The Most Famous

ACTORS from Spain

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This page contains a list of the greatest Spanish Actors. The pantheon dataset contains 10,030 Actors, 127 of which were born in Spain. This makes Spain the birth place of the 11th most number of Actors behind Italy and Australia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Spanish Actors of all time. This list of famous Spanish Actors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Spanish Actors.

Photo of Antonio Banderas

1. Antonio Banderas (1960 - )

With an HPI of 75.72, Antonio Banderas is the most famous Spanish Actor.  His biography has been translated into 83 different languages on wikipedia.

José Antonio Domínguez Bandera (born 10 August 1960), known professionally as Antonio Banderas, is a Spanish actor. Known for his work in films of several genres, he has received various accolades, including a Cannes Film Festival Award and a European Film Award, in addition to nominations for an Academy Award, a Tony Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and five Golden Globe Awards. Banderas began his acting career with a series of films by director Pedro Almodóvar in the 1980s; he then appeared in several Hollywood films, such as Philadelphia (1993), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Desperado (1995), Assassins (1995), Evita (1996), and The Mask of Zorro (1998). he also appeared in the Spy Kids series and provided the voice of Puss in Boots in the Shrek franchise and its spin-off film Puss in Boots in 2011. In 2003, Banderas made his US theatre debut as Guido Contini in Nine, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award and won a Drama Desk Award. He received Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his roles in the television film And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2004) and the second season of Genius (2018); his portrayal of Pablo Picasso in the latter garnered him critical praise. For the 2019 film Pain and Glory, Banderas earned the Cannes Film Festival Award, European Film Award and Goya Award for Best Actor, and received nominations for the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.

Photo of Carmen Amaya

2. Carmen Amaya (1913 - 1963)

With an HPI of 72.60, Carmen Amaya is the 2nd most famous Spanish Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Carmen Amaya (2 November 1913 – 19 November 1963) was a Spanish Romani flamenco dancer and singer, born in the Somorrostro district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. She has been called "the greatest Flamenco dancer ever and "the most extraordinary personality of all time in flamenco dance." She was the first female flamenco dancer to master footwork previously reserved for the best male dancers, due to its speed and intensity. She sometimes danced in high-waisted trousers as a symbol of her strong character.

Photo of Fernando Rey

3. Fernando Rey (1917 - 1994)

With an HPI of 72.27, Fernando Rey is the 3rd most famous Spanish Actor.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Fernando Casado Arambillet (20 September 1917 – 9 March 1994), best known as Fernando Rey, was a Spanish film, theatre, and television actor, who worked in both Europe and the United States. A suave, international actor best known for his roles in the films of surrealist director Luis Buñuel (Tristana, 1970; Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972; That Obscure Object of Desire, 1977) and as the drug lord Alain Charnier in The French Connection (1971) and French Connection II (1975), he appeared in more than 150 films over half a century. The debonair Rey was described by French Connection producer Philip D'Antoni as "the last of the Continental guys". He achieved his greatest fame after he turned 50: "Perhaps it is a pity that my success came so late in life", he told the Los Angeles Times. "It might have been better to have been successful while young, like El Cordobés in the bullring. Then your life is all before you to enjoy it."

Photo of Penélope Cruz

4. Penélope Cruz (1974 - )

With an HPI of 71.98, Penélope Cruz is the 4th most famous Spanish Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 93 different languages.

Penélope Cruz Sánchez (; Spanish: [peˈnelope ˈkɾuθ ˈsantʃeθ]; born 28 April 1974) is a Spanish actress. Known for her roles in films of several genres, particularly those in the Spanish language, she has received various accolades, including an Academy Award and a British Academy Film Award, in addition to nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award, four Golden Globe Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. Signed by an agent at age 15, Cruz made her acting debut at 16 on television, and her feature film debut the following year in Jamón Jamón (1992). Her subsequent roles included Belle Époque (1992), Open Your Eyes (1997), The Hi-Lo Country (1999), The Girl of Your Dreams (2000), and Woman on Top (2000). She is also known for her frequent collaborations with director Pedro Almodóvar in Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999), Volver (2006), Broken Embraces (2009), I'm So Excited! (2013), Pain and Glory (2019), and Parallel Mothers (2021), as well as with director Woody Allen in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and To Rome with Love (2012). Cruz achieved international recognition for her lead roles in the films All the Pretty Horses (2000), Vanilla Sky (2001), Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), and Blow (2001). She has since appeared in a variety of films from a wide range of genres, including the comedy Waking Up in Reno (2002), the thriller Gothika (2003), the Christmas film Noel (2004), the action-adventure films Sahara (2005) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), the crime drama The Counselor (2013), and the mystery film Murder on the Orient Express (2017). She received critical acclaim for her roles in Volver (2006) and Nine (2009), earning Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for each. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2008 for her performance in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She is the first and only Spanish actress to be nominated for and to win an Academy Award, as well as the first to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2018, Cruz made her American television debut as Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace in the FX series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, for which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Cruz has modelled for Mango, Ralph Lauren, and L'Oréal, and along with her younger sister Mónica Cruz, also designed clothing for Mango. She has been a house ambassador for Chanel since 2018. Cruz has volunteered in Uganda and India, where she spent one week working with Mother Teresa; she donated her salary from The Hi-Lo Country to help fund the late nun's mission.

Photo of Javier Bardem

5. Javier Bardem (1969 - )

With an HPI of 71.91, Javier Bardem is the 5th most famous Spanish Actor.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.

Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem (Spanish: [xaˈβjeɾ βaɾˈðen]; born 1 March 1969) is a Spanish actor. Known for his roles in blockbusters and foreign films, he has received various accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Golden Globe Award. Bardem won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the psychopathic assassin Anton Chigurh in the Coen brothers' modern western drama film No Country for Old Men (2007). He also received critical acclaim for his roles in films such as Jamón Jamón (1992), Boca a boca (1995), Carne trémula (1997), Los lunes al sol (2002), and Mar adentro (2004). He has also starred in Woody Allen's romantic drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Sam Mendes's James Bond spy film Skyfall (2012), Terrence Malick's drama To the Wonder (2013), Darren Aronofsky's psychological horror film mother! (2017), Asghar Farhadi's mystery drama Everybody Knows (2018) and Denis Villeneuve's science fiction drama Dune (2021). Bardem's other Oscar-nominated performances include Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls (2000), Alejandro González Iñárritu's Biutiful (2010), and Aaron Sorkin's Being the Ricardos (2021). He is the first Spanish actor to be nominated for an Academy Award (Best Actor for Before Night Falls in 2001), as well as the first and only Spanish actor to win one (Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men in 2008). He is also the recipient of a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor, two Venice Film Festival Volpi Cups for Best Actor, and six Goya Awards. In January 2018, Bardem became ambassador of Greenpeace for the protection of Antarctica.

Photo of La Belle Otero

6. La Belle Otero (1868 - 1965)

With an HPI of 70.42, La Belle Otero is the 6th most famous Spanish Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Agustina del Carmen Otero Iglesias (4 November 1868 – 10 April 1965), better known as Carolina Otero or La Belle Otero, was a Spanish actress, dancer and courtesan. She had a reputation for great beauty and was famous for her numerous lovers.

Photo of Carmen Maura

7. Carmen Maura (1945 - )

With an HPI of 69.34, Carmen Maura is the 7th most famous Spanish Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

María del Carmen García Maura OAXS (born 15 September 1945) is a Spanish actress. In a career that has spanned six decades, Maura is best known for her collaborations with noted Spanish film directors Pedro Almodóvar and Álex de la Iglesia. Maura holds the record (with three) for most Goya Awards for Best Leading Actress, more than any other actress in the history of Spanish film. She also won a Cesar Award in 2013 and a Cannes Film Festival Award in 2006.

Photo of Sara Montiel

8. Sara Montiel (1928 - 2013)

With an HPI of 68.29, Sara Montiel is the 8th most famous Spanish Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

María Antonia Abad Fernández MML (10 March 1928 – 8 April 2013), known professionally as Sara Montiel, also Sarita Montiel, was a Spanish actress and singer. She began her career in the 1940s and became the most internationally popular and highest paid star of Spanish cinema in the 1960s. She appeared in nearly fifty films and recorded around 500 songs in five different languages.Montiel was born in Campo de Criptana in the region of La Mancha in 1928. She began her acting career in Spain starring in films such as Don Quixote (1947) and Madness for Love (1948). She moved to Mexico where she starred in films such as Women's Prison (1951) and Red Fury (1951). She then moved to the United States and worked in three Hollywood English-language films Vera Cruz (1954), Serenade (1956) and Run of the Arrow (1957). She returned to Spain to star in the musical films The Last Torch Song (1957) and The Violet Seller (1958). These two films netted the highest gross revenues ever recorded internationally for films made in the Spanish-speaking movie industry during the 1950s/60s and made her immensely popular. She then established herself also as a singer thanks to the songs she performed in her films and combined filming new musical films, recording songs and performing live. Throughout her career, Montiel's personal life was the subject of constant media attention in the Spanish-speaking world. She was married four times and adopted two children.

Photo of Francisco Rabal

9. Francisco Rabal (1926 - 2001)

With an HPI of 68.23, Francisco Rabal is the 9th most famous Spanish Actor.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Francisco Rabal Valera (8 March 1926 – 29 August 2001), better known as Paco Rabal, was a Spanish actor, director, and screenwriter born in Águilas, a town in the south-western part of the province of Murcia, Spain. Throughout his career, Rabal appeared in around 200 films working with directors including Francesc Rovira-Beleta, Luis Buñuel, José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, Carlos Saura, Pedro Almodóvar, William Friedkin, Michelangelo Antonioni, Claude Chabrol, Luchino Visconti, and Gillo Pontecorvo. Paco Rabal was recognized both in his native Spain and internationally, winning the Award for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for Los Santos Inocentes and a Goya Award for Best Actor for playing Francisco de Goya in Carlos Saura's Goya en Burdeos. One of Spain's most loved actors, Rabal also was known for his commitment to human rights and other social causes.

Photo of Marisa Paredes

10. Marisa Paredes (1946 - )

With an HPI of 67.82, Marisa Paredes is the 10th most famous Spanish Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

María Luisa Paredes Bartolomé (born 3 April 1946), known professionally as Marisa Paredes, is a Spanish actress.

Pantheon has 127 people classified as actors born between 1868 and 2005. Of these 127, 102 (80.31%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and Javier Bardem. The most famous deceased actors include Carmen Amaya, Fernando Rey, and La Belle Otero. As of October 2020, 31 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Kiti Mánver, Itziar Ituño, and Luis Mariano.

Living Actors

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Deceased Actors

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Newly Added Actors (2020)

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Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.