John Leguizamo

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John Leguizamo
John Leguizamo by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Leguizamo in July 2013.
Birth name John Alberto Leguizamo
Born (1964-07-22) July 22, 1964 (age 50)
Bogotá, Colombia
Nationality American
Years active 1984–present
Spouse Yelba Osorio (1994–1996; divorced)
Justine Maurer (2003–present; 2 children)
Partner(s) Carolyn McDermott (1986–1991)
Children Allegra Sky (1999-)
Ryder Lee (2000-)

John Alberto Leguizamo (/ˌlɛɡwɪˈzɑːm/; born July 22, 1964) is an American actor, comedian, voice actor, producer and screenwriter.

Early life[edit]

John Leguizamo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, to Alberto and Luz Leguizamo. According to Leguizamo, his paternal grandfather was of Puerto Rican and Italian descent[1] and his maternal grandfather was Lebanese.[2] Leguizamo has also described himself as being of Amerindian and Mestizo heritage.[3][4] Leguizamo's father was once an aspiring film director and studied at Cinecittà, but eventually dropped out due to lack of finances.[5] When Leguizamo was four years old, his family immigrated to the United States[6] and lived in various neighborhoods of Queens in New York City, including Jackson Heights.[3][7]

He later credited growing up as one of the first Latino children in his Jackson Heights neighborhood as formative in his acting ability: "It was tough. There were lots of fights. I would walk through a park and be attacked, and I had to defend myself all the time. But this helped me to become funny so that I wouldn’t get hit."[8] Leguizamo attended the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School (I.S.145) and later the Murry Bergtraum High School. As a student at Murry Bergtraum, Leguizamo wrote comedy material and tested it out on his classmates. He was voted "Most Talkative" by his classmates. After graduating from high school, he began his theater career as an undergraduate at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts from which he eventually dropped out in favor of a career in stand-up comedy. Post NYU Leguizamo enrolled at Long Island University C.W. Post Campus where he took theater classes.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Leguizamo started out as a stand-up comic doing the New York nightclub circuit. In 1984, he made his television debut with a small part in Miami Vice. His other early roles include: an extra in Madonna's Borderline video (1984) playing a friend of Madonna's boyfriend; Mixed Blood (1985); Casualties of War (1989); a terrorist in Die Hard 2 (1990); Hangin' with the Homeboys (1991); the robber in Regarding Henry (1991) and Night Owl (a.k.a. Nite Owl) (1993), which was filmed from 1989–1991.

Film[edit]

Leguizamo at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival

In 1992, he starred in Whispers in the Dark as John Castillo. In 1993 Leguizamo was offered the lead part as Luigi in the film Super Mario Bros., based on the Mario video game franchise. Despite being considered a critical and financial failure universally, the film started his acting career in Hollywood and became one of his memorable roles. It also provided a boost to his career, allowing him to appear in better comedic roles in the following years. That same year, he had a prominent role in Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way as Carlito Brigante's nemesis, "Benny Blanco from the Bronx," which also boosted his career in serious roles.

Leguizamo also starred in Romeo + Juliet as Tybalt Capulet, as Violator in Spawn, Cholo in Land of the Dead and Pestario 'Pest' Vargas in The Pest. In 1995, he starred as drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar and in the 1996 action film Executive Decision as Captain Rat. In 2002, he starred in the movie Empire. To promote the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge!, he appeared on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Kelly Ripa, Kevin Sorbo, Alfre Woodard, Martin Short and Chevy Chase. Appearing as the first celebrity to sit in the hot seat, he eventually tried for $125,000, but got the answer wrong. Later in 2002, on the syndicated version, a question about the movie featured his character and Meredith Vieira mentioned that Leguizamo had played Lautrec and had been on the show.

In 2002 he voiced Sid the Sloth for the film Ice Age, reprising the role for the sequels Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Ice Age: Continental Drift. The game versions of the films also used his voice. In 2003, he voice-acted Globox from Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Leguizamo portrayed Paul in the Brad Anderson thriller film Vanishing on 7th Street.[9] In 2007 he played Michael Beltran in the movie The Babysitters.

Television[edit]

In 1995 Leguizamo created, produced, wrote, and starred in the 1995 Latino-oriented variety show called House of Buggin' on Fox Television. Some audiences saw this as the Latino version of In Living Color. The show showcased Leguizamo's well-known ability to assume a wide variety of colorful, energetic characters, but due to poor ratings the show ran less than one season.

In 2000, Leguizamo portrayed both Genies in "Arabian Nights", a TV mini-series adaptation of the medieval epic, "One Thousand and One Nights"; a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age.

