Benicio Del Toro


19 Feb 1967


San Germán, Puerto Rico


Benicio Monserrate Rafael Del Toro Sanchez


Benicio Del Toro emerged in the mid-'90s as one of the most watchable and charismatic character actors to come along in years. A favorite of film buffs, Del Toro gained mainstream public attention as the conflicted but basically honest Mexican cop in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic (2000).

Born on February 19, 1967 in San Germán, Puerto Rico, Benicio is the son of lawyer parents Fausta Genoveva Sanchez Rivera and Gustavo Adolfo Del Toro Bermudez. His mother died when he was young, and his father moved the family to a farm in Pennsylvania. A basketball player with an interest in acting, he decided to follow the family way and study business at the University of California in San Diego. A class in acting resulted in his being bitten by the acting bug, and he subsequently dropped out and began studying with legendary acting teacher Stella Adler in Los Angeles and at the Circle in the Square Acting School in New York City. Telling his parents that he was taking courses in business, Del Toro hid his new studies from his family for a little while. During the late 1980s he made a few TV appearances, most notably in an episode of Miami Vice (1984) and in the NBC miniseries Drug Wars: The Camarena Story (1990). Del Toro's big-screen career got off to a slower start, however--his first role was Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-wee (1988). Things looked better, however, when he landed the role of Dario, the vicious henchman in the James Bond film Licence to Kill (1989). Surprising his co-stars, Del Toro was, at 21, the youngest actor ever to portray a Bond villain. The potential break, however, was spoiled as the picture turned out to be one of the most disappointing Bond films ever; it was lost amid bigger summer competition.

Benicio gave creditable performances in many overlooked films for the next few years, such as The Indian Runner (1991), Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) and Money for Nothing (1993). His roles in Fearless (1993) and China Moon (1994) gained him more critical notices, and 1995 proved to be the first "Year of Benicio" as he gave a memorable performance in Swimming with Sharks (1994) before taking critics and film buffs by storm as the mumbling, mysterious gangster in The Usual Suspects (1995), directed by Bryan Singer. Del Toro won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting actor for the role in the Oscar-winning film. Staying true to his independent roots, he next gave a charismatic turn as cold-blooded gangster Gaspare in The Funeral (1996) directed by Abel Ferrara. He also appeared as Benny Dalmau in Basquiat (1996), directed by artist friend Julian Schnabel. That year also marked his first truly commercial film, as he played cocky Spanish baseball star Juan Primo in The Fan (1996), which starred Robert De Niro. Del Toro took his first leading man role in Excess Baggage (1997), starring and produced by Alicia Silverstone. Hand-picked by Silverstone, Del Toro's performance was pretty much the only thing critics praised about the film, and showed the level of consciousness he was beginning to have in the minds of film fans. In 1998 he took a leading role with Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), directed by the legendary Terry Gilliam. Gaining 40 pounds for the role of Dr. Gonzo, the drug-addicted lawyer to sports writer Raoul Duke, Benicio immersed himself totally in the role. Using his method acting training so far as to burn himself with cigarettes for a scene, it was a trying time for Del Toro. The harsh critical reviews proved tough on him, as he felt he had given his all for the role and been dismissed. Many saw the crazed, psychotic performance as a confirmation of the rumors and overall weirdness that people seemed to place on Del Toro. Taking a short break after the ordeal, 2000 proved to be the second "Year of Benicio". He first appeared in The Way of the Gun (2000), directed by friend and "The Usual Suspects" writer Christopher McQuarrie. Then he went to work for actor's director Steven Soderbergh in Traffic (2000). A complex and graphic film, it nonetheless became a widespread hit and Oscar winner. Del Toro's Javier Rodriguez, a conflicted Mexican cop, functions as the movie's real heart amid an all-star ensemble cast, and many praised it as the year's best performance, a sentiment validated by a Screen Actor's Guild Award for "Best Actor". He also gave a notable performance in Snatch. (2000) directed by Guy Ritchie, which was released several weeks later, and The Pledge (2001) directed by Sean Penn. Possessing sleepy good looks reminiscent of James Dean or Marlon Brando, Del Toro has often jokingly been referred to as the "Spanish Brad Pitt". With his newfound celebrity, Del Toro has become a sort of heartthrob, being voted one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People" as well as "Most Eligible Bachelors". A favorite of film fans for years for his diverse and "cool guy" gangster roles, he is now becoming a mainstream favorite respected for his acting skills and choices. So far very careful in his choices and who he works with, Del Toro can boast an impressive resume of films with some of the most influential and respected people in the film business.

