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John Leguizamo (1964)

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  Summary  

Jonathan Alberto "John" Leguizamo is an Colombian-American actor, producer, voice artist, and comedian.

  Biography  

 early life
John Leguizamo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, to Alberto and Luz Leguizamo, According to Leguizamo, his paternal grandfather was of Italian descent and his maternal grandfather was Lebanese. Leguizamo has also described himself as being of Amerindian and Mestizo heritage. Leguizamo's father was once an aspiring film director and studied at Cinecittà, but eventually dropped out due to lack of finances. When Leguizamo was four years old, his family emigrated to the United States and lived in various neighborhoods of Queens in New York City, including Jackson Heights. Leguizamo attended the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School and later the Murry Bergtraum High School. As a student at Murry Bergtraum, Leguizamo wrote comedy material and tested it out on his classmates. He was voted "Most Talkative" by his fellow classmates. After graduating from high school, he began his theater career as an undergraduate at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in which he eventually dropped out to seek a stand-up comedy career. Post NYU Leguizamo enrolled at Long Island University C.W. Post Campus where he took theater classes.

 career
 Early career
Leguizamo started out as a stand-up comic doing the New York nightclub circuit. In 1984, he made his television debut with a small part in Miami Vice. His other early roles include: an extra in Madonna's Borderline video playing a friend of Madonna's boyfriend; Mixed Blood ; Casualties of War ; Die Hard 2 ; Hangin' with the Homeboys ; the robber in Regarding Henry and Night Owl , which was filmed from 1989–1991.

 Film
In 1992, he starred in "Whispers in the Dark" as John Castillo. In 1993 Leguizamo was offered the lead part as Luigi in the superhero film Super Mario Bros., based on the Mario video game franchise. Despite being considered a critical and financial failure universally, the film started his acting career in Hollywood and became one of his memorable roles. It also provided a boost to his career, allowing him to appear in better comedic roles in the following years, which helped the film reached its cult film status among his fans. That same year, he had a prominent role in Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way as Carlito Brigante's nemesis, "Benny Blanco from the Bronx," which also boosted his career in serious roles.

Leguizamo also starred in Romeo + Juliet as Tybalt Capulet, as Violator in Spawn, Cholo in Land of the Dead and Pestario 'Pest' Vargas in The Pest. In 1995, he starred as drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar and in the 1996 action film Executive Decision as Captain Rat. In 2002, he starred in the movie Empire.

In 2000, Leguizamo played two genies in the Emmy Award winning miniseries Arabian Nights.

To promote the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge!, he appeared on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Kelly Ripa, Kevin Sorbo, Alfre Woodard, Martin Short and Chevy Chase. Appearing as the first celebrity to sit in the hot seat, he eventually tried for $125,000, but got the answer wrong. Later in 2002, on the syndicated version, a question about the movie featured his character and Meredith Vieira mentioned that Leguizamo had played Lautrec and had been on the show.

In 2002 he voiced Sid the Sloth for the film Ice Age, eventually repeating it for the sequels Ice Age: The Meltdown and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The game versions of the films used his voice were used for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PC, and Mac. In 2003, he voice-acted Globox from Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Leguizamo portrayed Paul in the Brad Anderson thriller film Vanishing on 7th Street.

 Television
In 1995 Leguizamo created, produced, wrote, and starred in the 1995 Latino-oriented variety show called House of Buggin' on Fox Television. Some audiences saw this as the Latino version of In Living Color. The show showcased Leguizamo's well-known ability to assume a wide variety of colorful, energetic characters, but due to poor ratings the show ran less than one season.

During the 2005–06 television season, Leguizamo joined the cast of the show ER, playing the emotionally disturbed Dr. Victor Clemente, a new attending who is keen on introducing the staff of County General to better ways of treating patients and cutting-edge technology. Clemente, however, was plagued with personal problems and was fired from the hospital near the end of the season. Dr. Clemente's departure from the show was a blessing for Leguizamo. He revealed to CraveOnline that he was not happy working on the television program. "I was depressed doing ER," he admitted, "I started gaining weight, I was eating donuts, I started smoking again. I’m eating McDonald's, things that I know when I’m depressed I do. I tried to kill myself internally."