During the 2005–06 television season, Leguizamo joined the cast of the show ER, playing the emotionally disturbed Dr. Victor Clemente, a new attending who is keen on introducing the staff of County General to better ways of treating patients and cutting-edge technology. Clemente, however, was plagued with personal problems and was fired from the hospital near the end of the season. Dr. Clemente's departure from the show was a blessing for Leguizamo. He revealed to CraveOnline that he was not happy working on the television program. "I was depressed doing ER," he admitted, "I started gaining weight, I was eating donuts, I started smoking again. I’m eating McDonald's, things that I know when I’m depressed I do. I tried to kill myself internally."[10]

In 2005, he guest starred on Dora the Explorer as Captain Pirate Piggy. In 2006, Leguizamo starred in the television pilot for Edison, a 2006 CBS drama about an Los Angeles detective (played by Leguizamo) who relied on impersonations and disguises to solve crimes. Other cast members included Currie Graham and Deidrie Henry. Kevin Rodney Sullivan directed from a script by Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes. Leguizamo and David Hoberman also served as executive producers.

In July 2007, Spike TV aired their drama series The Kill Point, starring Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg and Michael Hyatt. The show was an eight-part series revolving around ex-war veterans whose bank robbery went wrong, thus ending in a hostage situation. Despite high ratings, The Kill Point was not renewed for a second season.

In 2010, Leguizamo also guest starred on The Electric Company as himself, rhyming about commas and quotation marks.

In 2012, Leguizamo was cast as Derek Trotter in the American remake of the British BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses.

Broadway and theater[edit]

John Leguizamo at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.

In 1991, he also wrote and took part in the Off-Broadway production Mambo Mouth, where he played seven different characters. Mambo Mouth won an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Award. He was listed as one of 12 "Promising New Actors of 1991" in "John Willis' Screen Worlds Vol. 43".

In 1993, Leguizamo wrote and participated in Spic-O-Rama, where he made fun of the stereotyping of Latinos in the United States. The production won a Drama Desk Award and four Cable ACE Awards. Both Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama were later filmed for presentation on HBO.

In 1998, he debuted on Broadway in the production of Freak, a semi-autobiographical one-person play also recorded for release in the year 2000 on HBO, with Spike Lee sitting in as director. The show won him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show.

In 2002, he wrote and performed in Sexaholix... A Love Story which explained his love life and how he started his own family.

In June 2010, Leguizamo opened his semi-autobiographical one-man theater show, Klass Klown (later renamed Ghetto Klown), based on his memoir Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life. After the show ran at various theaters in the United States and Leguizamo performed an 'unplugged' version of it under the title John Leguizamo Warms Up at a Chicago theater, it opened on Broadway in March 2011 at the Lyceum Theatre.[11][12][13][14] The show, about Leguizamo's path from obscurity to stardrom, opened to many positive reviews and was extended through July 10, 2011. A CD of the show was released. In 2011, Leguizamo received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance[15] and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for his performance in the show.[16] In September 2011, Leguizamo began an international tour of Ghetto Klown in Los Angeles.[17] On July 13, 2012, PBS debuted Tales From a Ghetto Klown, a documentary about Leguizamo's life and the show's development. On November 16, 2013 John taped Ghetto Klown at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ for HBO![18]

On record[edit]

John Leguizamo LIVE (2001) on RCA Records. The live CD features the best of Leguizamo's stage routines at the time. Leguizamo gives his audience a primer on the history and culture of Latinos in America. The story starts with the dubious tale of the mating of an Inca princess with a Spanish conquistador, thus creating the original dysfunctional Latin family with Leguizamo providing all the voices.

The CD includes a musical intermission, with two salsa/hip-hop tunes, "The Night Before Christmas" and "Gotta Get Some". The Mac-and-PC compatible enhanced CD includes footage from John on tour at various US locations and two interactive games; "Spanish Fly Pick-Up Line", which lets the person at the keyboard click to choose an appropriate response to a number cheesy pickup lines, delivered by an animated version of Leguizamo, and "Six Degrees of Leguizamo", a drag-and-drop brain-teaser modeled on the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" phenomena. The number of correct answer sequences to this game attest to Leguizamo's prolific career.

