Name:
Rosie Perez
Birth Date:
September 6, 1964
Birth Place:
Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
Her role as Tina in 'Do the Right Thing' (1989)
Profession:
Actress, Dancer, Choreographer
Education:
Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, California
BIOGRAPHY
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Fearless

Background:

“The racism, the sexism, I never let it be my problem, it's their problem. If I see a door coming my way, I'm knockin' it down. And if I can't knock down the door, I'm sliding through the window. I've never let it stop me from what I wanna do.” Rosie Perez.

Starting out as a dancer and was discovered by Spike Lee while performing in a club, Rosie Perez went on to choreograph music videos and stage shows for such artists as Bobby Brown, Diana Ross and LL Cool J. The Puerto Rico descendant later received three times Emmy nominations for choreographing the Fly Girls on Fox popular sketch comedy television series “In Living Color.” She has appeared in the TV shows "21 Jump Street," "WIOU," "Late Night with David Letterman," "Frasier" and "Go, Diego! Go!"

Making her first film acting role as Spike Lee's fast-talking, no-nonsense girlfriend in the critically-acclaimed comedy Do the Right Thing (1989), Perez was nominated an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her turn as Carla Rodrigo, a plane crash survivor who lost her baby son during the flight, in Peter Weir's film adaptation of the novel by Rafael Yglesias, Fearless (1993; opposite Jeff Bridges and Isabella Rossellini). She has starred in such films as White Men Can't Jump (1992), It Could Happen to You (1994), A Brother's Kiss (1997), Perdita Durango (1997), The 24 Hour Woman (1999), Human Nature (2001), Lackawanna Blues (2005; TV) and Just Like the Son (2006). She will next be seen in the upcoming films The Take, The Pineapple Express, and ItW.

Perez is also a producer and director. She has produced HBO three-part miniseries “ Rosie Perez Presents Society's Ride,” executive-produced SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground (1997), an anthology of short films also aired on HBO, and co-produced the indie film that she stars, The 24 Hour Woman (1999). As a director, she helmed Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas! (2006; aka I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!), a documentary on New York's annual Puerto Rican Day parade.

The 5' 1½" ebullient, high-voiced Latina actress who sports at 34C-23-34 1/2 measurements was impersonated by Amy Poehler on a pre-taped sketch “Saturday Night Live” called “New York Stories.” She married film director/screenwriter/playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld in 1999 but has separated since 2001.


Rosa Maria

Childhood and Family:

Daughter to Puerto Rican parents, Rosa Maria Perez was born in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, New York, on September 6, 1964. She has a twin sister named Carmin and two half siblings, Magda and Ray Perez. At age 12, she cut a woman's neck and was subsequently placed in a group home.

Perez attended Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, California. On July 10, 1999, she married film director/screenwriter/playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, but separated in November 2001.

Perez is a Puerto Rican activist and fights for Puerto Rican rights from America, which could be seen in her 2006 film Yo Soy Boricua! Pa' Que Tu Lo Sepas! (I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!). In early 2000, she was arrested for disorderly conduct in Manhattan after a rally to protest US Navy bomb tests on Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Perez, whose mother suffers with AIDS, is also a strong supporter of AIDS education and research.

In order to stay in shape and centered in spirit, Rosie practices Kung-Fu, Yoga and Meditation.


I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!

Career:

“If I may say so myself, I'm an excellent choreographer. I have a lot of room to grow, but I think I'm very good with vision in regard to dance. However, I've never been a good dancer.” Rosie Perez.

Beginning her career as a featured dancer on long-running music-related syndicated television program “Soul Train,” Rosie Perez then went to perform at the LA club Funky Reggae, where she was spotted by Spike Lee who asked her to appear in the 1989 drama/comedy motion picture produced, written, directed by and starring Lee, Do the Right Thing. In her first film, which also marks the feature film debut of Martin Lawrence and the second film role ever for Samuel L. Jackson, Perez played Lee's fast-talking, no-nonsense girlfriend named Tina who is constantly nagging him about caring for their infant son. She also choreographed the opening title sequence for the film. The film itself received critical acclaim and was nominated two Academy Awards. It was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was also listed as the 96th greatest American Movie in Film History by the American Film Institute in 2007.

