Pedro Pascal

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Photo courtesy of Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal was born April 2, 1975 and is a Chilean actor. 

Pascal portrayed Oberyn Martell in the fourth season of the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones and Javier Peña in the Netflix biographical crime series Narcos. He has also starred as mercenary Pero Tovar in The Great Wall (2016); as Agent Whiskey in Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017); as Dave York, the primary antagonist in The Equalizer 2 (2018); and as Francisco “Catfish” Morales in the heist drama Triple Frontier (2019).

Pascal plays the title character in the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian (2019).

He was born in Santiago, Chile. His mother, Verónica Pascal Ureta, was a child psychologist and his father, José Balmaceda, is a fertility doctor; he has an older sister, Javiera, and two younger siblings, Nicolás, and Lux Pascal, an actress and transgender activist in Chile. 

Pascal’s parents were Allende supporters and were involved in the opposition movement against the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile around the time of Pascal’s birth. Because of this, soon after his birth, Pascal’s family was granted political asylum in Denmark. The family ultimately moved to the United States, and Pascal was raised in Orange County, California and San Antonio, Texas. Pascal was involved in competitive swimming during his early years and took part in the state championships in Texas at the age of 11, but immediately stopped competitive swimming after getting into drama class. He studied acting at the Orange County School of the Arts and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Pascal has extensive stage experience as both an actor and director; he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and Garland Award for his role in the International City Theater production of Orphans, and has performed in classical and contemporary works. He has appeared Off-Broadway in Maple and Vine by Jordan Harrison, Beauty of the Father by Nilo Cruz, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Based on a Totally True Story, Trista Baldwin’s Sand, David Greenspan’s Old Comedy, Terrence McNally’s Some Men, and Shakespeare in the Park’s 2006 production of Macbeth. He is a member of New York City’s LAByrinth Theater Company.

He also played Maxwell Lord in the DC Extended Universe film Wonder Woman 1984, directed by Patty Jenkins.

Pascal moved to New York City in 1993 and has lived there since. While Pascal was at NYU, his father was involved in a scandal at the Orange County fertility clinic he ran with two other men, as a result of which his father, mother and two youngest siblings returned to Chile. His mother died shortly afterwards. Following her death, Pascal began using his mother’s surname professionally both in honor of her and because he said Americans had difficulty pronouncing his first surname.