Kamala Lopez

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Kamala Lopez
21 Leaders 2012 Honoree Kamala Lopez (cropped) 2.jpg
Lopez in 2019
Years active1980–present
SpouseJoel Marshall (m. 2007)

Kamala Lopez is an American filmmaker, actress, writer, director, and political activist. She has had starring roles in Black Jesus, Medium, 24, Alias, NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and 21 Jump Street. She has been a featured actress in films including Born in East L.A., Deep Cover, The Burning Season, Clear and Present Danger, Lightning Jack, and I Heart Huckabees.[1]

As a filmmaker, her feature film debut, A Single Woman, about the life of first US Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, won the 2009 Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women's Political Caucus. In 2013, her short Spanish-language film Ese Beso won the Jury Award at the Senorita Cinema Festival and the Audience Award at the Boyle Heights Latina Film Festival. In 2016, her follow-up feature, the documentary Equal Means Equal, won Best U.S. Documentary (Audience Award) at Michael Moores TCF Festival, and was a New York Times Critics' Pick. The film was the catalyst behind a national civil rights movement pushing for the ratification of the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: the Equal Rights Amendment.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Lopez was born in New York City and raised in Caracas, Venezuela.[citation needed]

She attended Yale University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and theater studies.[4]


Lopez has worked as an actor in more than thirty feature films, including I Heart Huckabees (2004), Born in East L.A. (1987), Deep Cover (1992), and The Burning Season (1994);[3] and more than seventy television shows, including 21 Jump Street, Lie To Me, Alias, Star Trek: Voyager, NYPD Blue, and It's Garry Shandling's Show.

In 2007 Lopez hosted Wired Science on PBS, a production of KCET Los Angeles in association with Wired, along with comedian Chris Hardwick.[5][6][7]

Lopez directed the Spanish-language short film Ese Beso in Madrid, Spain, starring Daniel Freire and Lia Chapman. She directed A Single Woman (2008), about the life of the first US congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin.[8] The film was adapted from the play of the same name, written by Jeanmarie Simpson, a relative of Lopez.[9]

Lopez produced the new media series Speechless Without Writers with director George Hickenlooper during the Writers Guild of America strike of 2007.[10]

Political activism[edit]

In 2009 Lopez created the ERA Education Project, a national media campaign to raise awareness about the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States.[8] She interviewed women nationwide about how civil rights issues such as equal pay and domestic violence affect their daily lives.[11]

In October 2013, she launched a Kickstarter campaign for the documentary Equal Means Equal.[12] This project about the status of women in America also meant to revive public support for the ERA.[13] Gloria Steinem appears in the film, along with more than 100 interviewees.

Lopez blogs for The Huffington Post.[14]

Awards and recognition[edit]



Year Title Role Notes
1987 Born in East L.A. Dolores
1989 Night Children
1990 Total Recall Additional Voices Voice
1991 Dollman Debi Alejandro Video
1992 Deep Cover Belinda Chacon
Exiled in America Amy / Marla Soto
Small Kill Jenny
1994 Erotique Rosie (segment "Let's Talk About Love")
Lightning Jack Pilar
Clear and Present Danger Venezuelan Telephonist
1996 Wedding Bell Blues Pregnant Woman
1997 Tupperware Party Katie Short film
1998 Where's Marlowe? Penny
1999 Love and Action in Chicago Anna
Black and White Carmela
2000 Burglars Short film; director
2003 The $cheme Laura
Filet of 4 Short film; director
2004 I Heart Huckabees Molly Corn
2005 The Circle Hilga
Meet Me in Miami Marta
2007 Game of Life Nadia
Permanent Vacation Iris Garcia
2008 Ese beso Short film; director
A Single Woman Director, producer, editor
2009 The Intervention Rachel
Mark in Argentina Maria Short film
2012 Any Day Now Agent Martinez
Got Rights? Short film; director
Los Tienes? Herself Short film; director, producer, writer
Dark Knight Aurora Short film; co-director, editor, writer
2015 Slob90X Short film; producer
2016 Equal Means Equal Herself Director, producer, writer[26]
2020 6 Rounds of Chloë Stella Gupta Associate producer


