John Alberto Leguizamo (/ˌlɛɡwɪˈzɑːmoʊ/; Spanish: [leˈɣiːsamo]; born July 22, 1964) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, film producer, playwright, and screenwriter. He came to prominence with a co-starring role in the action comedy Super Mario Bros. (1993) as Luigi and a supporting role in the crime drama Carlito's Way (1993). Other roles include Sid the Sloth in the animated Ice Age films (2002–2016) and the narrator of the sitcom The Brothers García (2000–2004). As of 2009, he has appeared in over 75 films, produced over 10 films, starred on Broadway in several productions (winning several awards), made over 12 television appearances, and has produced or starred in many other television shows.
Leguizamo in September 2014
John Alberto Leguizamo
July 22, 1964
|Occupation||Actor, stand-up comedian, film producer, playwright, screenwriter|
(m. 1994; div. 1996)
Justine Maurer (m. 2003)
|Medium||Stand-up, film, television|
|Genres||Improvisational comedy, character comedy, physical comedy, satire, observational comedy, musical comedy|
|Subject(s)||Latino American culture, childhood, self-deprecation, family, friends, sex, marriage, parenting, race relations, racism, human sexuality, everyday life|
Leguizamo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, the son of Alberto and Luz Leguizamo. His father was once an aspiring film director and studied at Cinecittà, but eventually dropped out due to lack of finances. According to Leguizamo, his paternal grandfather was of Italian and Puerto Rican descent, and his maternal grandmother was Lebanese. He has also described himself as being of Amerindian and Mestizo heritage. On June 10, 2011, Leguizamo's father declared in an interview with New York Hispanic newspaper El Diario that he is Colombian and not Puerto Rican, and that Leguizamo is therefore not half Puerto Rican as he has always stated. Leguizamo had always declared that he was Puerto Rican on his father's side, which was one of the reasons he was selected as the Puerto Rican Day Parade Global Ambassador of the Arts. In response to his father's allegations, Leguizamo reiterated that his grandfather was of Puerto Rican descent. A National Puerto Rican Day Parade spokesman stated that Leguizamo would keep his ambassadorship. He marched in the parade on June 12, 2011.
When Leguizamo was four years old, his family immigrated to New York City, where they lived in various neighborhoods in Queens, including Jackson Heights. He later credited growing up as one of the first Latino children in the neighborhood as formative in his acting ability: "It was tough. There were lots of fights. I would walk through a park and be attacked, and I had to defend myself all the time. But this helped me to become funny so that I wouldn't get hit." Leguizamo attended the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School (I.S.145) and later the Murry Bergtraum High School. As a student at Murry Bergtraum, he wrote comedy material and tested it on his classmates. He was voted "Most Talkative" by his classmates. After graduating from high school, he began his theater career as an undergraduate at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, from which he eventually dropped out in favor of a career in stand-up comedy. Post-NYU, Leguizamo enrolled at LIU Post, where he took theater classes.
Leguizamo started out as a stand-up comic doing the New York nightclub circuit in 1984. He made his television debut in 1986 with a small part in Miami Vice. His other early roles include: a friend of Madonna's boyfriend in her "Borderline" video (1984); Mixed Blood (1985), Casualties of War (1989), a terrorist in Die Hard 2 (1990), Hangin' with the Homeboys (1991), the robber in Regarding Henry (1991), Super Mario Bros (1993), and Night Owl (1993).
In 1992, he starred in Whispers in the Dark as John Castillo. In 1993 Leguizamo was offered the lead part as Luigi in the 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. 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, the latter being one of his few roles as a lead actor in a studio film. In 1995, he starred as drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar for which he received a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and starred in the 1996 action film Executive Decision as Captain Rat. In 2002, he starred in the movie Empire. To promote the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge!, he appeared on a celebrity edition of the US version 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, reprising the role for the sequels Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ice Age: Continental Drift and Ice Age: Collision Course. The game versions of the films also used his voice. In 2003, he voice-acted Globox from Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Leguizamo portrayed Paul in the Brad Anderson thriller film Vanishing on 7th Street. In 2007, he played Michael Beltran in the movie The Babysitters. In 2008, he co-starred in the movie The Happening, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. In 2014 Leguizamo starred alongside Jon Favreau in Chef as the line cook Martin, a role he prepared for by working as an actual line cook at The Lion in the West Village. Also in 2014, he played a drug dealer in the Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart movie American Ultra. He also starred in John Wick as Aurelio in 2014.
