Demián Bichir

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Bichir and the second or maternal family name is Nájera.
Demián Bichir
Demián Bichir at the Vanity Fair party for the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17, 2012
Demián Bichir at the Vanity Fair party for the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17, 2012
Born Demián Bichir Nájera
(1963-08-01) August 1, 1963 (age 51)
Torreon, Mexico[1][2]
Nationality Mexican[3][4]
Occupation Actor
Years active 1977-present
Known for The Bridge
Spouse(s) Lisset Gutierrez (divorced)
Children 1
Parent(s) Maricruz Nájera
Alejandro Bichir
Relatives Bruno Bichir (brother)
Odiseo Bichir (brother)

Demián Bichir Nájera (Spanish pronunciation: [deˈmjan biˈtʃir ˈnaxeɾa]; born August 1, 1963)[1] is a Mexican actor,[5] from a well-known family of Mexican actors, the Bichir family,[6] which include his parents Alejandro Bichir and Maricruz Nájera and his brothers Odiseo Bichir and Bruno Bichir. He began his acting career starring in many Mexican telenovelas and films before achieving fame for his roles in Mexican films such as the record-breaking Sexo, pudor y lágrimas and Sin noticias de Dios. In the U.S., he is best known for his role as Detective Marco Ruiz in the FX drama television series The Bridge.[7]

Early life[edit]

Bichir was born at Torreon, Mexico, the son of actors Alejandro Bichir (Alejandro Bichir Batres) and Maricruz Nájera (María de la Cruz Nájera Botello).[1] He began his acting career at the age of 14 in the telenovela Rina with Ofelia Medina. His second acting role was as an adult in Vivir enamorada – both telenovelas were during his years with Televisa. The following year he obtained a role in his first movie, the American production Choices of the Heart. He got his first starring character in the Telenovela El Rincon de los Prodigios where he acts as a stranger who performs miracles in front of the people confronting the corrupt authorities and the church.


Bichir then continued his acting roles in telenovelas with film productions of Mexico, Spain and the United States. After a long retirement of the Mexican telenovelas in favor of a movie career, he went back to TV Azteca in the telenovela Nada Personal where he played the role of an honest detective trying to tackle corruption and drug problems in Mexico. His performance led him to act as the same detective in Con Toda El Alma.

Mexican movie breakout[edit]

His movie Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (1999) broke box-office records in Mexico becoming the #1 movie in the history of Mexican cinema. He performed one of the main characters and brought him sufficient praise to earn him the Ariel. This movie brought a lot of attention to him and to his brothers. They acted in so many movies that in the MTV Movie Awards-México a special category was created: "Mejor Bichir en una Película" ("Best Bichir in a movie"). He earned this award for the 2003 film Bendito infierno (Holy Hell or Don't Tempt Me), in which he co-starred with Victoria Abril, Penélope Cruz, and Gael García Bernal.

United States[edit]

His American debut occurred in the film In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) starring Salma Hayek, based on the real life of a group of sisters that fought against the government of a Dominican dictator. Later he got some recognition when he depicted Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh's biopic Che (2008) on the life of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara.[8]

He was exposed to a wider American audience with his recurring role as Esteban Reyes, the corrupt mayor of Tijuana and love interest of Nancy Botwin from Season 4 to Season 7 of the Showtime series Weeds.

Bichir found mainstream U.S. work following his critically acclaimed performance as Carlos Galindo in the 2011 drama A Better Life, which garnered him nominations for the Independent Spirit Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. His success would continue to expose him to a wider range of American audiences with roles in various films such as Savages, The Heat, and Machete Kills. In 2013, he began starring in the FX drama television series The Bridge as Detective Marco Ruiz.

On 24 January 2012, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in A Better Life,[9] where Bichir plays Carlos Galindo, an undocumented Mexican gardener who goes with his son to find his stolen vehicle while trying to convince his son to avoid becoming a delinquent.[10] His nomination came as a shock to both Mexican and American audiences alike since he had only been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role beforehand. He is the first male Mexican actor to receive this nomination since Anthony Quinn. Though Bichir failed to win the award, he followed it up with roles in the major American releases Savages, The Heat, and Machete Kills.

Bichir recently completed his directorial debut, a movie called Refugio.[11][12]

Political activism[edit]

Bichir is an ACLU Ambassador for Immigration Rights.[13][14][15]

Bichir believes strongly that Latinos in Hollywood need to claim their place, and not get pigeonholed.[11][16]

Personal life[edit]

When Bichir was 22, he moved to New York City with his ex-girlfriend in order to get into the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Then for a brief period he decided not to act and started working at the Rosa Mexicano Restaurant in NYC while learning English. Later, he moved to Los Angeles but had no success landing any acting roles, ultimately deciding to go back to his native Mexico where he found great success.[17]

Bichir was married once, to Mexican singer Lisset Gutiérrez whom he divorced in 2003. He has since stated that it is hard for him "to stay in a long-term relationship." He had a short-lived relationship which led to the birth of his daughter, Gala,[18] in May 2011 in Spain.[19] He remains involved in the child's life.[20]

Demian holds dual Mexican and American citizenship.[21] After coming to the U.S. on a tourist visa, he "eventually became a permanent resident and later on an American citizen, like 3 million other undocumented workers, after Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986."[4] Demian resides in Los Angeles and Mexico City.[13][18]



