Daphne Rubin-Vega

Daphne Rubin-Vega may have spent the better part of her career playing tough and emotionally complex characters in feature films and on television, but the true measure of her success was playing the passionate yet vulnerable HIV-infected dancer in the smash Broadway musical "Rent" (1996). The contemporary musical juggernaut, which followed a group of impoverished musicians and artists battling the coming wave of gentrification in New York City's bleak Lower East Side, reenergized the Great White Way, attracting a new generation of theatergoers, and grossed more than $280 million since its Broadway debut. It also paved the way for a then-relatively unknown actress like Rubin-Vega to make her mark on and off the stage, as well as to start the wheels in motion for the talented actress to pursue a long and successful onscreen career.