Although sometimes overshadowed by passionate, over-the-top soap operas, the Mexican film industry offers vibrant and diverse personalities, and these 10 best famous Mexican actors have transcended their culture and become worldwide celebrities, respected for the quality of their work.
- Anthony Quinn. Adept at playing brutes with humanity lurking just beneath the skin, Quinn's rough-hewn good looks and aggressive masculinity, made him a perfect actor to play larger-than-life roles. Quinn won two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, and appeared in over 200 films. Ironically, the role he's best known for, the exuberant peasant in the 1964 film "Zorba The Greek" did not earn him one of his two Oscars, although he was nominated for his performance. His diverse interests in painting, jewelry design and sculpting, made him not just one of the ten best and most famous Mexican actors, but a legend worldwide.
- Kuno Becker. Born and raised in Mexico City, Becker first gained notice in the hit Mexican television show "Sonadoras" and parlayed his fame abroad by taking roles in such films as 2003's "Imagining Argentina," opposite Antonio Banderas and Emma Thompson. But it was his starring role in the 2005 film "Goal!" that catapulted him to international fame, and cemented his status as a crossover star.
- Emilio Fernandez. Equally famous in Mexico for being a director as well an actor, Fernandez played a variety of roles, including the infamous General Mapache in "The Wild Bunch," and El Jefe in "Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia," iconic roles that ranked him as of one of the most famous and best actors in Mexican history.
- Ricardo Montablan. Fondly remembered as the debonair star of "Fantasy Island," Montablan was a Broadway performer and respected film actor before embarking on his famed television role as Mr. Roarke. His performance in the 1982 Star Trek film "The Wrath of Khan" is still considered a master-class in film villainy, and to this day, Montablan remains one of the most famous Mexican actors of all time.
- Gael Garcia Bernal. Born in Guadalajara, Bernal has gained fame as one of the best young actors to emerge from Mexico in the past ten years. He's starred in such acclaimed Mexican films as "Amores Perros" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien" as well as noted American independent films "The Motorcycle Diaries" and "The King". His diversity of roles has endeared him to film enthusiasts, and his matinee-idol looks have elevated him onto the list of the ten best famous Mexican actors.
- Diego Luna. Best friends with Gael Garcia Bernal, another of Mexico's ten best actors, Luna's boyish innocence and acting talent has made him one of the most famous actors to come out of Mexico in the past ten years. Born in Mexico City, Luna shot to fame with his role in "Y Tu Mama Tambien," a sexy, coming-of-age film that garnered him acclaim and lead to roles in noted films "Frida" and "Open Range".
- Gilbert Roland. Born Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso, changed his name when his family moved to the United States, and became a reliable character actor, earning Golden Globe nominations for "The Bad and the Beautiful" and "Cheyenne Autumn". Famous in Mexico for his dashing good looks, his legacy includes a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Alfonso Arau. Like, Emilio Fernandez, Arau is also a noted Mexican director who rose to prominence in a series of acting roles such as Herrera in "The Wild Bunch", and comedic turns in "Romancing the Stone" and "Three Amigos". His ability to play different character types contributed greatly to his international stature as one of Mexico's famous best actors.
- Emilio Echevarria. A noted stage actor, Echevarria was thrust into fame with his appearances in three Mexican films with international resonance, "Amores Perros," "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "Babel".
- Cantinflas. An elastic-faced, big-eared comic genius, Cantinflas was deemed "The Mexican Chaplin" for his manic, physical comedy. Though a star in Mexico, it was his role as Passepartout in the Oscar-winning film "Around the World in 80 Days" that introduced him to American audiences. In 1988, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Mexican Academy of Cinema.
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