Antonio Banderas Code-Named 'Zorro' by Secret Service Agents During Obama's L.A. Visit

9:11 PM PST 12/11/2011 by Tina Daunt
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The actor shares details of what it was like to host the president under tight security at his house.

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith were assigned code names by the U.S. Secret Service during President Barack Obama's recent fundraising trip to Los Angeles, which included a Latino gala at the Banderas/Griffith estate in Hancock Park, Banderas said in a weekend interview.

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While in London promoting his film Puss in Boots, Banderas told U.K. talk show host Graham Norton that the Secret Service agents nicknamed him "Zorro," in reference to his 1998 role in The Mask of Zorro.  

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"We had a benefit for Barack Obama," Banderas said. "We received the President of the United States in our home. It makes me happy because it is not something you do everyday. We all had, in the family, code names for security. ... I was Zorro."

He deadpanned: "It could have been worse. I could have been Puss."

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Norton told the audience that Banderas arrived in the United States 20 years ago, unable to speak a word of English and now he's serving as host to the president.

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"This is very cool," the TV host said.

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