John Leguizamo

Actor, comedian, writer and producer John Leguizamo began his career on the experimental theater stages of New York's East Village, where his electrifying performances earned critical raves in one-man shows like "Mambo Mouth" and "Spic-o-Rama." Leguizamo's stage creations were based on his childhood experiences growing up in a poor Colombian immigrant family in Queens, and his strong association with Latino culture meant he was often cast in rather flat, peripheral Latino character parts as gangsters and drug dealers on film. But the multi-talented and tireless performer also made great leaps towards the acceptance of Latino actors in a wider variety of roles, including the hilarious drag queen road comedy "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" (1995), which helped open the doors for bigger and better jobs. He went on to play Tybalt in Baz Luhrman's revisionist take of "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" (1996) and received Tony Award nominations for his one-man show "Freak: A Semi-Demi-Quasi-Autobiographical Comedy" (1997). After a solid turn in Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam" (1999), he delivered a comic spin on height-challenged artist Toulouse-Lautrec in "Moulin Rouge!" (2001). Leguizamo voiced Sid the Sloth for "Ice Age" (2002) and its 2009 sequel, played Dr. Victor Clemente on "ER" (1994-2009), joined the Broadway revival of David Mamet's "American Buffalo" (2008), and had a supporting role in "The Lincoln Lawyer" (2011). After decades of hard work, Leguizamo enjoyed an expanding palette of choices heretofore unavailable to Latino actors.