchise in 2004, taking on the voice role of Puss in Boots in "Shrek 2." He reprised the role in "Shrek the Third" in 2007 and in the last installment, "Shrek Forever After," in 2011.
2005 saw Antonio Banderas receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! He brought wife Melanie Griffith, stepdaughter Dakota Johnson and daughter Stella to the event that October.
In 2007, Antonio Banderas's transition to directing really paid off! That year, he won an award for directing at the Berlin International Film Festival for his film "Summer Rain."
2011 saw Antonio Banderas reunite with the man who helped launch his career. He once again worked with Pedro Almodovar that year to star in the thriller "The Skin I Live In."
In June 2014, Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith shocked Hollywood when they announced they'd split after 18 years of marriage. They cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason and their divorce was finalized a year and a half later in December 2015. They're seen here attending one of their final red carpet events together in November 2013.
Very soon after he split from Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas moved on and started dating Nicole Kimpel, a German-Dutch investment consultant who's 20 years his junior. The couple, seen here at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, have been together since 2014.
Antonio Banderas starred as Pablo Picasso on the National Geographic series "Genius" in 2018. The performance earned him an outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie Primetime Emmy nomination. He's seen here with girlfriend Nicole Kimpel at the 2018 Emmys.
At the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Antonio Banderas won a best actor prize for his work in "Pain and Glory." He starred alongside Penelope Cruz in the film, which reunited him with director Pedro Almodovar once again.
Antonio Banderas's performance in "Pain and Glory" was so stellar, it also earned him a Golden Globe nomination and his very first Academy Award nomination. He brought girlfriend Nicole Kimpel to the Oscars ceremony in February 2020.
Behind the camera! In December 2020, Antonio Banderas was on hand in Malaga, Spain, to promote his latest project — the Spanish series "Scene in Black and White" — for Amazon Prime Video. Instead of starring in the project, he produced it.
Antonio Banderas was on hand to host the Goya Awards — which honors the best Spanish films of the previous year — in March 2021. (He's seen here at a press conference promoting the event in February.) It was his first time hosting the prestigious annual show, which took place in his hometown of Malaga.
Antonio Banderas (center) reunited with Salma Hayek (for the seventh time!) for "Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard," which also starred Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was originally schedule for an August 2020 release but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually hit theaters in June 2021.