Personal life[edit]

Leguizamo married Justine Maurer, (costumer on Carlito's Way[19]) on June 28, 2003, in a Catholic-Jewish ceremony (he is Catholic and his wife is Jewish).[20] They have two children, daughter Allegra Sky (born in 1999) and son Ryder Lee (born 2000),[21][22] and live in Manhattan. In 2008, Leguizamo received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA). He was a recipient of the 2011 Made in NY Award from the City of New York.[23][24]

Ethnicity[edit]

On June 10, 2011, Alberto Leguizamo, John's father, declared in an interview published in a New York Hispanic newspaper El Diario Newspaper, that he (the father) was not Puerto Rican, that he is Colombian and therefore his son (John) was not half Puerto Rican as he has always stated.[25] John Leguizamo had always declared that he was Puerto Rican on his father's side which was one of the reasons that he was selected as the Puerto Rican Day Parade Global Ambassador of the Arts. In response to his father's allegations, Leguizamo stated that his grandfather was of Puerto Rican descent.[25] A spokesman for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade has stated that Leguizamo would not be stripped of his ambassadorship. Leguizamo marched in the parade on June 12, 2011.[26]

Memoirs[edit]

In October 2006, Leguizamo's memoir, Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life, was released. During an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Leguizamo stated that his memoir was very frank about odd experiences involving other celebrities and co-stars he had worked with. He stated that working with Arnold Schwarzenegger on Collateral Damage was one of the most enjoyable experiences he had as an actor. He also said that Arnold's accent let him say things that others would think were sexist or homophobic if said by someone else, that Steven Seagal was an egotist with diva tendencies, Kurt Russell continuously called him a "faggot", and that Leonardo DiCaprio was a "patron of prostitutes."[27]

As of 2009, Leguizamo has produced over 10 films (including the film Piñero), starred or co-starred in over 75 films, starred on Broadway in several productions winning several awards, made over a dozen TV guest appearances and has helped produce or star in many other similar television shows.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Mixed Blood Macetero
1989 Casualties of War PFC Antonio Diaz
1990 Street Hunter Angel
1990 Gentille Alouette Ortiz
1990 Revenge Ignacio
1990 Die Hard 2 Burke
1991 Poison Chanchi Credited as Damien Garcia
1991 Hangin' with the Homeboys Johnny
1991 Out for Justice Boy in alley
1991 Regarding Henry Liquor store gunman
1991 NYPD Mounted Unknown
1992 Puerto Rican Mambo (Not A Musical) "Guess my nationality" guy
1992 Whispers in the Dark John Castillo
1992 Time Expired Ruby
1993 Night Owl Angel
1993 Super Mario Bros. Luigi Mario
1993 Carlito's Way Benny Blanco
1995 A Pyromaniac's Love Story Sergio
1995 To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar Chi-Chi Nominated – Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1996 Executive Decision Rat
1996 The Fan Manny
1996 Romeo + Juliet Tybalt Capulet
1997 The Pest Pestario "Pest" Vargas
1997 A Brother's Kiss Lefty
1997 Spawn Clown/Violator
1998 Frogs for Snakes Zip
1998 Body Count Chino
1998 Freak Himself Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show
Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program
1998 Dr. Dolittle Rat Voice
1999 Joe the King Jorge
1999 Summer of Sam Vinny
2000 Arabian Nights Genie
2000 Titan A.E. Gune Voice
2000 King of the Jungle Seymour
2001 Moulin Rouge! Toulouse-Lautrec
2001 What's the Worst That Could Happen? Berger
2002 Sexaholix... A Love Story Himself
2002 Collateral Damage Felix Ramirez
2002 Zig Zag Dean Singer
2002 Ice Age Sid the ground sloth Voice
2002 Point of Origin Keith Lang
2002 Empire Victor Rosa
2002 Spun Spider Mike
2003 Undefeated Lex Vargas
2004 Crónicas Manolo Bonilla
2005 Assault on Precinct 13 Beck
2005 The Honeymooners Dodge
2005 Land of the Dead Cholo DeMora
2005 Sueño Antonio
2006 AKA Sean Edison
2006 The Alibi Hannibal
2006 Ice Age: The Meltdown Sid the ground sloth Voice
2006 The Groomsmen T.C.
2007 Where God Left His Shoes Frank Diaz
2007 The Babysitters Michael Beltran
2007 The Take Felix De La Pena
2007 Love in the Time of Cholera Lorenzo Daza
2008 Paraiso Travel Roger Pena
2008 The Happening Julian
2008 Miracle at St. Anna Enrico
2008 Righteous Kill Det. Simon Perez
2008 Nothing Like the Holidays Mauricio Rodriguez
2008 Surviving Sid Sid the ground sloth Voice
2009 The Ministers Dante / Perfecto Mendoza
2009 Rage Jed
2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Sid the ground sloth Voice
2009 Gamer Freek
2010 Repo Men Asbury Uncredited
2010 Vanishing on 7th Street Paul
2010 Big Balls Unknown Short film
2011 One for the Money Jimmy Alpha
2011 Fugly! Jesse
2011 The Lincoln Lawyer Val Valenzuela
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Sid the ground sloth Voice
2012 El Paseo 2 Lucho Calvo[28]
2013 Kick-Ass 2 Javier
2013 The Counselor Randy
2013 Don't Break the School John Isac 'Ezac' Pine Leguizamo, The Dog (voice)
2013 Walking with Dinosaurs Alex
2014 Ride Along Santiago
2014 Chef Martin
2014 Cymbeline Post-Production
2014 A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island Post-Production
2015 The Nest Filming
2015 American Ultra Rose Filming
2016 Ice Age 5 Sid

