With the sort of GQ looks that command attention both onscreen and off, longtime actor Steven Bauer has come a long way since making an impression in Brian De Palma's controversial 1983 crime drama Scarface. A native of Cuba whose family fled to Miami shortly after Fidel Castro came to power in 1956, Bauer began his education at Miami-Dade Community College, where a walk-on role in the play Summer and Smoke sparked a lifelong love of acting. He transferred to the University of Miami and continued to hone his craft in such plays as Of Mice and Men, and by the time he moved to New York, Bauer was ready to study under the tutelage of acclaimed acting coach Stella Adler. It was during this time that auditions for Scarface were announced, and with his confidence bolstered by a handful of supporting roles in film and television, Bauer proved that he could hold his own opposite Al Pacino. Cast as the titular character's close friend and partner in crime, the young actor's powerful performance drew a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Although the film's notable violence and profanity ultimately provoked a backlash from both Hollywood and the viewing public, Bauer's career maintained its upward trajectory when, the following year, the handsome rising star took the lead in the romantic thriller Thief of Hearts.
Throughout the '80s, roles in such high-profile films as Running Scared (1986) and Gleaming the Cube (1989) helped maintain Bauer's presence on the big screen, but it was a role in the 1990 television miniseries Drug Wars: The Camarena Story that earned him his second Golden Globe nomination and proved he could give a commanding lead performance. Increasingly relegated to low-budget thrillers and forgettable, straight-to-video fare, he had occasional roles in such films as Raising Cain (1992) and Wild Side (1995). In 2000, Bauer shared a Screen Actor's Guild award for Best Ensemble Performance in the acclaimed Steven Soderbergh crime drama Traffic, in which the actor portrayed jailed drug kingpin Carlos Ayala. The roles that immediately followed, however, seemed to offer Bauer little room to expand his talent, though his performance in the popular, but short-lived TV series UC: Undercover at least served to keep him in the spotlight before joining an impressive cast in the 2003 Bob Dylan drama Masked and Anonymous. Married to actress Melanie Griffith for the majority of the '80s, the couple divorced in 1987. Bauer married Ingrid Anderson in 1989.