Who is Steven Bauer?

Steven is a Cuban-American actor known for his roles in “Scarface” (1983) and the television series “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013). Born Esteban Samson on 2 December 1956, in Havana, Cuba, Steven began his career in the late 1970s.  Beyond “Scarface” and “Breaking Bad”, his notable works include “Thief of Hearts” (1984), “Running Scared” (1986), and the Showtime series “Ray Donovan” (2013-2020).

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Early life and education

Steven’s journey to Hollywood wasn’t a direct one. His parents, Lillian Samson Agostini and Esteban Echevarría, were both Cuban, and fled their homeland due to the political climate during the 1960s. Landing on the shores of Miami, Florida, Steven was only a child when his family had to start from scratch in a new country.

Steven’s interest in the performing arts emerged in his teenage years. After matriculating high school, Steven enrolled at Miami Dade College, originally planning to become a musician. However, he eventually transferred to the University of Miami, where he studied in the Theatre Arts Department.

Roles in Movies

Steven made his film debut in the 1981 TV comedy “She’s in the Army Now”. His breakthrough came two years later, when he starred as Manny Ribera in Brian De Palma’s iconic gangster film, “Scarface”, alongside Al Pacino. His portrayal of Tony Montana’s loyal friend and right-hand man drew widespread acclaim, and the film has since become a cult classic.

In 1984, he showcased his versatility in the film “Thief of Hearts”, portraying a romantic thief who becomes entangled in a passionate yet tumultuous affair. His character’s seductive charm and the conflict between his criminal nature and romantic tendencies allowed Steven to display a wide emotional range and further demonstrated his ability to portray complex characters.

In the buddy-cop movie “Running Scared” (1986), Steven appeared in another comedy role, starring opposite Billy Crystal as a wisecracking detective named Frank. In the early 1990’s, Steven continued to land major roles in films, such as in “Raising Cain” (1992), “Snapdragon” (1993), and “Wild Side” (1995).

In 1996, Steven starred alongside Edward Norton and Richard Gere in the legal thriller “Primal Fear”, directed by Gregory Hoblit, based on the eponymous novel by William Diehl, which follows a famous attorney working on a case of an altar boy accused of murdering a priest.

In the film “Traffic” (2000), Steven was part of an ensemble that included big names like Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In this intricate and powerful exploration of the drug trade, Steven portrayed a Mexican drug lord, Carlos Ayala. The film was critically acclaimed and won four Academy Awards, further cementing Steven’s reputation in Hollywood.

In 2005, Steven took on a more personal role in “The Lost City”, a film directed by fellow Cuban-American actor Andy Garcia. Set in Havana during the Cuban Revolution, the film provided an opportunity for Steven to delve into his roots, and bring to life a piece of history.

In the following years, Steven primarily appeared in crime and action movies such as “Kings of South Beach” (2007), “Bulletface” (2010), and “Enemies Among Us” (2010). Another notable role for Steven was in the 2013 award-winning thriller “Awakened”, in which he played the lead role opposite Julianne Michelle.

He also played one of the lead roles in the family western “JL Ranch”, written and directed by Charles Robert Carner, and in the following year, he played a supporting role in the romantic comedy drama “Andover”, which starred Jonathan Silverman, Jennifer Finnigan and Angela Kinsey.

Later in the decade, Steven starred alongside Danny Trejo in two action-packed films, “Avenge the Crows” (2017), and “Counterpunch” (2019). His most recent movie role was in the 2023 Latin American drama “On Painted Wings”, set along the shores of the Dominican Republic.

Roles in TV series

In addition to his film work, Steven has had a significant presence on television. He made his TV debut in 1977, when he joined the cast of the PBS sitcom “¿Qué Pasa, USA?”, playing the role of Joe, a teenage son of a family of first-generation immigrants. After the show concluded in 1979, Steven made episodic appearances in series such as “From Here to Eternity” (1980), “Hill Street Blues” (1981), and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1985).

