Mostly Credited As: John Leguizamo
Birth Name: John Alberto Leguizamo
Date Of Birth: July 22, 1964 (Age 50)
Country Of Birth: Colombia
Birth Place: Bogotá
Height: 5' 7" (1.7 m)
Fast talking and feisty looking Latino actor & comedian who has steadily impressed movie audiences with his versatility from playing sensitive & naive young men, such as "Johnny" in the superb Hangin' with the Homeboys (1991), to cold blooded villain "Benny Blanco from the Bronx" gunning down reformed gangster Al Pacino in _Carlito's Way (1995)_ , a heroic Navy Seal stopping aerial terrorists in Executive Decision (1996) and as drag queen, "Miss Chi Chi Rodriguez", in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). Arguably, not since the ill-fated actor and comedian Freddie Prinze starred in the smash TV series "Chico and the Man" (1974), has a youthful Latino personality had such a powerful impact on critics and fans alike.
Born July 22, 1964 in Bogota, Colombia...Leguizamo immigrated with his family at the age of four to the US and was raised in Queens, New York City.....attended New York University, and studied under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg for only one day, before he passed away!! The extrovert Leguizamo started working the comedy club circuit in NYC and first appeared in front of the cameras in an episode of "Miami Vice" (1984). His first film appearance was a small part in Mixed Blood (1985), and then other minor in Casualties of War (1989) and Die Hard 2 (1990), before playing a liquor store thief who shoots Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry (1991). His career really started to soar after his wonderful performance in the sensational Hangin' with the Homeboys (1991) as a nervous young teenager from the Bronx out for a night in brightly lit Manhattan with his buddies, and facing the career choice of staying in a supermarket, or heading off to college.
The year 1991 was also very memorable for other reasons, as he hit the stage with his show "Mambo Mouth" in which he portrayed seven different Latino characters. The witty & incisive show was a smash hit and won for Leguizamo the Obie & Outer Circle Critics Award, plus it later played on HBO where it picked up a CableACE Award. He returned to the stage approximately two years later, with another satirical production poking fun at Latino stereotypes titled "Spic-O-Rama", that played Chicago & New York, and won the Drama Desk Award and four CableACE Awards. In 1995, he created & starred in the short lived TV series "House of Buggin'" (1995), an all Latino casted comedy / variety show featuring hilarious sketches and comedic routines. The show scored two Emmy nominations, and positive reviews from critics, however it folded after only one season. Gifted Leguizamo was still keeping busy in film with key appearances in Super Mario Bros. (1993), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Spawn (1997). And in 1998, he made his Broadway debut in "Freak" a "demi-semi-quasi-pseudo-autobiographical" one man show.
Utilising his distinctive vocal talents, he next voiced a pesky rat in Doctor Dolittle (1998), before appearing in the dynamic Spike Lee Summer of Sam (1999) as a guilt-ridden womaniser, as the Genie of The Lamp in the exciting Arabian Nights (2000) (TV) and as "Henri Toulouse Latrec" in the visual spectacular Moulin Rouge! (2001). Additional voice work followed as "Sid" in the animated Ice Age (2002), alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Collateral Damage (2002), and directing & starring in the boxing film Undefeated (2003) (TV). At the time of writing, Leguizamo was in post production for the keenly anticipated remake of the John Carpenter hit Assault on Precinct 13 (2005). There can be no doubt that the remarkably talented Leguizamo has been a breakthrough performer for the Latino community in mainstream Hollywood, in much the same way that Sidney Poitier crashed through celluloid barriers for African Americans in the early 1960s. Among his many strengths lies his ability to both not take his ethnic background too seriously, but also that he is proud of his Latin heritage and that he has opened many doors for his countrymen. Definitely, a masterly and accomplished performer, movie audiences await Leguizamo's next exciting performance!!