Six Feet Rico
"There will always be barriers when your name is Rodriguez and the role is for Jones, and they only see you for your ethnicity. But Hollywood doesn't want to keep back Latinos, African-Americans or anyone. It's all about money. If you can earn them money, they could care less what your ethnic background is." Freddy Rodriguez.
Prolific Puerto Rican-American thespian Freddy Rodriguez was widely recognized as the ambitious mortician Federico “Rico” Diaz (2001-2005) on HBO's popular and critically acclaimed drama comedy "Six Feet Under." TV viewers also remembered him while playing Mark Espinosa (2003-2004), the brother of Nurse Carla Espinosa (played by Judy Reyes), on several episodes of NBC's sitcom "Scrubs," and as teenaged superheroes Más and Menos (2005-2006) on Cartoon Network's animated series "Teen Titans."
Moviegoers could catch Rodriguez in Dead Presidents (1995), Can't Hardly Wait (1998), Poseidon (2006) and Lady in the Water (2006). Lately, his career hit the fast track, thanks to his two films in theatres this month (November 2006): David Ayer's directional debut Harsh Times (with Christian Bale and Eva Longoria) and Emilio Estevez's star-studded biopic Bobby. The 5' 6" tall actor has also signed to star in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' upcoming two-segment suspense-horror, Grindhouse.
Puerto Rico Blood
Childhood and Family:
The youngest of three sons of first-generation Puerto Rican immigrants, Freddy Rodriguez was born on January 17, 1975, in Chicago, Illinois. He is a graduate of Lincoln Park High School in Chicago.
"I like curves. I like hips and a big butt. That's the first thing that attracted me to my wife." Freddy Rodriguez.
For 11 years, Freddy has been married to his high school sweetheart, Elsie. His son, Giancarlo Rodriguez, played Freddy’s son Julio on HBO's “Six Feet Under.” His second son is named Elijah Rodriguez.
Freddy, who was just shy of 20 when his first child was born, once said: "Having kids will make you grow up quickly. But I've been blessed. I've done well in the professional film world and have always made a living."
"As long as there is truth, there's going to be stereotypes in films, and actors who are going to play them. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I always felt like my game plan was different. There just needs to be somebody who stands up and says, ‘I'm going to take a stand and not be that dude.'" Freddy Rodriguez.
Bitten by the acting bug while studying at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago, Freddy Rodriguez frequently headlined his high school’s plays, including "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Twelve Angry Men," "The Crucible," "A Midsummers Night's Dream" and "The Lottery." At the age of 14, the theater-trained actor starred in the pilot production of Chicago's Whirlwind Performance Company. He was later awarded a two-year scholarship to the summer arts program at Chicago's Center for the Gifted and went on to star in many local theater productions.
Soon after graduation, 19-year-old Freddy made his feature debut as the younger version of Billy Wirth's prison parolee Terry Griff in Peter Pistor's sobering and gritty 1994 drama The Fence. He followed it up with a role as Anthony Quinn's son, Pedro Aragon, Jr., in Alfonso Arau's lush romantic melodrama set in 1945, A Walk in the Clouds (also starring Keanu Reeves), and a co-starring role alongside Larenz Tate and Chris Tucker in the Hughes brothers’ action-thriller Dead Presidents (both in 1995).
The next years saw Freddy in Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont's romantic teen comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998; starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ethan Embry; Freddy played as an obnoxious jock named T.J) and in Brian Helgeland's remake of John Boorman's 1967 noir-classic Point Blank, Payback (1999; starring Mel Gibson). Meanwhile, he also gained popularity on television, thanks to his many appearances on hit TV series, which include a recurring role as Albert, the man who mugs Sarah (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) and later rips her off, in several 1999 episodes of Fox’s soap opera “Party of Five.”
In 2001, Freddy nabbed his most famous role to date, as Federico “Rico” Diaz, the extremely skilled restorative artist who later became a partner in the business, on HBO's popular and critically acclaimed drama comedy "Six Feet Under." In 2002, the role earned him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor. For 62 episodes, Freddy worked on the show, until his character was killed in its fifth season in 2005.
“I thank God that I was doing “Six Feet” for so long that I knew the character inside out. It was easy for me to switch to that character if need be.” Freddy Rodriguez.
Throughout his five-year run in "Six Feet Under," Freddy continued acting in films like Beyond the City Limits (2001), Victor and Eddie (2003), Chasing Papi (2003) and Dallas 362 (2003). He also had a recurring role, as Mark Espinosa (2003-2004), the brother of Nurse Carla Espinosa (played by Judy Reyes), on several episodes of NBC's sitcom "Scrubs."
From 2005 to 2006, Freddy lent his voice to teenaged superhero characters Más and Menos on Cartoon Network's animated series "Teen Titans." During that time, he played Hector, a vicious inner city drug dealer, in Barbara Kopple's movie, Havoc (2005; with Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips and Shiri Appleby). He also got busier when he was cast in several 2006 prominent features, including Wolfgang Petersen's remake of the 1972 Irwin Allen disaster movie based on a novel by Paul Gallico, Poseidon (with Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss), and in M. Night Shyamalan's seventh feature, the thriller/fantasy Lady in the Water (starring Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard), in which he played Reggie, a strong-arm athlete who later revealed as the Guardian.
“Harsh Times (2006) was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. I was still doing “Six Feet Under” at the same time. What I mean when I say I was doing “Six Feet Under” at the same time, I literally mean still doing it at the same time. I was doing “Six Feet Under” on Thursdays and Fridays and I was doing Harsh Times (2006) on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and just kind of repeated that cycle until the duration of the film.” Freddy Rodriguez.
Lately, Freddy’s career hit the fast track with his two films in theatres this month (November 2006). He co-starred in screenwriter David Ayer's directional debut, a gritty drama set on the streets of South Los Angeles, Harsh Times, in which Freddy portrayed the best friend of an ex-Army Ranger (played by Christian Bale) struggling to cope with postwar life while hoping to make it into the LAPD (Eva Longoria also appeared as Freddy’s long-time girlfriend). He also appeared in Emilio Estevez's star-studded docudrama on the assassination of presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, Bobby (with Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Lindsay Lohan and Elijah Wood), playing José, the busboy present at the Ambassador Hotel when Robert Kennedy was assassinated.
"Emilio was trying to take a different approach to the biopic. He wanted to show how this man affected people, and the things they were thinking and doing at the time." Freddy Rodriguez (on Bobby (2006)).
Freddy has also signed on Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' upcoming two-segment suspense-horror, Grindhouse. Freddy will star in the segment “Planet Terror,” a zombie film by Robert Rodriguez, as the martial arts-wielding character Wray who teams up with Rose McGowan's character to take on a town full of zombies.
"It's gonna be cool. I'd never seen myself run up a wall and do back flips. It was the longest and hardest I've ever worked on a film, but Robert knows what he's doing. He's created his own little Hollywood in Austin, and it was great to be a part of that." Freddy Rodriguez (on his next film with directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse).
- Imagen Foundation Awards: Best Supporting Actor - Television, "Six Feet Under," 2005
- Imagen Foundation Awards: Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama, "Six Feet Under," 2004
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, "Six Feet Under," 2004; award shared
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, "Six Feet Under," 2003; award shared
- Imagen Foundation Awards: Best Supporting Actor - Television, "Six Feet Under," 2003