Javier Bardem

On this date in 1969, Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, Spain. The youngest of two older siblings, Bardem grew up in a family of actors (except his father, who was a businessman). His mother, Pilar, has acted in 123 different film and television roles, according to IMDB.com (as of January 2012). He began acting at age six in the Spanish television series, “El Pícaro" (1974). As a teen, Bardem acted in television and played rugby for Spain’s national team. The breakthrough role that launched him to international fame was his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas in “Before Night Falls” (2000). Exceptional performances followed in “The Dancer Upstairs” (2002), directed by John Malkovich, “Collateral” (2004), “Goya’s Ghosts” (2006), also starring Natalie Portman, “No Country for Old Men” (2007), “Love in the Time of Cholera” (2007), Woody Allen’s “Vicky Christina Barcelona” (2008), “Biutiful” (2010) and “Eat Pray Love” (2010). He won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “No Country for Old Men” and was nominated in 2011 in the Best Actor category for “Biutiful.”

An article in The Independent (U.K.) refers to Bardem’s turning point with religion: “Now an atheist, he experienced the loss of his father when he was 25. ‘I wasn't a very committed Catholic before, but when that happened it suddenly all felt so obvious: I now believe religion is our attempt to find an explanation; to feel more protected’ “ (“People watch me. I feel absurd,” Jan. 16, 2011). After the 2005 legalization of same sex marriage in Spain, Bardem stated if he were a homosexual he would “get married tomorrow just to fuck with the church,” (translated from mañana mismo, sólo para joder a la Iglesia)( "Sólo para joder a la Iglesia," Univision.com, date unknown). The extraordinarily talented actor has been married to actress Penelope Cruz since 2010, and they have one son together.

“I always say, ‘I don't believe in God, I believe in Al Pacino’ - and that's true.”

—Javier Bardem in Time Magazine, “10 questions for Javier Bardem,” Aug. 14, 2008

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch; Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

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