In 2005, he guest starred on Dora the Explorer as Captain Pirate Piggy. In 2006, Leguizamo starred in the television pilot for Edison, a 2006 CBS drama about an Los Angeles detective who relied on impersonations and disguises to solve crimes. Other cast members included Currie Graham and Deidrie Henry. Kevin Rodney Sullivan directed from a script by Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes. Leguizamo and David Hoberman also served as executive producers.

In July 2007, Spike TV aired their drama series The Kill Point, starring Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg and Michael Hyatt. The show was an eight-part series revolving around ex-war veterans whose bank robbery went wrong, thus ending in a hostage situation. Despite high ratings, The Kill Point was not renewed for a second season.

In 2010, Leguizamo also guest starred on The Electric Company as himself, rhyming about commas and quotation marks.

 Broadway and theater

In 1991, he also wrote and took part in the Off-Broadway production Mambo Mouth, where he played seven different characters. Mambo Mouth won an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Award. He was listed as one of 12 "Promising New Actors of 1991" in "John Willis' Screen Worlds Vol. 43".

In 1993, Leguizamo wrote and participated in Spic-O-Rama, where he made fun of the stereotyping of Latinos in the United States. The production won a Drama Desk Award and four Cable ACE Awards. Both Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama were later filmed for presentation on HBO.

In 1998, he debuted on Broadway in the production of Freak, which was basically about his whole life experience with his family, how he had a troubled family, and a messed up life. In 2000, it was turned into an HBO film by director Spike Lee. The show won him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show.

In 2002, he wrote and performed in Sexaholix... A Love Story which explained his love life and how he started his own family.

In June 2010, Leguizamo wrote and participated in Klass Klown, a semi-autobiographical one-man show based on his memoir Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life.

In November 2010, Leguizamo performed in Ghetto Klown at the Canadian Stage's Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto, Canada.

The show opened on Broadway in March 2011 at the Lyceum Theatre, after Leguizamo performed an 'unplugged' version of the show under the title John Leguizamo Warms Up at Chicago's Royal George Theatre in February.
The show, an in-depth look at Leguizamo's professional career as it intercepted with his personal life, opened to critical raves and was extended through July 10th, 2011. A CD, produced through the legendary Fania Records was distributed along with the show's release, adding a musical and more personal element to the show. The show's official webpage can be viewed here . Leguizamo received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for his work in the show.

In September 2011 Leguizamo will begin an international tour of "Ghetto Klown" in Los Angeles at the .

 On Record
John Leguizamo LIVE on RCA Records. The Live CD features the best of Leguizamo's stage routines at the time. Leguizamo gives his audience a primer on the history and culture of Latinos in America. The story starts with the dubious tale of the mating of an Inca princess with a Spanish conquistador, thus creating the original dysfunctional Latin family with Leguizamo providing all the voices

The CD includes a musical intermission, with two salsa/hip-hop tunes, "The Night Before Christmas" and "Gotta Get Some".

The Mac-and-PC compatible enhanced CD includes footage from John on tour at various US locations and two interactive games; "Spanish Fly Pick-Up Line", which lets the person at the keyboard click to choose an appropriate response to a number cheesy pickup lines, delivered by an animated version of Leguizamo, and "Six Degrees of Leguizamo", a drag-and-drop brain-teaser modeled on the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" phenomena. The number of correct answer sequences to this game attest to the Leguizamo's prolific career.

 personal life
Leguizamo married Justine Maurer on June 28, 2003 in a Catholic-Jewish ceremony. They have two children, daughter Allegra Sky and son Ryder Lee , and live in Manhattan.

In an interview with Playboy Magazine, Leguizamo notably described how, despite wife Justine being Jewish, he was determined not to adhere to the Jewish tradition of circumcision for boys when they had children. He said: "We talked about it, and I said there's no way they're going to be circumcised, and she was totally cool with it. It's a beautiful thing."

In 2008, he received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors .

He was a recipient of the 2011 from the City of New York.
Other recipients included actor Matt Damon, location-based social network foursquare and director Sidney Lumet.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "John Leguizamo", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.