Spanish actress Marisa Paredes began her career as a teen star in the 1960s, and started to reach international audiences during middle age, when she began working with director Pedro Almodovar. Few of her early films were seen beyond her native Spain (an exception being Jess Franco's 1962 horror film, "The Awful Dr. Orlof"), but in 1983, she appeared as one of the drug addicted nuns in Almodovar's early black comedy, "Dark Habits." As Almodovar's career continued, he used Paredes in a number of his films, including 1991's "High Heels," 1995's "The Flower of My Secret," and 1999's "All About My Mother"; always as a middle-aged woman with complicated, unresolved problems. Outside of her work with Almodovar, Paredes has played the unhappy mother-in-law of Roberto Benigni's character in the Holocaust drama "Life is Beautiful" and the head of the haunted orphanage in Guillermo del Toro's 2001 ghost story, "The Devil's Backbone." While many actresses age into benign grandmotherly characters, Paredes exudes a strength that seems to assure she will continue to land meatier roles.