In October 2013, Leguizamo started filming for The Crash, starring alongside Frank Grillo, AnnaSophia Robb, Dianna Agron, Ed Westwick, Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack, Christopher McDonald and Maggie Q. The film is directed by Aram Rappaport and produced by Hilary Shor, Atit Shah and Aaron Becker. The Crash was released on January 13, 2017.
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 doughnuts, 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 2004, 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 (played by Leguizamo) 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 its drama series The Kill Point, which starred 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 2008, Leguizamo guest starred on Sesame Street as Captain Vegetable as he encourages Elmo to eat his vegetables.
In 2010, Leguizamo also guest starred on The Electric Company as himself, rhyming about commas and quotation marks.
In 2012, Leguizamo was cast as Derek Trotter in the American remake of the British BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
In 1991, Leguizamo also wrote and performed 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 performed 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, a semi-autobiographical one-person play that was recorded for HBO and released on October 10, 1998, with Spike Lee sitting in as director. 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 opened his semi-autobiographical one-man theater show, Klass Klown (later renamed Ghetto Klown), based on his memoir Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life. After the show ran at various theaters in the United States and Leguizamo performed an "unplugged" version of it under the title John Leguizamo Warms Up at a Chicago theater, it opened on Broadway in March 2011 at the Lyceum Theatre. The show, about Leguizamo's path from obscurity to stardrom, opened to many positive reviews and was extended through July 10, 2011. A CD of the show was released. In 2011, Leguizamo received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for his performance in the show. In September 2011, Leguizamo began an international tour of Ghetto Klown in Los Angeles. On July 13, 2012, PBS debuted Tales From a Ghetto Klown, a documentary about Leguizamo's life and the show's development. On November 16, 2013 John taped Ghetto Klown at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ for HBO.
In 2017, he debuted Latin History for Morons, a show about the participation of Latin Americans throughout US history. The show premiered at the Public Theater before moving to Studio 54. Latin History for Morons was nominated for the 2018 Tony Award for Best Play.
In 2001, RCA/BMG Records released John Leguizamo LIVE, a CD compilation of Leguizamo's stage routines. Among the bits are a primer Leguizamo gives on the history and culture of Latinos in America, which with the dubious tale of the mating of an Inca princess with a Spanish conquistador, thus creating the original dysfunctional Latin family, each member of which is voiced by Leguizamo. The CD also includes a musical intermission, with two salsa/hip-hop tunes, "The Night Before Christmas" and "Gotta Get Some", and footage from Leguizamo's tours and two interactive games, "Spanish Fly Pick-Up Line".
In late 2017, Leguizamo sang on "Almost Like Praying", a charitable written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Proceeds from the song went to the Hispanic Federation to assist relief efforts for those in Puerto Rico who were affected by Hurricane Maria.
In October 2006, Leguizamo's memoir, Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life, was released. During an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, he stated that his memoir was very candid about experiences involving other celebrities he had worked with. He stated that working with Arnold Schwarzenegger on Collateral Damage (2002) was one of the most enjoyable experiences he'd had as an actor, that Schwarzenegger's accent let him say things that others would think were sexist or homophobic if said by someone else, that Steven Seagal was an egotist with diva tendencies, that Kurt Russell continuously called him a "faggot", and that Leonardo DiCaprio was a "patron of prostitutes".
In October 2015, Abrams ComicArts published the graphic novel adaptation of Leguizamo's one-man Broadway show, Ghetto Klown. As with the live show, the graphic novel explores the actor/comedian's life and career, beginning with his adolescence in Queens, New York, his involvement in '80s avant-garde theater, his feature film career, and some of the colorful characters he encountered throughout his life. Leguizamo describes the work thusly: "Ghetto Klown is the history that I probably never should have told anyone but my therapist, but it's a real lesson that even if you suffer a certain amount (a lot) of self-doubt and anxiety, you can still accomplish great things. It's a lesson I'm really excited to impart to a whole new audience." The comic is illustrated by Christo Cassano.
Leguizamo married actress Yelba Osorio in 1994. They divorced in 1996 after two years of marriage.