“People who've seen 'Do the Right Thing' say, 'Oh, my gosh, you're an amazing dancer!' But if you talk to a true hip-hop dancer from back in the day, they'd say, 'She's all right.' That's the reason why I never really put myself out there, because I understood my limitations.” Rosie Perez.

Following her stunning film debut, Perez moved on to choreograph music videos and stage shows for such artists as Bobby Brown, Diana Ross, LL Cool J and The Boys. She was also the choreographer for the dancing group the Fly Girls, who were featured on every performance of Fox popular sketch comedy television series “In Living Color.” In fact, she also helped nurture the career of another Latina Fly Girl who went on to become a superstar in her own right: Jennifer Lopez. Perez's work in “In Living Color” from 1990 to 1993 has earned her three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Choreography.

Meanwhile, Perez had a recurring role on the CBS short-lived nightime soap opera “WIOU” (1990-1991) and made her first TV movie with a starring role as Denise Moore, a robbery victim whose face is slashed, in HBO's Criminal Justice (1990), opposite Forest Whitaker and Anthony LaPaglia. She was also spotted as a guest in a February 1990 episode of Fox hit cop drama series “21 Jump Street.”

Perez returned to the wide screen as Giancarlo Esposito's sister-in-law in producer/writer/director Jim Jarmusch's drama comedy Night on Earth (1991; starring Gena Rowlands and Winona Ryder), and as Woody Harrelson's girlfriend who dreams to appear on the game show "Jeopardy!" in writer/director Ron Shelton's basketball comedy White Men Can't Jump (1992). She also supported Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei in Tony Bill's romantic drama comedy Untamed Heart (1993) and made her TV debut as an executive producer with HBO's “Rosie Perez Presents Society's Ride,” which she also hosted.

The portrayal of Carla Rodrigo, a plane crash survivor who lost her baby son during the flight, is probably Perez's most acclaimed role to date. She played the role in Peter Weir's film adaptation of the novel by Rafael Yglesias, Fearless (1993), opposite Jeff Bridges and Isabella Rossellini. Her brilliant performance was awarded a number of accolades, including a nomination at the prestigious Academy Awards, for Best Actress in a Supporting Role category.

Afterward, Perez was cast as Nicolas Cage's free-spending wife who left him for Seymour Cassel's newly-rich character, in Andrew Bergman's romantic drama comedy It Could Happen to You (1994; also starring Bridget Fonda), and as a taxi dancer in love with the wrong man in Alexandre Rockwell's Somebody to Love (filmed in 1994; released theatrically in 1996). She was directed by future husband Seth Zvi Rosenfeld in his film version of his own play, A Brother's Kiss (1997), playing wife of a school buss driver (played by Nick Chinlund) before she created and executive produced the omnibus HBO TV movie SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground (1997), in which she also starred opposite Michael McGlone in the “Love on the A Train” segment.

Perez subsequently played the title role of a rough, no-nonsense lady clad in a Tura Satana-style black outfit in Alex de la Iglesia's Perdita Durango (1997; Javier Bardem played her demonic lover), based on Barry Gifford's novel “59° and Raining: The Story of Perdita Durango,” and starred in Nancy Savoca's independent comedy The 24 Hour Woman (1999; she also co-produced), as a TV talk show host who is accidentally pregnant and struggles to juggle a perfect marriage, work and motherhood. She also lent her voice to the character of Chel in the animated comedy movie Road to El Dorado (2000).

