Childhood & Early Life
Robert was born in Brooklyn, New York, US, on September 20, 1963.
Robert faced a lot of difficulties while growing up. At times, he lived on the streets and in cars. He was also placed in foster homes and stayed along with friends.
Despite the hardships, he graduated with honors from New York City’s ‘High School of Performing Arts.’ Later, he joined the ‘Stella Adler Studio of Acting,’ also in New York City.
Robert was in the ‘U.S. Navy’ for 4 years. Of those 4 years, he spent 2 years working in the Aleutian Islands, as a handler of the ‘Navy’s attack dogs. The other 2 years, he was posted in Africa, Australia, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
After his stint in the ‘Navy,’ Robert followed his passion for acting. In 1987, he debuted with the role of ‘Carlo Forza’ in the independent film ‘China Girl’ by Abel Ferrara. The following year, he acted in three comedy movies, playing ‘Perry’ in ‘Moving,’ ‘Spooky’ in ‘Short Circuit 2,’ and ‘Tony’ in ‘Ich und Er.’ The first two were English, and the third was German but was also dubbed in English.
He made his TV debut in 1989, as ‘Cpl. Jesus “Answer Man” Zappara’ in ‘China Beach’ and was part of five episodes. He stepped into the next decade by starring as ‘Punk’ in ‘Hard to Kill’ (1990), sharing screen space with Steven Segal. He also appeared as ‘Bochi’ in ‘Out for Justice’(1991).
He portrayed ‘Smitty’ in the big-budget 1995 film ‘Waterworld,’ alongside Kevin Costner. The film was initially not received well by critics or viewers.
During the entire 1990s, he was mostly seen in minor roles in both movies and series.
With the turn of the century, things turned better for Robert. He appeared in many popular TV series and movies. By essaying the menacing drug trafficker ‘Escobar Gallardo’ in the American medical drama ‘Nip/Tuck,’ created by Ryan Murphy and broadcast on ‘FX,’ Robert got his long-due recognition.
He joined the cast of the record-breaking soap opera ‘General Hospital’ in 2005, to play the twin ‘Ruiz’ brothers, ‘Manny’ and ‘Mateo.’ He then joined ‘CSI: Miami’ in 2006, as ‘Memmo Fierro,’ a member of the ‘Mala Noche’ gang. Soon, he became a household name.
He appeared as ‘Rivera’ in ‘Half Past Dead 2’ (2007). The same year, he wrote the movie ‘Never Down’ and starred in it as ‘Rico.’ The following year saw him in two famous films, ‘Autopsy’ and ‘Death Race,’ as ‘Scott’ and ‘Grimm,’ respectively.
Robert’s performance as ‘The Artist’ in the 2014 splatter film ‘Anarchy Parlor’ was highly appreciated. He then appeared in another horror movie, ‘The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)’ the following year.
Robert had a fruitful collaboration with legendary actor-director Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper in the movie ‘The Mule,’ portraying the character ‘Emilio,’ in the year 2018.
In 2019, he appeared as ‘Hades’ in ‘Attack of the Unknown’ and ‘Mouse Sanchez’ in ‘The Talking Tree.’
Robert is also an accomplished writer. He has collaborated with multiple authors and has three books to his credit, namely ‘Playing with Fire,’ ‘Life Sentence: A True Story about Love, Lunacy and Fame,’ and ‘Gabriel’s Trial,’ published in 2011, 2014, and 2017, respectively.