Childhood & Early Life
Paul Rodriguez was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico in the family of Mexican agriculture extensive farmers. In 1957, he, along with his family, moved to United States in order to achieve better opportunities.
He was brought up in East Los Angeles, around the Watts area and attended the Roosevelt High School. Unfortunately, his father injured his back and Rodriguez had to contribute the family by working as a fruit picker.
Soon, the whole family moved to Compton and there Rodriguez went to the Dominguez High School. While he was studying in his school, it is said that he got involved with the Compton Varrio Setentas street gang.
He decided to serve in the military and after getting enlisted, he was sent to military service in Iceland. After returning back, he went to college and aspired to become an attorney.
Eventually, while studying at the Long Beach Community College, Rodriguez dropped the idea of getting into the legal services and developed a love for standup comedy.
Continue Reading Below
After Rodriquez had finally decided to pursue standup comedy in his life, he started looking for opportunities to polish his talent, which is why he started working as a doorman at L.A.’s famous The Comedy Store.
He got the opportunity to portray his comic talent on the silver screen for the first time with the movie, ‘D.C. Cab’ in 1983. The R-rated controversial comedy was co-written and directed by Joel Schumacher.
His first big television break came with ‘a.k.a Pablo’ in 1984; a gig that he managed to achieve after Norman Lear was impressed with his acting in ‘Gloria’. ‘Pablo’ was about a Hispanic stand-up comic, ‘Paul Rivera’ and his Mexican-American family.
Between 1986 and 1987, Rodriquez managed to capture five roles in movies, like: Orion Pictures' Miracles, Paramount Picture's The Whoopee Boys, Columbia Picture's Quicksilver, and Universal's Born in East L.A—a role he was really appreciated for.
In 1988, Rodriguez was the host of ‘The Newlywed Game’ and appeared in the show for one season before it was cancelled. During his time, the show used the 1958 song ‘Book of Love’, by The Monotones, as a theme song.
He hosted the ‘Late Show’ on Fox around this time, appearing after Joan River's nightly show. In 1988, appeared in the short-lived sitcom ‘Trial and Error’ as well as the CBS television film ‘Grand Slam’.
His other comedy showcases have included ‘Paul Rodriguez Live’, ‘I Need the Couch (1986)’, ‘Paul Rodriguez: Behind Bars (1991)’, and ‘Crossing White Lines (1999)’. ‘Paul Rodriguez: Behind Bars’ was also his debut in as a TV producer.
Between 1990 and 1994, Rodriguez hosted his very own talk show called ‘El Show de Paul Rodriguez’—a talk show for the Spanish-language audience of the Univision Network. Eventually it gathered an international audience.
In 1994, his directorial debut released, the film called ‘A Million to Juan’. It is a family comedy that Rodriguez himself wrote and starred in. It was a modern spin on Mark Twain's story ‘The Million Pound Bank Note’.
Continue Reading Below
He bagged role of an outspoken fight physician ‘Freddie Pacheco’ in Columbia Pictures’ big budget biography ‘Ali’ in 2001. That same year he appeared in ‘Crocodile Dundee in LA’ and had featured roles in the films ‘Rat Race’ and ‘Tortilla Soup’.
In 2002, Rodriguez was the executive producer and star of the concert film, ‘The Original Latin Kings of Comedy’, distributed by Paramount Pictures and produced by his own production company ‘Payaso Entertainment’.
In the same year, he had a nonconforming role in Clint Eastwood's ‘Blood Work’; he played the role of an arrogant police detective.
His recent roles include: ‘Cinderella Story (2004)’, ‘The World's Fastest Indian (2005)’, Cloud Nine (2006)’, Lonely Street (2008)’, ‘Porndogs: The Adventure of Sadie (2009)’, ‘Cats & Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010)’, etc.
He is associated with a variety of charitable, civic and educational associations including the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and The Leukemia Society, etc.
Rodriguez is a part-owner of the ‘Laugh Factory’ comedy venue in West Hollywood, California.