He married Justine Maurer, a costumer on Carlito's Way, in a Catholic-Jewish ceremony on June 28, 2003; he is Catholic and Maurer is Jewish. They have two children, daughter Allegra Sky Leguizamo (born 1999) and son Ryder Lee "Lucas" Leguizamo (born 2000).  They live in Manhattan.
In 2008, Leguizamo received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA). In 2011, he received the Made in NY Award from New York City. In 2018, Leguizamo received an Honorary Degree from Marymount Manhattan College.
Assault on Precinct 13 is a 2005 French-American action thriller film directed by Jean-François Richet, starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne. The cast also includes John Leguizamo, Maria Bello, Ja Rule, Drea de Matteo, Brian Dennehy, Aisha Hinds and Gabriel Byrne. It is a loose remake of John Carpenter's 1976 film of the same name, with an updated plot.Executive Decision
Executive Decision is a 1996 American action thriller film directed by Stuart Baird in his directorial debut, and stars Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, Halle Berry, Oliver Platt, David Suchet and John Leguizamo. It was released in the United States on March 15, 1996.Fugly!
Fugly! is a 2014 American comedy film directed by Alfredo De Villa and written by Kathy DeMarco and John Leguizamo. The film stars John Leguizamo, Radha Mitchell, Rosie Perez, Griffin Dunne, Yul Vazquez and Ally Sheedy. The film was released on November 5, 2014, by 108 Media and Paladin.Ice Age (2002 film)
Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated buddy comedy-drama film directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha from a story by Michael J. Wilson. Produced by Blue Sky Studios as its first feature film, it was released by 20th Century Fox on March 15, 2002. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary. Set during the days of the ice age, the film centers around three main characters- Manny (Romano), a no-nonsense woolly mammoth; Sid (Leguizamo), a loudmouthed ground sloth; and Diego (Leary), a saber-tooth tiger- who come across a human baby and work together to return a human baby to its tribe. Additionally, the film occasionally follows Scrat, a speechless "saber-toothed squirrel" voiced by Wedge who is perpetually searching for a place in the ground to bury his acorn.
Ice Age was originally intended as a 2D animated movie developed by Fox Animation Studios, but eventually became the first full-length animated movie for the newly-reformed Blue Sky, which had been reshaped from a special FX house to a CG animation studio. Focus shifted from making an action-adventure drama film to a more comedy-oriented one, and several writers, such as Michael Berg and Peter Ackerman, were brought on to bring out a wittier tone.
Upon release, Ice Age was met with mostly positive reviews and was nominated at the 75th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, losing to Spirited Away. It was a box office success by grossing over $383 million, starting the Ice Age franchise. It was followed by four sequels, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009, Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012, and Ice Age: Collision Course in 2016.John Leguizamo filmography
The following is the complete list of filmography by American actor, voice actor, stand-up comedian, film producer, playwright and screenwriter John Leguizamo.King of the Jungle (film)
King of the Jungle is a 2000 American drama film starring John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Michael Rapaport, Marisa Tomei, Rosario Dawson, Julie Carmen, Justin Pierce and Cliff Gorman. It was written and directed by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld.Nancy (film)
Nancy is a 2018 American mystery drama film written and directed by Christina Choe. It stars Andrea Riseborough, J. Smith-Cameron, Ann Dowd, John Leguizamo, and Steve Buscemi. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018. It was released on June 8, 2018, by Samuel Goldwyn Films.Playing with Fire (2020 film)
Playing with Fire is an upcoming family film directed by Andy Fickman.Righteous Kill
Righteous Kill is a 2008 American buddy cop crime thriller film directed by Jon Avnet, and starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. This is the second film (the first one is Heat) in which De Niro and Pacino appear together in the same scenes (both De Niro and Pacino starred in The Godfather Part II, but did not appear in any of the same scenes). Righteous Kill also features John Leguizamo, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Dennehy, and 50 Cent. The film was released in the United States on September 12, 2008.Spawn (film)
Spawn is a 1997 American superhero film based on the comic book character of the same name. Directed and co-written by Mark A.Z. Dippé, the film stars Michael Jai White in the title role, and is one of the first films to feature an African American actor portraying a major comic book superhero. Spawn depicts the origin story of the title character, beginning with the murder of soldier/assassin Al Simmons. He is resurrected as Spawn, the reluctant, demonic leader of Hell's army. He ultimately refuses to lead the army in the war against Heaven and turns away from evil. The film co-stars John Leguizamo (as The Violator, Al's demonic guide) and Nicol Williamson (as Al's mentor, Cogliostro) in his final film role. Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, D. B. Sweeney, Melinda Clarke, and Frank Welker also star in the film.