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Miami Vice Maria Rojas Episode: "Definitely Miami"
Spenser: For Hire Episode: "In a Safe Place"
1987 It's Garry Shandling's Show Maria Herrera Episode: "Garry Met a Girl Named Maria"
Police Story: The Freeway Killings Lydia Chacon TV movie
Hill Street Blues Lola Martinez Episode: "A Pound of Flesh"
1988 Stones for Ibarra Manuela Reyes TV movie
CBS Schoolbreak Special Alicia Rojas Episode: "Gangs"
Break of Dawn Linda TV movie
1989 Protect and Surf Ramona Diaz TV movie
Hunter Maria Gonsalves Episode: "The Nightmare"
1989-1990 Tour of Duty Susanna Lozada 3 episodes
1990 Equal Justice Brenda Episode: "Cop's Story"
1989-1990 21 Jump Street Marta 2 episodes
1991 Shoot First: A Cop's Vengeance TV movie
Crazy from the Heart Alcira Zavala TV movie
1992 Murder, She Wrote Rosa García Episode: "Day of the Dead"
Beverly Hills, 90210 Beth Nielsen Episode: "The Back Story"
Wild Card TV movie
1993 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Carmen Alvarado Episode: "Pilot"
1994 Walker, Texas Ranger Mary Wells Episode: "The Legend of Running Bear"
Lifestories: Families in Crisis Jeannie Episode: "A Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story"
The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story Ilzamar TV movie
1995 NYPD Blue Maria Galvan Episode: "Vishy-Vashy-Vinny"
1998 Vengeance Unlimited Elena Amayo Episode: "Security"
2000 Star Trek: Voyager Tincoo Episode: "Virtuoso"
1995-2000 The Eddie Files Aunt Rosa 16 episodes
2000 JAG Princess Fatima 'Fannie' al-Amatula Episode: "The Princess and the Petty Officer"
2000-2001 Resurrection Blvd. Sulinda Serrano 5 episodes
2001 Ice TV movie
2002 Alias Dr. Lemon Episode: "Rendezvous"
The Division Connie Episode: "Secrets, Lies and Weddings"
2003 The Handler Carlita Episode: "Hardcore"
2004 24 Theresa Ortega Episode: "Day 3: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m."
Judging Amy Ms. Nunez Episode: "Accountability"
2005-2007 Medium Walter Paxton's Attorney / Paxton's Attorney / Miss Romney 3 episodes
2006 Sideliners TV movie; director
2009 Lie to Me Inez Episode: "Control Factor"
2013 The Mentalist Woman in Chapel Episode: "Red John"
2014 Perception Kenny's Foster Mom Episode: "Brotherhood"
2019 Black Jesus Judge Episode: "The Compton Carter"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Equal Means Equal' Director Kamala Lopez On The Hard Truths Of Her Gender Equality Documentary – Springboard by Kristy Puchko, August 26, 2016". US News/Associated Press. 26 August 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "Lawsuit Seeks to Ease Adoption of Equal Rights Amendment - January 7, 2020". US News/Associated Press. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Gonzalez, Luis Manuel (January 29, 1995). "Kamala Lopez-Dawson", La Opinión 69 (136): 1D.
  4. ^ "Yale Alumni". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  5. ^ "Wired Science". PBS. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  6. ^ Torres, Vicglamar (October 4, 2007). "La Ciencia al Alcance de Todos", Hoy Nueva York.
  7. ^ (October, 2007). "Latina Plugs In For Wired Science" Latino Perspectives Magazine "LP Journal".
  8. ^ a b c "Kamala Lopez defends women's rights". The Times of India. July 26, 2011. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Cynthia Schwartz - Advancing Women Peace Artists (May 26, 2011). "Civilization Needs Peace as Bread Needs Yeast-Jeannette Rankin, Back in the Kitchen". PRLog. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  10. ^ "The Striking Writers Speak!". Time. November 24, 2007. Archived from the original on November 25, 2007. Retrieved November 24, 2007.
  11. ^ Profile Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, more.com; accessed April 18, 2015.
  12. ^ Lopez, Kamala,"How They Did It: Documentary Equal Means Equal Made 158 Percent of its Goal on Kickstarter", moviemaker.com, February 4, 2014. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  13. ^ Equal Means Equal (film), un.org. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  14. ^ "Kamala Lopez". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  15. ^ "YaleWomen Award 2019". YaleWomen. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  16. ^ "Latino Spirit Awards | California Latino Legislative Caucus". Latinocaucus.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  17. ^ "Kamala Lopez, 2016 Champion of Justice". Equal Rights Advocate. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "TCFF XII". TCFF XII. 31 July 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  19. ^ "2016 Latino Spirit Awards: Kamala Lopez". Vida En El Valle. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  20. ^ "Commission for Women > Events > Annual Events > Women of the Year". Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  21. ^ "Kamala Lopez-Global Compact Network Canada". Global Compact. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  22. ^ "Boyle Heights Latina Independent Film Extravaganza". BHLIFE. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  23. ^ WeNews Staff (January 1, 2012). "Women's eNews Announces 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2012". Women's eNews. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  24. ^ "Museum of Latin American Art homepage". MOLAA. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  25. ^ Staff (November 6, 2011). "2011 Exceptional Merit in Media Awards (EMMAs) | National Women's Political Caucus". Nwpc.org. Archived from the original on February 14, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  26. ^ "Equal Means Equal". The Film Collaborative. 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2020.

External links[edit]