In 2001, Perez made official NYC stage acting debut as Gabriela in José Rivera's play “References of Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot” at the Shiva Theater in New York City. In the following year, she made her Broadway debut in a production of Terrence McNally's two-character play, “Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune,“ alongside Joe Pantoliano. She was also the Mystery Guest Star in a musical farce written by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben, “The Play What I Wrote,” at the Lyceum Theatre, New York City, New York, in 2003.

Meanwhile, Perez continued acting in films. She starred in King of the Jungle (2000), an independent drama/thriller film written and directed by her husband in which she starred opposite John Leguizamo playing the lesbian lover of his mother, and Human Nature (2001), a Cannes-premiered philosophical burlesque directed by Michel Gondry in which she played an electrologist opposite Tim Robbins, Rhys Ifans and Patricia Arquette. She also appeared in print ads for Hispanic Scholarship Fund as well as TV commercial for Hispanic Scholarship Fund and for “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Returning to the small screen, Perez was nominated a Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television and an Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for her her turn as hairdresser Bertha in the HBO original movie, Lackawanna Blues (2005), based on Ruben Santiago-Hudson autobiographical/musical one man play. She starred as Click, the camera that locates the animal calling for help, on Nick Jr.'s animated series for preschool-aged children, “Go, Diego, Go!” (2005-Present), a spin-off of Dora the Explorer.

Perez made her debut as a documentary director with Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas! (2006; aka I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!), which traces the history of Puerto Rican culture from its beginnings, and in Fall 2006, she starred and directed the Spanish AIDS PSA campaign "Join the Fight" for Cable Positive and Kismet Films, which featured actor Wilmer Valderrama, BET's Julissa Bermudez, Telenovela actor Erick Elias, singer/actress Lorena Rojas, 2006-2007 Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, and actress Judy Marte. Liev Schreiber directed the English-version campaign.

Resuming her acting career, Perez recently co-starred with Mark Webber and Antonio Ortiz in writer/director Morgan J. Freeman's drama film Just Like the Son (2006) and has completed a crime/drama film by Brad Furman, The Take (2007), alongside John Leguizamo and Tyrese Gibson. Next, she will be seen as a corrupt police officer, opposite Seth Rogen and James Franco, in David Gordon Green's upcoming comedy film The Pineapple Express, expected to be released on August 8, 2008. She will also act opposite Terrence Howard, Alan Cumming and Debra Winger, in Jennifer Elster's forthcoming film, ItW.

“I have to take voice and dance lessons. It's going to be a challenge, and plus, this is Broadway, so it's a whole new medium for me... There are no boundaries in this musical. Everybody is going way over the top, and it's just a barrel of laughs.” Rosie Perez (on her preparation before appearing on Broadway's “The Ritz”).

Perez will soon return to stage, starring opposite Kevin Chamberlin in a limited-run Broadway revival of Terrence McNally's “The Ritz,” directed by Joe Mantello. In the slapstick comedy set in a gay bathhouse in Manhattan, she will portray Googie Gomez, a third-rate Puerto Rican entertainer with visions of Broadway glory, the role that won Rita Moreno a 1975 Tony. The play, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, is scheduled to begin previews on September 14, 2007 at Studio 54 with an October opening set.

“The biggest struggle I had was having people recognize I was an intelligent human being. They thought that since I had an accent, I must be stupid.” Rosie Perez.


Awards:

  • Fantafestival: Best Actress, Perdita Durango, 1998

  • Berlin International Film Festival: Special Mention, Fearless, 1994

  • Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actress, Fearless, 1994

  • Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actress, Fearless, 1994

  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Best Supporting Actress, Fearless, 1993

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Arrested for disorderly conduct in Manhattan following a rally to protest...
Helped nurture the career of another Latina Fly Girl who went on to become...
Was impersonated by Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live....
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SP_COP - October 16, 2013 - www.bet.com
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© Retna
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SP_COP - May 11, 2013 - www.femalefirst.co.uk
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© Retna
© Columbia Pictures
© Retna

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