Year Title Role Notes
1977 Rina Juanito
1982 Vivir enamorada Nacho Protagonist
1983 Cuando los hijos se van Ricardo Protagonist
1984 Los años felices Tomas Protagonist
1988 El rincón de los prodigios Monchito Protagonist
1996 Nada personal Comandante Alfonso Carbajal
2005 La otra mitad del sol Felipe Saenz
2008 Weeds Tijuana mayor and drug kingpin Esteban Reyes
2013 The Bridge Det. Marco Ruiz


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Choices of the Heart Armando
1986 Astucia
1987 Hotel Colonial Young Hotel Clerk
1988 Carmen Vampira
The Penitent Roberto
1989 Rojo amanecer Jorge
1992 Marea suave
Aladdin Aladdin (singing voice – Spanish dub)
1993 Miroslava Ricardo
La vida conyugal Gaspar Nominated – Ariel Award for Best Actor
1994 Ya la hicimos
Pruebas de amor
Hasta morir Mauricio Ariel Award for Best Actor
1995 Cilantro y perejil Carlos Rodríguez Nominated – Ariel Award for Best Actor
Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto Omar
1996 Solo Rio
Salón México Insp. Casteléon
1997 Perdita Durango Catalina
1998 Demasiado corazón
Luces de la noche Nominated – Ariel Award for Best Supporting Actor
1999 Santitos Cacomixtle
Ave Maria Daniel
Todo el poder Gabriel
Sexo, pudor y lágrimas Tomás Nominated – Ariel Award for Best Actor
2000 El silencio del tiempo
La toma de la embajada Rosemberg Pabón, 'Comandante Uno'
2001 Sin noticias de Dios Manny MTV Movie Award for Best Bichir in a Film
In the Time of the Butterflies Manuel 'Manolo' Tavárez Justo
2002 Ciudades oscuras ("Dark Cities") Mario Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Bichir in a Film
Heartbreak Hospital Tonio
2004 Zapata: Amor en Rebeldía Emiliano Zapata (miniseries)
Noche en Lima
Hipnos Miguel
2007 Fuera del cielo
American Visa
2008 Che Fidel Castro
2010 Hidalgo: La historia jamás contada Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Nominated – Ariel Award for Best Actor
2011 A Better Life Carlos Galindo Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated – ALMA Award for Favourite Male Actor
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Latino Performance
The Runway
2012 Savages Alex Nominated – ALMA Award for Favorite Movie Actor: Supporting Role
El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza[22] Cerdo Gutiérrez (voice)
2013 The Heat Hale
Machete Kills Mendez the Madman
Dom Hemingway Mr. Fontaine
2014 Death in Buenos Aires Inspector Chávez
2015 The Hateful Eight Bob, "The Mexican"


Award Category Title of work Result
Academy Awards Best Actor A Better Life Nominated
ALMA Awards Favorite Movie Actor A Better Life Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead A Better Life Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role A Better Life Nominated


  1. ^ a b c "Demián Bichir" (in Spanish). Televisa. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Demián Bichir" (in Spanish). Las noticias de México. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Smiley, Tavis (18 July 2014). "Actor-activist Demián Bichir". Tavis Smiley (PBS). Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Bichir, Demian (10 June 2014). "Exiled: The Obama Administration's Horrifying Deportation Record". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Main, Ph.D., S.J. (27 February 2012). "Actor Demian Bichir Talks Hollywood, Scarlett, Oscars & Being Latino (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Sager, Mike (23 July 2014). "Demian and Bruno Bichir Talk Working Together on The Bridge". Esquire. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Petrarca, Emilia (10 July 2013). "Crossing the Bridge". Interview. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Balfour, Brad (6 June 2009). "The Young Castro Comes Alive In Soderbergh's Epic Che Through Actor Demian Bichir's Performance". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Nominees-The Oscars 2012". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Rodriguez, Cindy Y. (24 January 2012). "Demián Bichir: Mexican Actor Nominated For An Academy Award For Best Actor In 'A Better Life' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Aguilar, Carlos (5 September 2014). "Demian Bichir Talks Diversity and Latino Representation in Film and TV". Indiewire. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Amatangelo, Amy (10 September 2014). "Catching Up With Demian Bichir of The Bridge". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Demian Bichir: ACLU Ambassador Project". ACLU. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mexican Actor Demian Bichir Named New ACLU 'Ambassador On Immigration Rights'". Fox News Latino. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Carter, Gayle Jo (23 July 2014). "Demian Bichir builds a 'Bridge' from acting to activism". USA Today. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Benedetti, Ana Maria (8 September 2014). "Demian Bichir: Latinos Have to Claim Their Own Place Within The Industry". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Corcoran, Katherine (23 February 2012). "Demian Bichir: Oscar Nominee For 'A Better Life' Interview On Leaving Mexico And His Move To The U.S.". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Mandell, Andrea (18 January 2012). "Demian Bichir disappears into Oscar-worthy role". USA Today. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Grossman, Samantha (24 January 2012). "Demián Bichir, Star of A Better Life and Surprise Oscar Nominee". Time. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  20. ^ Kuckzynski, Alex (19 August 2011). "The Devil and Demian Bichir". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Bichir, Demian (2 July 2012). "Demian Bichir: 'What It Means To Be American' (VIDEO". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "Personajes". El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 

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