Latin Movie Stars

Thursday, March 31 by Tom Gordon

Latin movie stars were few and far between for much of the '50s, '60s, '70s and 80s, but a new wave of Latin movie stars were appearing in high-profile movies in the '90s. Brilliant actors like Javier Bardem, Benicio del Toro, Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz became mainstream stars appearing in a wide range of films.

  1. Salma Hayek A gorgeous and an excellent actress, Hayek has been at home in historical dramas ("Frida"), comedies ("Dogma" and "Grown-Ups"), horror flicks ("From Dusk, 'Til Dawn") and action movies ("Once Upon a Time in Mexico"). Since the mid-'90s she's been one of the most popular Latin movie stars around.
  2. Antonio Banderas Hayek's co-star in "Desperado," Banderas has proved to be more than just a handsome face. He's starred in a Broadway musical ("Nine") and loaned his voice to Puss 'n Boots in the "Shrek" films.
  3. Benicio del Toro As versatile an actor as there is in Hollywood, as well as one of the most high-profile Latin movie stars, del Toro has been great in movies including "The Usual Suspects," "Traffic," "Things We Lost In the Fire," "21 Grams," "Che" and "The Wolfman."
  4. Ricardo Montalban If only for his role as Khan in the film, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," Montalban deserves a spot on this list. He was primarily a TV actor appearing in countless series including the classic "Fantasy Island," but he also popped up in an odd mix of films like "Sweet Charity" and "Escape from Planet of the Apes."
  5. Penelope Cruz Like Hayek, Cruz has often gotten more attention for her stunning good looks. But also like Hayek, she has been one of the most consistently hard-working Latin movie stars in Hollywood with more than 40 movies to her credit between 1992 and 2011. Some of her best work has been in films directed by Pedro Almodovar such as "Volver" and "All About My Mother."
  6. Eva Mendes Born in Miami but of Cuban heritage, the beautiful Eva Mendes had breakout role in "Training Day" and went on to movies like "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," "Hitch" and "The Other Guys" where she plays the out-of-his-league wife of Will Ferrell's doofus cop character.
  7. Javier Bardem One of the most acclaimed Latin actors ever, Bardem has won numerous awards and collected well-deserved reviews for his performances in movies such as "No Country for Old Men," "Biutiful" and "Before Night Falls."
  8. Anthony Quinn Born in Mexico but of Irish and Mexican descent, Quinn became most famous playing Greeks in movies like "Zorba the Greek" and "The Guns of Navarone."
  9. Rita Moreno One of the great underrated beauties of the 1950s and 1960s, the Puerto Rican Moreno played a Siamese princess in "The King and I," but won an Oscar playing the fiery Anita in "West Side Story" and even had a recurring role on the TV series "Oz."
  10. Jennifer Lopez Born in New York but of Puerto Rican descent, JLo had her biggest successes as a recording star and as a judge on "American Idol." But the sexy star has made some well-received movies like the very good "Out of Sight" with George Clooney, chick flicks like "The Wedding Planner" and "Maid in Manhattan," and the vastly underrated "An Unfinished Life" with Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman.
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