Another notable TV role for Steven was in the 1990 series “Wiseguy”, in which he played the character Michael Santana, a former Attorney General turned undercover agent. Through the 1990s and 2000s, Steven was primarily focused on his film work, only making rare guest appearances in TV shows, such as “The Outer Limits”, “Walker, Texas Ranger”, and “Nash Bridges”.

However, this changed in 2011, when Steven joined the cast of the critically acclaimed crime drama “Breaking Bad”. The series, created by Vince Gilligan, starred Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturing drug dealer, and Aaron Paul as his former student and business partner, Jesse Pinkman. Steven joined the series in its fourth season, playing Don Eladio Vuente, the head of the Juarez Cartel, a major Mexican drug cartel, and a significant antagonist in the series.

Despite not appearing in many episodes, Steven’s portrayal of Don Eladio was impactful and memorable, and he would go on to reprise the role in three episodes of the “Breaking Bad” spin-off series “Better Call Saul”.

Perhaps Steven’s most significant television role came in 2013, when he joined the cast of Showtime’s critically-acclaimed drama “Ray Donovan”. The show is centered on the titular character Ray Donovan, portrayed by Liev Schreiber, who works as a ‘fixer’ for Los Angeles’ elite, skilled at making their troubles vanish. However, he struggles to resolve issues that emanate from his own family.

In the series, Steven played Avi Rudin, a major character who appears throughout the show’s seven-season run. Avi is a former Israeli Defense Forces soldier who is now Ray’s right-hand man. He is more than just a colleague to Ray; he is one of his closest and most trusted allies.

Concurrently, Steven also appeared in four episodes of the action crime drama “Queen of the South”, an American adaptation of the popular Mexican telenovela of the same name. Most recently, in 2023, we saw Steven in an episode of the Emmy-winning crime drama “The Blacklist”.

Love Life and Relationships

Steven’s personal life has seen as much drama as his on-screen characters. He’s been married four times, with each marriage ending in divorce. His first wife was actress Melanie Griffith, whom he met on the set of the TV movie “She’s in the Army Now” (1981) – they were married from 1981 to 1989, and have a son together, Alexander Bauer.

Following his divorce from Griffith, Steven went on to marry Ingrid Anderson, with whom he had another son, Dylan. The couple married in 1989, but divorced in 1991, after which Steven married Christiana Boney and then Paulette Miltimore, although both marriages ended after a few years. Despite his turbulent romantic history, Steven remains optimistic about love, and the possibility of finding a lasting connection.

In 2014, Steven sparked controversy when he revealed that he was in a relationship with Lyda Laudon, who is more than forty years his junior. The couple made their first appearance at the premiere of the movie “Magic in the Moonlight”. Steven was 57 at the time, while his girlfriend was only 18. They are no longer together, but it’s unclear when the couple actually split up.

Steven is now reportedly in a relationship with reality TV star Jennifer Brennon, known for her work in “Shipping Wars”.

Substance Abuse Issues

Steven has been open about his struggles with substance abuse, which started in the 1980s, at the height of his early fame following the success of “Scarface”. He has admitted to using cocaine and struggling with addiction, which affected his personal and professional life. At the time, he was married to Melanie Griffith who helped him overcome his problems, even after they eventually divorced.

While Steven has been clean of drugs for years, he’s fallen into alcoholism in his later years, and in 2016, he admitted himself into rehab. After leaving, Steven has been committed to sobriety, and now uses his experiences to help others, often speaking openly about his struggles and recovery to raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse.

Hobbies and Interesting Facts

Beyond his acting career, Steven is a passionate advocate for animal rights, and has worked with various organizations to promote animal welfare. He’s also an avid musician, and enjoys playing the guitar during his free time.

Interestingly, despite his Cuban roots and playing numerous Latino characters throughout his career, Steven didn’t speak Spanish fluently until adulthood – he learned the language in depth for his role in “Scarface”, which required him to deliver lines in both English and Spanish.

Net Worth

Steven’s long and illustrious career in the entertainment industry has undoubtedly brought him financial success. As of July 2023, it’s estimated that his net worth is $5 million.

Despite facing personal and professional ups and downs, Steven has remained dedicated to his craft and continues to deliver memorable performances in both film and television.

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