Spawn was released in the United States on August 1, 1997. It grossed $87 million worldwide against its production budget of $45 million, but received generally negative reviews from critics. The film was Williamson's final film appearance before his death on December 16, 2011.Spun
Spun is a 2002 American black comedy crime drama film directed by Jonas Åkerlund from an original screenplay by William De Los Santos and Creighton Vero, based on three days of De Los Santos' life in the Eugene, Oregon drug subculture. The film stars Jason Schwartzman, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Patrick Fugit, Peter Stormare, Alexis Arquette, Deborah Harry, Rob Halford, Eric Roberts, Chloe Hunter, Nicholas Gonzalez, Brittany Murphy and Mickey Rourke.
It is Åkerlund's debut as a feature film director, having already become known for his work in music videos. The film was shot in 22 days, and centers on various people involved in a methamphetamine drug ring. The film blends elements of dark comedy and drama in its storytelling. Its title is a reference to the slang term for the way users feel after going multiple days without sleep while on a methamphetamine binge. The characters take a combined total of 23 "hits" during the course of the movie.Summer of Sam
Summer of Sam is a 1999 American crime thriller film about the 1977 Son of Sam serial murders and their effect on a group of fictional residents of an Italian-American neighborhood in The Bronx in the late 1970s. Although the killer David Berkowitz, his murders, and the investigation are shown in the film, the main focus is on two young men from the neighborhood: Vinny (John Leguizamo), whose marriage is faltering due to his cheating, and Ritchie (Adrien Brody), Vinny's childhood friend who has embraced punk fashion and music. The murder investigation and other contemporary events, such as the New York City blackout of 1977 and the New York Yankees' winning season, provide a backdrop to the stories of Vinny, Ritchie, and their families and friends. The film was directed and co-produced by Spike Lee, who also co-wrote the film with Michael Imperioli and Victor Colicchio.The Central Park Five (miniseries)
The Central Park Five is an upcoming American drama web television miniseries created by Ava DuVernay that is set to premiere in 2019 on Netflix. DuVernay also serves as a writer for the series and is expected to direct every episode. The series documents the famous Central Park jogger case from 1989 in which a jogger was attacked in Central Park in New York City. In that case, five juvenile males were subsequently convicted of the crime before being exonerated in 2002. The series is set to feature an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, and Storm Reid.The Infiltrator (2016 film)
The Infiltrator is a 2016 American biographical crime drama film directed by Brad Furman and written by Ellen Brown Furman. The film is based on the eponymous autobiography by Robert Mazur, a U.S. Customs special agent, who in the 1980s helped bust Pablo Escobar's money-laundering organization by going undercover as a corrupt businessman. The film stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, John Leguizamo, Said Taghmaoui, Joseph Gilgun and Amy Ryan.
Filming began on February 23, 2015 in London. The film premiered at the Tampa Theatre on July 6, 2016 and was released in the United States on July 13, 2016.The Ministers
The Ministers is a 2009 film starring John Leguizamo and Harvey Keitel. It premiered in the US in theaters on October 16, 2009.The Pest (1997 film)
The Pest is a 1997 American comedy film inspired by the classic short story "The Most Dangerous Game". Comedian John Leguizamo plays a Puerto Rican con artist in Miami, Florida named Pestario Rivera Garcia Picante Salsa Vargas (also known as "Pest") who agrees to be the human target for a German manhunter for a US$50,000 reward.The Take (2007 film)
The Take is a 2007 American crime drama film directed by Brad Furman and starring John Leguizamo, Tyrese Gibson, Bobby Cannavale, and Rosie Perez. The plot concerns an armored-truck driver who survives a violent hijacking and becomes obsessed with tracking down his attackers. It was released on April 11, 2008.To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar is a 1995 American comedy film directed by Beeban Kidron and starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as three New York City drag queens who embark on a road trip. Its title refers to an iconic autographed photo of Julie Newmar that they carry with them on their journey. Newmar additionally appears in the film as herself.Undefeated (2003 film)
Undefeated is a 2003 HBO television film directed by John Leguizamo and starring John Leguizamo.