Rubén Blades was born in Panama City, Panama, the son of Cuban musician and actress Anoland Díaz, and Colombian Rubén Darío Blades, Sr., a gifted athlete, percussionist and later a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Washington, D.C.
Before pursuing an acting career, he was a vocalist in Los Salvajes del Ritmo and also a songwriter and guest singer with a professional Latin music conjunto, Bush y sus Magníficos.
- Safe House
- Predator 2
- The Devil's Own
- Gideon's Crossing
- Color of Night
- The Two Jakes
- Cradle Will Rock
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico
- Hands of Stone
- The Milagro Beanfield War
- He ran for President of Panama as founder and head of the Papa Egoro party in 1994. He came in third behind the two leading Panamanian parties. However, he won a respectable 18% of the vote. His party gained enough seats in the Panamanian Legislature to ensure its continuance and a place in national politics, until it was dissolved in 1999.
- He won his first Grammy for the album, "Encenas", and has won 4 more in Latin categories, a Latin Grammy, and one in World Music for the album "Mundo".
- He was Minister of Tourism in Panama from 2004 until 2009.
- In Predator 2 (1990), he played a character with the last name Archuleta who is killed and in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), his character avenges the death of a partner with the last name Archuleta.
- He and his fellow cast member Daryl Mitchell share the same birthday.