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1986–1989 Miami Vice Ivan Calderone 3 episodes
1991 Mambo Mouth Various characters
1993 Spic-O-Rama Various characters
1995 House of Buggin' Various characters Creator/Producer/Writer
10 episodes
2000–2003 The Brothers Garcia Narrator 5 episodes
2002 Sesame Street Himself 1 episode
2004 Dora the Explorer Silly mail bird Voice
1 episode
2005–2006 ER Dr. Victor Clemente 12 episodes
2006 My Name Is Earl Uncle Diego 2 episodes
2007 The Kill Point Mr. Wolf 8 episodes
2008 American Buffalo Walter Cole[29]
2011 Ghetto Klown Himself
2012 Kings of Van Nuys Del Boy Unaired pilot
2013 American Dad! Luis Ramirez (voice) "The Full Cognitive Redaction of Avery Bullock by the Coward Stan Smith"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc Globox Voice
2006 Ice Age: The Meltdown Sid Voice
2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Sid Voice

Web[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 The Annoying Orange Jumping Bean Voice
1 episode

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leguizamo, John (2006). Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, And All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life. New York: Ecco. p. 8. ISBN 0-06-052071-X. 
  2. ^ Leguizamo, p. 11
  3. ^ a b Zook, Kristal Brent. "Comedy That Hits Close to Home; Now a Father, John Leguizamo Looks Back Without Anger", The Washington Post, July 19, 2001. Accessed June 11, 2009. "Born in Bogota, Colombia, to a Puerto Rican father and a Colombian mother of Indian ancestry, [John Leguizamo] was raised in the multiethnic Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens."
  4. ^ Leguizamo, John (1998-02-08). "THEATER; In Town, on the Edge: Listening In on Solo Acts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  5. ^ Leguizamo, p. 9
  6. ^ Leguizamo, p. 12
  7. ^ Leguizamo, p. 16
  8. ^ Singh, Anita (January 31, 2012). "Hay Festival Cartagena: John Leguizamo on Hollywood". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  9. ^ "First Images: Brad Anderson's The Vanishing on 7th Street". DreadCentral. 
  10. ^ Bibbiani, William. "Kill Point: John Leguizamo". Craveonline.com. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  11. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (June 3, 2010). "John Leguizamo goes deeper, darker in 'Klown'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ Isherwood, Charles (March 22, 2011). "A Queens Guy Toughs It Out in Hollywood". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  13. ^ "John Leguizamo: Klass Klown". Berkeleyrep.org. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  14. ^ "John Leguizamo to Play Lyceum Theatre on Broadway Starting Feb. 21". BroadwayWorld. 
  15. ^ "John Leguizamo honored for one-man play "Ghetto Klown"". Fox News Latino. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Drama Desk Awards Go to Book of Mormon, Normal Heart, War Horse, Sutton Foster, Norbert Leo Butz". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  17. ^ Wada, Karen. "John Leguizamo and 'Ghetto Klown' coming to the Ricardo Montalban Theatre". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Aucoin, Don (July 12, 2012). "In ‘Tales From a Ghetto Klown,’ Broadway minus the glitz". Boston.com (The Boston Globe). 
  19. ^ Ghetto Klown - HBO - 0:56:00 and 1:20:00
  20. ^ "Knot Ready". www.people.com. 
  21. ^ John Leguizamo Biography - TV Guide
  22. ^ Art Imitates Life for John Leguizamo – People.com
  23. ^ "Leguizamo Among Honorees For MADE IN NY Awards". Broadway World. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  24. ^ Szalai, Georg (6 June 2011). "Matt Damon, John Leguizamo, Late Sidney Lumet Honored With 'Made in NY' Awards". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Gratereaux, Alexandra (2011-10-06). "Leguizamo’s Dad: John's Not Puerto Rican!". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  26. ^ "Huge crowd for Puerto Rican parade". Eyewitness News. WABC-TV. 2011-06-13. 
  27. ^ "Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online : John Leguizamo Trashes Everyone He's Ever Worked With". Radar Online. 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  28. ^ El Paseo 2 (2012) - IMDb
  29. ^ The Broadway League. "The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 

External links[edit]