Antonio Banderas

updated 05/06/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/06/1996 01:00AM

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ANTONIO BANDERAS THAT reduces sexy superstars to Campbell's soup? Madonna salivated over him at a party in Madrid in Truth or Dare. Melanie Griffith dumped Don Johnson to carry his love child. And it took months for his long-suffering wife, actress Ana Leza, to agree to a divorce. "He's the personification of male musk," suggests Assassins director Richard Donner. "His intelligence—combined with his appearance—is the most seductive thing about him," attests The Mambo Kings director Arne Glimcher. Elizabeth Avellan, producer of Banderas's forthcoming Zorro, had a physical reaction to his charms. "Watching him up close," she says, "literally, my socks fell down." The glistening black hair and desperado stubble drive women wild, but Banderas is partial to his espresso-colored eyes because, he once said, "I can work with them in my profession" (no kidding!). He has lately been batting them at Madonna as Che Guevara to her Eva Perón in Evita. Next it's on to fatherhood with Melanie in September. With such a fast-forward lifestyle, Banderas, 35, claims not to exercise—and he chain-smokes Camels. But there is "a half-hour shower every day," he has explained, "first hot water, then the last few minutes cold." A cold shower? Probably just what his female fans could use.

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