Michael Peña Biography
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Michael Antony Peña
Born Country: United States
Born in: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Famous as: Actor
Spouse/Ex-: Brie Shaffer (m. 2006)
father: Eleuterio Peña
mother: Nicolasa Peña
City: Chicago, Illinois
U.S. State: Illinois
Michael Peña’ is an American actor and musician. He has performed in several ‘Academy Award’-winning movies, such as ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Crash.’ Peña started his acting career with a small role in the TV movie ‘To Sir, with Love II.’ In the early stages of his career, Peña was cast in small roles in movies such as ‘My Fellow Americans,’ ‘Boogie Boy,’ and ‘The United States of Leland.’ The movie ‘Million Dollar Baby’ featured him as a boxer. He was part of the main cast of the movie ‘Crash.’ His performance in ‘Crash’ helped him win the ‘ALMA Award’ for ‘Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.’ Peña has performed in acclaimed movies such as ‘The Martian,’ ‘Ant-Man,’ and ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp.’ He was seen in TV series such as ‘Felicity,’ ‘ER,’ and ‘The Shield.’ His performance in the TV movie ‘Walkout’ earned Peña several awards and accolades. Peña has lent his voice to animated movies such as ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’ and ‘My Little Pony: The Movie.’ Peña is one of the founders of the rock band ‘Nico Vega.’ He later left the band to concentrate on his acting career. He is follower of Scientology.
- Michael Antony Peña was born on January 13, 1976, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were farmers who had migrated to the US from Mexico. His father, Eleuterio Peña, worked in a button factory, and his mother, Nicolasa, was a social worker. Peña spent his childhood in North Lawndale, Chicago. He attended the ‘Marist High School.’
- In 1996, Peña attended the casting call for the movie ‘To Sir, with Love II’ by Peter Bogdanovich. He was selected, and this was his first movie role. The same year, he performed as ‘Ernesto’ in the movie ‘My Fellow Americans.’ In the following years, Peña appeared in movies such as ‘Boogie Boy,’ ‘Bellyfruit,’ and ‘Buffalo Soldiers.’
- In the latter half of the 1990s, Peña performed in several TV series. He was seen in single episodes of series such as ‘The Sentinel,’ ‘7th Heaven,’ and ‘Moesha.’ He performed as ‘Brian Burke’ in five episodes of the series ‘Felicity.’
- In 2004, Peña bagged the first prominent role of his acting career. He was chosen to portray ‘Daniel Ruiz’ in the movie ‘Crash.’ The movie focused on racial tensions in Los Angeles, against the backdrop of a carjacking incident. It was based on a real-life incident. The movie had Peña portraying a Hispanic locksmith. His performance earned him the ‘ALMA Award’ for ‘Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.’
- In 2004, Michael Peña appeared in the ‘Academy Award’-winning movie ‘Million Dollar Baby.’ It was directed by Clint Eastwood. It was a sports drama movie that told the story of a boxing trainer. Peña performed as a boxer named ‘Omar.’ In 2005, Peña, along with other singers, formed the rock music band ‘Nico Vega.’ It was named after his mother. He left the band in 2007, in order to concentrate more on his acting career.
- In 2006, Peña performed a major role in the movie ‘World Trade Center.’ It was a disaster drama based on the terrorist attacks on the ‘World Trade Center’ on September 11, 2001. Peña performed as ‘Will Jimeno,’ a police officer who was trapped in the rubbles after the attack. His performance in this movie earned Peña a nomination for the ‘ALMA Award’ for ‘Outstanding Actor-Motion Picture.’ The same year, he appeared in the movies ‘Fifty Pills’ and ‘Babel.’
- In 2006, Peña performed in the TV movie ‘Walkout.’ It was based on a real-life incident in Los Angeles, which involved group of students of Mexican origin holding protests against the unequal opportunities meted out to them in the schools of the US. The movie was aired on ‘HBO.’ It had Peña portraying Sal Castro, a Mexican–American teacher who inspired his students to fight for their rights. Subsequently, he won the ‘Imagen Award’ for the ‘Best Actor- Television.’
- In 2011, Peña portrayed ‘Joe Rincon’ in the science-fiction movie ‘Battle: Los Angeles.’ It told the story of an alien attack on several cities. Peña’s performance earned him a nomination for the ‘ALMA Award’ for the ‘Favorite Movie Actor.’ The same year, he performed in movies such as ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ ‘The Good Doctor,’ and ‘30 Minutes or Less.’
- In 2012, Peña performed as one of the protagonists in the crime-drama movie ‘End of Watch.’ He portrayed ‘Miguel Zavala,’ a police officer in Los Angeles. In 2013, he appeared as ‘Paco Hernandez’ in the black comedy ‘American Hustle.’ Peña and the cast of the movie won the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.’
- In 2014, Peña appeared in the title role in the biographical movie ‘Cesar Chavez.’ It was the story of American labor leader Cesar Chavez. In 2015, Peña performed as ‘Major Rick Martinez’ in the highly acclaimed movie ‘The Martian.’ He was also part of movies such as ‘Ant-Man,’ ‘Vacation,’ and ‘The Vatican Tapes.’
- In 2018, Peña reprised his character, ‘Luis,’ in the movie ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp.’ The same year, he played the lead role of ‘Kiki Camarena’ in the crime-drama series ‘Narcos: Mexico.’ It was aired on ‘Netflix.’ In 2019, he was seen as ‘Cole’ in the movie ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold.’
- In 2006, Peña married actor Brie Shaffer. They have a son named Roman. Peña is a follower of Scientology.
- In most of his films, Peña asked the writers to portray his character as a Mexican–American. He is proud of his Mexican lineage and tries to honor his ancestry.
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