Manolo Cardona

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Manolo Cardona
MX MM PREMIO FÉNIX 2018 (cropped).jpg
Cardona in 2018
Born (1977-04-25) 25 April 1977 (age 42)
OccupationFilm, television actor
WebsiteManolo Cardona - Oficial Website

Manolo Cardona (born Manuel Julián Cardona Molano April 25, 1977) is a Colombian actor.

Personal life[edit]

Cardona was born in Popayán, Cauca, Colombia on April 25, 1977. At the age of seven, Cardona's family gave him "Manolo" as a nickname. This would later be used as his name as an actor. When he was 18, he moved to Cali, Colombia, to finish his studies. Manolo studied finances and international relations. Manolo's mother, Nancy Molano, is a psychologist, merchant and astrologer. His father, Javier Enrique Cardona, has devoted his life to politics, and was the mayor of Popayán. Cardona has two brothers. The elder, Francisco, is an agent and engineer, and the younger, Juan José, studied film direction in the University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain. One of his greatest passions is playing football (soccer).[1]


Cardona began modeling at a very early age. It was his elder brother who introduced Manuel to a modeling agency; he was then quickly signed on to a contract. At the age of fourteen he shot his first television commercial and began modeling professionally for TV commercials, photography, and including runways for several agencies in Colombia. When Cardona was eighteen, in 1995, he began his acting career on a popular Colombian Television series called Padres e Hijos in which he starred for three years. Then in 1998 he won his first lead role in the television soap opera Carolina Barrantes. A year later he became even more prominent for his role in the successful soap opera ¿Por qué Diablos?, portraying a young man who becomes part of a drug organization so he can avenge his friend's death. Later in 2001 came Amor a Mil, a highly popular soap opera in Colombia. In 2002 he signed an exclusive contract with Telemundo and Argos Comunicación, and a year later in 2003 he starred in his first Mexican soap opera, Ladrón de Corazones. In it he portrayed Gustavo Velazco, a man who returns to his home town in Mexico after ten years to avenge his father's death and clear his name. He was the host of Telemundo's Spanish version of Temptation Island. He is also known for his role as Sebastián on the Mexican telenovela Gitanas.[2] In 2005, the film Rosario Tijeras, Cardona's big-screen debut, was released in Colombia. The film was based on Jorge Franco's book of the same name. Cardona worked opposite Flora Martínez (playing Rosario Tijeras) and Unax Ugalde and was directed by Emilio Maille. The film was nominated for a Goya Award for best foreign film.[3] In 2005 the film had its North American premiere at the American Film Institute Festival, in Hollywood.[4]

In 2005 he starred in the film La mujer de mi hermano opposite Bárbara Mori and Christian Meier which was released in the United States in 2006. In 2006 he finished filming "Madrid-Mexico" with director Enrique Renteria. Cardona is working, with his brothers, on his two production companies "11-11 and Miramas".[5]

After two years of absence, Cardona returned to work for Telemundo and Argos on the Telemundo soap opera production Marina, replacing Mauricio Ochmann as Ricardo. The soap opera was filmed in Acapulco, Mexico.

On September 27, 2007 Cardona was awarded the "Latin Pride Award" in the Back Bay Events Center in Boston. The award honors the accomplishments of Hispanics of different areas and is a production of the Latin Pride Magazine. Cardona appeared in the 2008 Disney film Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

In 2008, Cardona was in a series, El Cartel de los Sapos for Caracol TV where he played a drug dealer. The series was filmed in Miami, New York, Colombia, Panamá and Madrid. The series was followed by a film of the same name. The series and film were based on a book written by Andres Lopes alias Florecita, who wrote the book while in prison. The series was screened at the LA Screenings and the series aired in 2008 in Colombia. Caracol TV will air the series of 40 episodes starring Cardona, Karen Martinez, Diego Cadavid and Robinson Diaz. The series debuted on Caracol TV on June 5, 2008 continuing until October 2008. Since it premiered in July 2008, El Cartel was the highest rated show on Colombian television. When it premiered on Telemundo in December 2008, it was the highest rated show in the history of the network.[6]

