The handsome, ruddy-faced, and often bespectacled Latino actor Demián Bichir debuted before the cameras from the age of 14 and launched himself as a telenovela star in his native Mexico in the '80s and '90s, prior to his slick and seemingly effortless transition into internationally oriented films during the early 2000s. Bichir became instantly known for his ability to combine rugged and exotic appeal with depth-signaling intelligence and articulation.
Although Bichir officially debuted in a U.S. production circa 1983 -- with a turn in the telemovie Choices of the Heart (a biopic of ill-fated Irish missionary Jean Donovan [Melissa Gilbert], set in El Salvador) -- at that time he failed to draw significant attention in the American press as anything more than a footnote. (In fact, a New York Times review of that picture, from 1983, misspells his name as "Denian Bicher.") Bichir continued to score as a well-respected actor in Mexico, however, and did additional Hollywood crossover work from time to time -- usually in American features with predominantly Hispanic casts, such as Cliff Osmond's 1988 romantic drama The Penitent, starring Armand Assante and Raul Julia. Bichir signed for one of his most prominent and popular roles in the 1999 Mexican erotic drama Sexo, Pudor y Lágrimas, as Tomas, a housewife's former lover who pays a most unexpected visit to that woman and her husband (and impedes the already strained, cracking marriage).