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BENICIO DEL TORO (Javier Rodriguez) has received two Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Actor: first as Fred Fenster in Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects" (1995), and then as Benny Dalmau in Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat" (1996).

Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Del Toro grew up in Pennsylvania. He later attended the University of California at San Diego, where he divided his time between painting and acting classes. He appeared in numerous student productions, one of which led to his performing at a drama festival at the Lafayette Theatre in New York.

He remained in New York to study acting at The Circle in the Square Acting School, and won a scholarship to the Stella Adler Conservatory. He later moved to Los Angeles and studied at the Actors Circle Theater, which in turn led to guest-starring roles on various television series. His television credits include the NBC miniseries "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story" (directed by Brian Gibson) and "Miami Vice."

Del Toro made his motion picture debut in John Glen's "Licence to Kill" (opposite Timothy Dalton as James Bond). His subsequent films include Peter Weir's "Fearless," George Huang's "Swimming with Sharks," Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral," Marco Brambilla's "Excess Baggage," Terry Gilliam's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and Christopher McQuarrie's "The Way of the Gun."

He will soon be seen in Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" and Sean Penn's "The Pledge"; and next begins work on Lee Tamahori's "Basic."


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