In November 2008, Cardona played a lead role in Undertow (Spanish title Contracorriente) in Peru. Cardona plays the character of Santiago, a gay painter who arrives in a small town and falls in love with Miguel, a married fisherman played by Cristian Mercado who is torn between his love for Santiago and his love for his pregnant wife Mariela (Tatiana Astengo). The film is produced by Dynamo Capital (Colombia) and Calvo Films (Peru), and is directed by Javier Fuentes-León.[7] Contracorriente also premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival on September 23, 2010.[8] The film also had great reception in Sundance Film Festival winning the Audience Award for World Cinema Drama.[9]

Cardona appeared in an episode of Tiempo Final titled "La entrega" in the second season of the show which also co-starred his girlfriend Katarina Sacht. Tiempo Final was a remake of the Chilean series of the same name, and aired on Fox.

He acted in La Ultima Muerte alongside Kuno Becker, in 2009. The film premiered in Mexico in November 2009.

Cardona was in third season of Spain's version of Sin tetas no hay paraiso, which aired on Telecinco. In it, he played a policeman named Martin La Roca. The series premiered in Spain in fall 2010.[10]

He produced and directed a short film called Risas Inocentes (Innocent laughter) with his brother Juan. The short premiered in Colombia in 2009 and was produced by his company "11:11 (onceonce) films".[11]


  • 2000: "Best Actor of Colombia" from TV y Novelas.
  • 2001: "The Best Colombian Leading Actor of the Year" in Houston; a tribute paid by the Hispanic community in the United States.
  • 2008: "Best Supporting Actor" from Imagen Foundation Awards for Beverly Hills Chihuahua.


Film roles[edit]

Year Title Roles Notes
2005 Rosario Tijeras Emilio
2005 La mujer de mi hermano Gonzalo / Rohan-Ignacio's brother
2008 Beverly Hills Chihuahua Sam Cortez
2009 Contracorriente Santiago
2011 Al acecho del leopardo Eduardo
2011 La última muerte David Tapia
2011 The Snitch Cartel Martín González "El Fresita"
2012 La frontera del crimen Roberto
2012 Restos Luis
2014 Fort Bliss Luis
2014 Love Film Festival Adrián
2015 Corazón de León Édgar
2016 Macho La Karen
2018 El cuaderno de Sara Sergio
2018 Rubirosa Porfirio Rubirosa
2018 Rubirosa 2 Porfirio Rubirosa
2018 Rubirosa 3 Porfirio Rubirosa

Television roles[edit]

Year Title Roles Notes
1995–1998 Padres e hijos Nicolás Franco
1998–1999 Carolina Barrantes David Molina Suárez Main role; 66 episodes
1999 ¿Por qué diablos? Juan "Diablo" Cantor Main role; 124 episodes
2001 Amor a mil Jhon Héctor Afanador Main role; 124 episodes
2003 Ladrón de corazones Gustavo Velasco Main role; 141 episodes
2004 Gitanas Sebastián Domínguez Main role; 162 episodes
2006 Marina Ricardo Alarcón Morales #2 Main role; 168 episodes
2008 El cartel Martín González "El Fresita" Main role (season 1); 48 episodes
2008 Tiempo final Pablo Episode: "La entrega"
2009 Sin tetas no hay paraíso Martín La Roca Main role (season 3); 15 episodes
2011–2012 Aquele Beijo Juan Recurring role; 153 episodes
2013 Covert Affairs Teo Braga Recurring role (season 4); 6 episodes
2013 The Arrangement Andrés García Vargas Television film
2013 Reign Tomás Episodes: "Kissed" and "Hearts and Minds"
2014 Palabra de ladrón Hernán López Mendoza Main role; 13 episodes
2015–2016 Narcos Eduardo Sandoval Recurring role (seasons 12); 10 episodes
2016–2017 La Hermandad Julio Kaczinski Main role (seasons 1–2); 25 episodes
2016–2017 2091 Ferrán Main role; 12 episodes
2018 Rubirosa Porfirio Rubirosa Main role; 12 episodes
2018–2019 María Magdalena Jesus Main role; 60 episodes


External links[edit]