Joaquim d'Almeida (b.1957) was born in Lisbon, son of João Baptista de Almeida and Maria Sara Portugal.
At the age of eighteen, after attending the theater course at the Lisbon Conservatory (School of Theatre and Cinema) for two years, he left Portugal to continue his studies after the Conservatory was temporarily closed following the 1974 democratic revolution. He spent a year in Vienna, moving again, in 1976, to New York City where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, a school for the performing arts frequented by famous actors such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Angelina Jolie.
He began his acting doing some theater. During the 1980s, he started his film career appearing on the 1982 action film The Soldier, and later achieved recognition for playing Andrea Bonanno in the 1987 Italian film Good Morning, Babylon. He achieved international fame with his portrayals of Félix Cortez in the 1994 thriller Clear and Present Danger and Bucho in the 1995 action thriller Desperado. Several years later, he became popular for playing Ramon Salazar on the Fox thriller drama series 24, between 2003 and 2004, and Hernan Reyes in 2011 street racing film Fast Five.