Costa-Born Celebrities… From Picasso to Banderas
Some of the names will be unfamiliar to non-Spaniards but Málaga city and the wider Costa del Sol has been the birthplace of many renowned figures across a broad section of fields.
In politics, for example, Blas Infante, considered to be the “father of the Andalucian homeland”, was born (1885) in the mountain village of Casares. In a darker chapter from Spain’s political history, Antonio Tejero, the Guardia Civil lieutenant colonel who led the assault on Parliament (Cortes) in 1981, was from Alhaurín del Grande.
Regular travellers on the coastal “Cercanías” railway line will be familiar with two stations near the Málaga end: Victoria Kent, named after the Málaga-born lawyer and Republican politician; and María Zambrano, the celebrated philosopher and essayist from Vélez-Malaga.
Also from the world of culture and the arts, plus gastronomy… Torremolinos-based rock band Danza Invisible and flamenco chill group Chambao have gained international followings; in fashion, the late David Delfín was one of Spain’s most innovative designers; and two chefs running eponymous Michelin-star restaurants, Dani García in Marbella and José Carlos García in owings; and in fashion, the laty and in fashion, the latye David Delfin le and flamenco chill urrthe capital, are Málaga province natives.
Footballers Juan “Juanito” González and Fernando Hierro, leading stars in both the Real Madrid and Spanish national teams, were born in Fuengirola and Vélez-Málaga, respectively; while, also in sport, former world number one-ranked pádel tennis player Carolina Navarro took her first steps in Málaga.
Then there is “the most interesting golfer in the world”, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who was born in Churriana in 1964 and went on to become the oldest winner on the European Tour after turning 50, and is currently one of the leading players on the Champions senior tour in the United States.
Of course, the two biggest stars on Málaga’s red carpet of global fame are Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas – and their paths are becoming inexorably intertwined with the production of the second part of National Geographic and Fox Studios’ “Genius” TV series. The first was on Albert Einstein, portrayed by Geoffrey Rush; and the second will detail the life of Picasso, played by Banderas.
Picasso was born in Málaga’s Plaza de la Merced in 1981, not far from where the Picasso Museum was subsequently set up in 2003. The artist moved away from the city with his family when he was 10 (unhappily, apparently, as he deeply missed Málaga), and he eventually settled in Paris.
Banderas, meanwhile, was born in the same city in 1969, moving first to Madrid for his fledgling career and later to Hollywood, but he has always maintained strong links with the area. He bought a villa on the eastern outskirts of Marbella with his first wife Melanie Griffith (shortly before their daughter Stella was born across the highway in the Costa del Sol hospital), more recently he purchased a penthouse apartment in the capital, and he has announced plans to help create a major international theatre project in the capital.
Filming for the series, to be directed by Ron Howard, is due to begin in Málaga next Monday (30 October), before moving on to Barcelona and Paris, and it is expected to be ready for broadcast next spring. When Banderas (who arrived on the Coast this week for the filming) attended an official presentation for the project in London earlier this month he had already shaved his head to prepare for the role.
For our featured home of the week, we leave Banderas’s villa on one side of Marbella and move across to the equally-popular Nueva Andalucía area, where this magnificent villa is available for an excellent €1,589,000.
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