Benicio del Toro
Birth Name: Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez
Place of Birth: San Germán, Puerto Rico
Date of Birth: February 19, 1967
Ethnicity: Puerto Rican [Spanish, Catalan, Indigenous/Taíno, Basque, distant Italian]
Benicio del Toro is a Puerto Rican actor and film producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Traffic (2000).
He was born in San Germán, Puerto Rico, the son of Fausta Genoveva Sánchez Rivera and Gustavo Adolfo del Toro Bermúdez. He moved to the continental United States at the age of thirteen, living in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Benicio is also famous for his appearances in the films Frank Miller’s Sin City, Snatch, and as Che Guevara in Che.
Benicio has stated that he has Spanish, Italian, Indigenous Puerto Rican/Taíno, and Basque ancestry. He has also said, “I have Spanish, Italian and (Native) American blood, I feel completely Latino.” Benicio is related to basketball player Carlos Arroyo, singer Eliseo del Toro, and Spanish pop-eurodance singer Rebeca Pous del Toro.
Benicio is fluent in Spanish and uses his language ability in his film performances. He holds Spanish citizenship, and has stated: “Mi familia viene de España. Mi madre era muy Española” (“My family comes from Spain, my mother was very Spanish”).
Benicio’s paternal grandfather was Monserrate de los Reyes del Toro Irizarry (the son of Leonardo Antonio del Toro Mercado and Ramona Cristina Irizarry del Toro). Monserrate was born in Cabo Rojo. Leonardo was the son of Marcelino del Toro y Rodriguez/Padilla and Maria Faustina Mercado. Ramona was the daughter of Pedro Jose Irizarry and Ramona Juliana del Toro Rivera.
Benicio’s paternal grandmother was Carmen Luisa Bermúdez Villa (the daughter of Francisco Bermúdez Rodriguez and Concepcion Villa Rielo). Carmen was born in Mayagüez. Francisco was the son of Francisco Bermúdez Roque, who was born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, and of Rosa Rodriguez Lugo. Concepcion was the daughter of Maximino Villa Colon and Rosa Rielo.
Benicio’s maternal grandfather was Benicio del Carmen Sanchez Castaño (the son of Felipe Benicio Sanchez Osorio and Clemencia Genoveva Castaño Rivera). Benicio’s grandfather Benicio was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Felipe was born in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, the son of Bernandino/Bernadino Sanchez and Eulalia Osorio. Clemencia was born in Vieques, the daughter of Jesus Maria Castaño Martin and Ramona Rivera Brache.
Benicio’s maternal grandmother was Lirio/Licio/Licia/Lucia/Lili Belén Rivera Bengoa (the daughter of Rafaél Rivera Esbri and Fausta Bengoa Larrauri). Lirio was born in Ponce. Rafaél was one of the heroes of the El Polvorin fire in Ponce. He was later Mayor of Ponce, from 2 January, 1915 to 2 January, 1917. Rafaél was the son of Ramón Rivera Alvarado and Julia Esbri/Estri y Robert. Benicio’s great-grandmother Fausta was the daughter of Gervasio Bengoa Saez de Valluerca and Juana Maria Larrauri y Aponte, who were born in Valluerca, Alava, Basque Country, Spain.
Sources: Benicio’s mother on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Death record of Benicio’s mother – https://familysearch.org