Actor ( 111 credits )

Star Wars: Episode VIII (2017) (rumored)
Weightless (2017) (rumored)
The Trap (2017) Slim
A Perfect Day (2015) Mambrú
Sicario (2015)
Celebrity Conversations (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Tria33 (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Let's Go, DFW! (2015)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2015)
Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2016)
Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014) Pablo Escobar
Inherent Vice (2014) Sauncho Smilax
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Taneleer Tivan / The Collector
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Variety Studio: Actors on Actors (2014)  Himself (2 episodes, 2015)
Thor: The Dark World (2013) The Collector (uncredited)
Jimmy P. (2013) Jimmy Picard
The Big Interview with Dan Rather (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2016)
Ok! TV (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Savages (2012) Lado
The Project (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Iñaki (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Somewhere (2010) Celebrity (uncredited)
Stones in Exile (2010) Himself
The Wolfman (2010) Lawrence Talbot
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  Dario / ... (2 episodes, 2011-2012)
Conan (2010)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2015)
In Search of Ted Demme (2010)
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
The 7PM Project (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry (2008) Narrator (voice)
Che: Part Two (2008) Ernesto Che Guevara
Che: Part One (2008) Ernesto Che Guevara
Shine a Light (2008) Himself - Concert Audience (uncredited)
Things We Lost in the Fire (2007) Jerry Sunborne
Chelsea Lately (2007)  Lado (1 episode, 2012)
Xposé (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
Rencontres de cinéma (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (2006) Himself
El hormiguero (2006)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2012-2013)
Needlework Pictures Presents Francesco Vezzoli in Gore Vidal's 'Caligula' (2005) Macro
Sin City (2005) Jackie Boy
The Colbert Report (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Made in Hollywood (2005)  Himself (2 episodes, 2014)
Buenafuente (2005)  Himself (2 episodes, 2009)
VM Show Vol. 2 (2005)  Jack Jordan (archive footage) (1 episode, 2005)
Mañanas informales (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Miradas 2 (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Alguna pregunta més? (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Le grand journal de Canal+ (2004)  Himself (4 episodes, 2005-2010)
Omg! Insider (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Els matins a TV3 (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Parla con me (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
21 Grams (2003) Jack Jordan
Breakfast with Hunter (2003) Himself
The Hunted (2003) Aaron Hallam
Tussen de sterren (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in American Cinema (2002) Himself
Julia: All in Me (2002)
Film Trix 2002 (2002) Himself
The Pledge (2001) Toby Jay Wadenah
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Eigo de shabera-night (2001)  Himself - Interviewee (1 episode, 2004)
Traffic (2000) Javier Rodriguez
Snatch (2000) Franky Four Fingers
The Way of the Gun (2000) Mr. Longbaugh
Bread and Roses (2000) Himself - Party Guest (uncredited)
The Directors (1999)  Dr. Gonzo (uncredited) (1 episode)
Toni Rovira y tú (1999)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) Dr Gonzo
T4 (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Joyride (1997) Detective Lopez
Excess Baggage (1997) Vincent
Cannes Man (1997) Himself
Corazón de... (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
The Fan (1996) Juan Primo
Basquiat (1996) Benny Dalmau
The Funeral (1996) Gaspare
Continuarà... (1996)  Himself (2 episodes, 2009-2012)
E! True Hollywood Story (1996)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode, 2006)
The Usual Suspects (1995) Fred Fenster
Caiga quien caiga - CQC (1995)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Swimming with Sharks (1994) Rex
China Moon (1994) Lamar Dickey
Inside the Actors Studio (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
Golden Balls (1993) El amigo de Miami
Fearless (1993) Manny Rodrigo
Money for Nothing (1993) Dino Palladino
Late Show with David Letterman (1993)  Himself - Top Ten List Presenter (1 episode, 2010)
Fallen Angels (1993)  Paco (1 episode, 1995)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)  Himself (3 episodes, 2001-2009)
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) Alvaro Harana (as Benicio del Toro)
HBO First Look (1992)  Lawrence Talbot (1 episode, 2010)
Gomorron (1992)  Himself - Javier Roudrigez / ... (2 episodes, 2001-200
The Indian Runner (1991) Miguel
Días de cine (1991)  Himself (4 episodes, 2009-2012)
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself - Guest / ... (3 episodes, 2001-2009)
Licence to Kill (1989) Dario
Tales from the Crypt (1989)  Bill (1 episode, 1994)
Big Top Pee-wee (1988) Duke the Dog-Faced Boy
Biography (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Private Eye (1987) (1 episode, 1987)
Shell Game (1987)  Pedroza (1 episode, 1987)
Seitenblicke (1987)  Himself (segment "Schnapp SCHÜSSE") (uncredited) (1 ep
Miami Vice (1984)  Pito (1 episode, 1987)
Cinema 3 (1984)  Himself (5 episodes, 2009-2014)
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Himself (3 episodes, 2007-2010)
Fantástico (1973)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
The Little Prince (0) The Snake (voice)
How the Light Gets In (0) (rumored)
The Corporation (0) Jose Miguel Battle, Sr.
Soldado (0) Alejandro

Producer ( 6 credits )

Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014) executive producer
The Wolfman (2010) producer
Che: Part Two (2008) producer
Che: Part One (2008) producer
Lovesickness (2007) executive producer
Submission (1995) producer

Director ( 2 credits )

7 Days in Havana (2012) (segment "El Yuma")
Submission (1995)