Brooklyn-born actress Lana Parrilla began appearing on television in the late '90s before gaining recognition for her role as the kind-hearted paramedic Teresa Ortiz on NBC action/drama series "Boomtown" (2002-2003).
Meanwhile, she has appeared in such TV shows as "Spin City," "NYPD Blue," "Six Feet Under," "24," "Lost," and co-starred as Nina Schaefer on NBC drama series "Windfall" (2006). She now plays Trina Decker, a former stewardess and the wife of an airline pilot (played by Grant Show), on the CBS period drama series "Swingtown" (2008).
On the big screen, the Puerto Rican and Italian descendant actress could be seen in the films "Spiders" (2000), "Replicant" (2001), "One Last Ride" (2003), and "Frozen Stars" (2003).
"My boyfriend says I dress like a rock star but I would say my style is hip and comfortable." Lana Parrilla (on her style).
Childhood and Family:
Puerto Rican and Italian descendant Lana Maria Parilla was born on July 15, 1977 in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother is a painter/artist and her father was the late Sam Parrilla, a professional baseball player who played for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1970s, his only time in the majors. Her aunt is character actress Candice Azzara (born on May 18, 1945).
Parrilla now resides in Los Angeles with her two Bengal cats, Stanley and Lenny.
"When I was just a kid, growing up in Brooklyn. I was constantly making home videos with my family – real silly high-concept productions like, ‘Attack of the Killer Handkerchief.' I guess I knew even then that I wanted to be an actress." Lana Parrilla.
Growing up with an artist mother, an actress aunt, and a banjo-playing grandfather, Lana Parrilla had dreamed of becoming a performer since her early years. Following high school graduation, she headed for Los Angeles to study the craft and pursue a serious acting career.
In 1999, the aspiring actress landed her first professional acting job with a two-episode guest spot as a waitress on the short-lived UPN sitcom starring Jaleel White, "Grown Ups." In the following year, she scored her first regular TV series role on the ABC sitcom "Spin City," playing assistant Angie Ordonez during the show's first season (2000-2001).
Meanwhile, Parrilla appeared in the films "Very Mean Men" (2000), a crime/comedy by Tony Vitale starring Matthew Modine, Martin Landau, and Scott Baio, "Spiders" (2000), a horror film from Nu Image in which she starred as curious reporter Marci Eyre, and "Replicant" (2001), a sci-fi/action directed by Ringo Lam and stars Michael Rooker and Jean-Claude Van Damme. She also could be seen in the action/drama made-for-television movie "Semper Fi" (2001).
From 2002 to 2003, Parrilla co-starred as the kind-hearted paramedic Teresa Ortiz on NBC action/drama series "Boomtown," alongside Gary Basaraba, Jason Gedrick, Neal McDonough, and Donnie Wahlberg. Her work in the show won her an Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television and earned her an ALMA Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series.
During her "Boomtown" stint, Parrilla was spotted as a guest in a 2002 episode of the NBC/CBS military drama series "JAG" and FX Networks' police-drama "The Shield." She was also cast in 2003 films "One Last Ride," an emotionally gripping drama by Tony Vitale, and "Frozen Stars," a coming-of-age drama by writer/director David-Matthew Barnes.
Following the demise of "Boomtown," Parrilla played recurring roles on ABC's Emmy Award-winning police drama series "NYPD Blue," HBO drama/comedy "Six Feet Under," and FOX's Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning action drama starring Kiefer Sutherland, "24," as Sarah Gavin, an analyst at CTU who works closely with Chloe O'Brian, Edgar Stiles, and Marianne Taylor.
She also co-starred as Nina Schaefer on NBC drama series "Windfall" (2006), with Sarah Wynter, Jon Foster, Alice Greczyn, Malinda Williams, Luke Perry, and D.J. Cotrona, and played Greta in two 2007 episodes of ABC survivor drama series "Lost."
Parrilla now plays Trina Decker, a former stewardess and the wife of an airline pilot (played by Grant Show), on the CBS period drama series "Swingtown," which premiered on Thursday June 5, 2008. Meanwhile, she played the lead role in the crime/drama/mystery TV movie "The Double Life of Eleanor Kendall" (2008).
Imagen: Best Supporting Actress - Television, "Boomtown," 2003