Mostly Credited As: Arlen Escarpeta
Birth Name: Arlen Aaron Escarpeta
Date Of Birth: April 09, 1980 (Age 33)
Country Of Birth: Belize
Birth Place: Belize
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Not many people can star on the gridiron and stage at the same time but Arlen Escarpeta managed to balance both a few years ago, serving as captain of the football team while performing in several drama productions as part of the arts-magnet program at Hollywood High School.
"Fortunately, I didn't have to make a choice," says Escarpeta, who also ran track and sang at his graduation ceremonies. "I had a very understanding football coach, I suppose it helped that one of the coaches was an actor too!"
Escarpeta is a native of Belize (formerly British Honduras) in Central America who came to the United States after his father, a construction worker, died when he was 3. His mother, a manager for a dental office, settled in Los Angeles where her young son began to sing and dance in the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation. At 9, Escarpeta was cast in the title role of his elementary school's stylized production of Hamlet and was won over by the applause he received at the final curtain.
From there, Escarpeta attended several arts magnet schools in Los Angeles until he arrived at Hollywood High, where he honed his skills in dance, technical and music theater, and drama. He has since attended Pasadena City College for more than two years while studying sociology. Despite swift times of 21.8 seconds running the 200-yard dash and a personal best of 47- 2 in the triple jump -- he opted to concentrate on acting rather than dedicate the necessary amount of time to the junior college's track team.
"Ive realized how much my knowledge of sociology can help me prepare for a role," says Escarpeta, who can also be seen prominently in the pilot of NBC's Boomtown as the doomed Cantrel. In fact American Dreams was his second role and it aired before his first role on Boomtown.
Escarpeta's career has skyrocketed recently with guest-starring roles on the TV series Boston Public,Judging Amy and in the recent season finale of The Shield. His feature-film work includes High Crimes (starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman) and the upcoming independent work, The Playa's Court.
On his new series, Escarpeta portrays a teenager who also runs track at a private Catholic high school during the social turmoil of the 1960s. "He's very close to who I am," he says. "He has a sense of humor and has something to say about his world then and I have something to say about ours today."
In his leisure time, Escarpeta prefers to draw cartoon characters (I'm a cartoon fanatic), read non-fiction and restore his 1964 Volkswagen Beetle sedan. He's also a Los Angeles Laker and Dallas Cowboy fan, and remains active working for the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation.