PROFILE
Name:
Alec Mapa
Birth Date:
July 10, 1965
Birth Place:
San Francisco, California, USA
Nationality:
American
BIOGRAPHY
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Half & Half

Background:

Actor and comedian Alec Mapa first gained recognition as Chinese opera diva Song Liling in the Broadway production of “M. Butterfly.” However, it was his successful one man show “I Remember Mapa,” from which he won a LA Weekly award, which put him on the map.

Mapa is popular among television audiences for playing gay characters in such shows as CBS' “Some of My Best Friends” (2001), ABC's “Desperate Housewives” (2005-2007) and “Ugly Betty” (2007-2009), and Logo's “Rick & Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World” (2009, as Uncle Bakla). He is also known for his role as the wisecracking executive assistant Adam Benet in the UPN sitcom “Half & Half” (2003-2006). As a film actor, Mapa has acted in several movies, including “Bright Lights, Big City” (1988), “Playing by Heart” (1998), “Connie and Carla” (2004), “Dirty Laundry” (2006), “Tru Loved” (2008), “You Don't Mess with the Zohan” (2008) and “Marley & Me” (2008).

In 2005, Mapa was honored with a Visionary Award from the East West Players. The same year, he also picked up the Davidson/Valentini Award from the GLAAD Media Awards. Other awards he has received include the L.A. Drama Critics Award, two Dramalogue Awards, the L.A. Ovation Award, a Garland Award from Backstage West and a special citation from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Mapa has actively supported causes helping AIDS and Gay, Lesbian and Asian American communities, which includes Aids Project Los Angeles and Project Angel Food.


San Francisco

Childhood and Family:

Alejandro Mapa, who would later be popular as Alec Mapa, was born on July 10, 1965, in San Francisco, California. He grew up in a conservative Catholic Filipino family and was influenced by the bohemian lifestyle and multiculturalism. He was educated at George Washington High School in San Francisco and studied theater in New York at the Circle in the Square Professional Theatre School, the same school attended by future “Half & Half” costar Rachel True.

Currently, Alec lives in Los Angeles.


I Remember Mapa

Career:

Alec Mapa got his early stage experience in high school when he starred as Randolph McAfee in his school's production of “Bye Bye Birdie” in 1980. Seven years later, he played Peng in the ABC Afterschool Special “Supermom's Daughter” (1987). The following year, he broke into the big screen with small roles in Alan Alda's comedy “A New Life” and James Bridges' drama “Bright Lights, Big City,” which starred Michael J. Fox and Kiefer Sutherland.

Mapa made a guest appearance in “The Cosby Show” in 1990 and appeared in the 1991 music video “Losing My Religion,” by the alternative rock band R.E.M. His big break arrived when he was hired to succeed B.D. Wong as Song Liling in the Tony Award winning drama “M. Butterfly,” by David Henry Hwang.

Mapa reached a turning point in his career with his highly applauded one man popular show “I Remember Mapa,” about his experiences growing up gay in San Francisco. He was handed the LA Weekly award in the category of Best Solo Performance for his work and the show enjoyed sold out performances in Los Angeles, Montreal and Toronto.

Subsequently, Mapa attracted the attention of television producers and landed guest spots in television series such as “Melrose Place,” “Roseanne,” “Law & Order,” “Seinfeld,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Friends” and “Dharma & Greg.” He also had recurring roles in “NYPD Blue” (as Angela; 2 episodes, 1996-1997), “Spy Game” (as Andy Shawn; 2 episodes, 1997), and “Murder One” (as Damien Vasquez; 2 episodes, 1997) and appeared in the TV miniseries “Murder One: Diary of a Serial Killer” (1997). Meanwhile on the film front, Mapa appeared with Ron Rifkin, Tony Goldwyn and Sarah Jessica Parker in the film version of Jon Robin Baitz's play “The Substance of Fire” (1996) and with Gillian Anderson, Sean Connery, Anthony Edwards, Angelina Jolie, Ryan Phillippe, Dennis Quaid and Gena Rowlands in “Playing by Heart” (1998).

Mapa received his first regular TV role in the CBS sitcom “Some of My Best Friends,” where he portrayed Vern Limoso, the flamboyant best friend of Warren Fairbanks (played by Jason Bateman). Premiering in February 2001, the show suffered poor ratings and was canceled after five episodes. Despite its short life, “Some of My Best Friends” earned a GLAAD Media nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Comedy Series.

The actor next guest starred in the short lived CBS comedy “Baby Bob” (2002, starred Adam Arkin and Joely Fisher), the Emmy and Golden Globe action series “Alias” (2003, created by J.J. Abrams) and the ABC brief lived comedy “I'm with Her” (2004). He, however, did not return to series TV as a regular cast member until he joined the cast of the hit UPN sitcom “Half & Half” in 2003 in the role of Adam Benet, Mona Thorne's (played by Rachel True) friend and assistant. He was on the show until its demise in May 2006. He gained further recognition for his role as Eva Longoria Parker's friend Vern in several episodes of the successful ABC series “Desperate Housewives” (2005 to 2007).

While on “Half & Half,” Mapa also acted in several films. He portrayed Nat-San Wang in Andy Fickman's comedy “Who's Your Daddy” (2003), costarred with Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette and David Duchovny in “Connie and Carla” (2004), a comedy from director Michael Lembeck, appeared in the drama “Hard Pill” (2005), which won the Jury Award for Best New Director (John Baumgartner) at the 2005 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and played Howie in the short movie “Pollen” (2006). He then had a small role in “Dirty Laundry” (2006), which was written and directed by Maurice Jamal, and supported Najarra Townsend, Jake Abel and Alexandra Paul in Stewart Wade's award winning independent drama “Tru Loved” (2008). He also offered small, but memorable, performances in the box office comedies “You Don't Mess with the Zohan” and “Marley & Me,” based on the 2005 bestselling autobiographical book “Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog” by journalist John Grogan (both 2008). The films starred Adam Sandler, and Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, respectively.

Following guest appearances in “Heartland” (2007), Mapa returned to television in a recurring role in season two of the hit ABC series “Ugly Betty.” In 2009, he appeared in the animated series “Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World,” which starred Will Matthews as Rick and Peter Paige as Steve.

Also a TV host, Mapa hosted “Transamerican Love Story” (2008), a reality dating competition show that starred transgender artist Calpernia Addams. He also hosted “Dancing with Dogs on Animal Planet” (2008).

Still an active stage performer, Mapa has added to his resume work in the Broadway productions “Timon of Athens” and “A Little Hotel on the Side.” He also appeared in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway productions of “A Language of Their Own” and “Dogeaters” and performed in the musical “Adrift in Macao,” a play by Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick.


Awards:

  • East West Players: Visionary Award, 2005

  • GLAAD Media: Davidson/Valentini Award, 2005

  • LA Critic's: Best Solo Performance, “I Remember Mapa”

  • L.A. Drama Critics

  • Dramalogue Awards

  • L.A. Ovation Award

  • Garland Award

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