Rosie Perez is a popular American actress, show host, writer, dancer, choreographer and social activist. As a foster child and a ward of the State, she had encountered some of the most trying times of her life. As she was the product of an extra-marital affair she hardly ever received affection from either of her parents. Luck struck her at a farewell party when she was approached by director-producer Spike Lee for a film. Appreciated for her debut performance in the movie ‘Do the Right Thing’, she later starred in several hit films such as ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ and ‘Fearless’. She became a prominent choreographer with the show ‘In Living Colour’ for which she has been nominated thrice at the ‘Emmy Awards’. She became a Broadway star with her role as Googie Gomez in ‘The Ritz’. In 2015, she was signed as the regular host of a successful talk show ‘The View’. Some of her more recent performances have been in the films ‘The Take’ and ‘Pineapple Express’.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born Rosa Maria Perez on 6th September, 1964 at Brooklyn in New York. Her parents were Puerto Rican; her father was a merchant marine named Ismael Serrano and her mother, Lydia was a singer.
Her parents weren’t married and she was conceived from an extra-marital affair. Her mother gave birth to her at the ‘Greenpoint Hospital’, Brooklyn. She was taken care of by a maternal aunt until her mother put her under foster care at the age of three.
Her mother suffered from schizophrenia and though she visited Perez often, she couldn’t fill the void in her life. Perez has 10 half siblings from her mother. Her mother died years later owing to complications from AIDS.
After foster parents, she was placed under the care of nuns where she was reared with strict Catholic upbringing, but suffered at the hands of a few cruel nuns.
Owing to the early traumatic experiences of her childhood which included abuse and abandonment she acquired a speech impairment that added to her already existing ordeals.
After several wretched years, she finally found solace in the love and affection of her paternal aunt, Ana Dominga and began attending ‘Grover Cleveland High School’.
Upon completing high school, she studied marine biology in Los Angeles. In the second year of college, she was spotted by Spike Lee at a club. Lee offered her a role in a movie, which transformed her life thereon.
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In 1989, the world saw the talented Perez in the film ‘Do the Right Thing’. Her breakthrough got her several roles the following year including the TV movie ‘Criminal Justice’ and television shows ’21 Jump Street’ and ‘In Living Color’.
In 1992, she starred in the movie ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ as Gloria Clemente and as Cyndi in ‘Untamed Heart’. The following year, she was cast in one of her most outstanding performances in the movie ‘Fearless’.
She appeared as Muriel Lang in the Hollywood film ‘It Could happen to You’ and also played Mercedes in ‘Somebody to Love’. She also became a voice actor with her role as Thumbelina in ‘Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child’.
1997 was an eventful year for her; she starred in the movie ‘A Brother’s Kiss’ as Debbie, and as the title character in the movie ‘Perdite Durango’.
She played Grace Santos in the movie ‘The 24 Hour Woman’ and was the voice of Chel in ‘The Road to El Dorado’. In 2003, she narrated the sequences in the movie ‘From the 10th Floor’.
She was also seen in a guest appearance on the TV series ‘Frasier’. She starred in the positively reviewed television movie ‘Lackawanna Blues’ as Bertha in 2004.
By 2005, she starred as Ruthie in ‘All the Invisible Children’. The same year, she became extremely popular voicing ‘Click’, on the animated children’s educational program ‘Go, Diego Go!’ until 2008.
In 2009, she appeared in the TV series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and until 2012 starred in guest roles in shows such as ‘The Cleveland Show’ and ‘Nurse Jackie’.
In 2012, she acted in two hit films; the first was as Ms. Baker in the comedy film ‘Small Apartments’ while the second was as Brenna Harper in Daniel Barnz’s ‘Won’t Back Down’.
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In 2014, she played the voice of Red in ‘The Hero of Color City’ and starred in ‘Fugly’ as Zowie and played herself as ‘The View’ host in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’. She was announced as the new co-host of the TV show ‘The View’ alongside the legendary Whoopi Goldberg, but decided to leave the show in 2015.
In 2014, she published a book accounting her unfortunate childhood titled ‘Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling’.
In 2015, she was cast in the main role of the comedy film ‘Puerto Ricans in Paris’ as Gloria and also played the main role of Ann in the drama film ‘Five Nights in Maine’.
After her recurring role in the 2016 TV series ‘Search Party’, audiences watched her as a guest performer on the TV shows ‘Pure’ and ‘Nightcap’ in 2017.
Her performance in the movie ‘Fearless’ was critically acclaimed. The movie received 86% evaluation on ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ and was mentioned as an “underrated gem”. The movie earned seven million at the box office.
The 2008 comedy ‘Pineapple Express’ received good reviews with a score of 6.3 out of 10 on ‘Rotten Tomatoes’, in which Perez played the leading lady.
Awards & Achievements
In 1993, she won several awards in the category of ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for her performance in the film ‘Fearless’. She received her first award at the ‘Boston Society of film Critics Award’, followed by the ‘Chicago Film Critics Association Award’ and a couple others. She also received an ‘Oscar’ and ‘Golden Globe’ nomination for the same.
In 1997 she received the ‘Fanta festival Award for Best Actress’ in ‘Perdita Durango’. She bagged the ‘2010 Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Lead in a Drama Special’ in ‘Lies in Plain Sight’.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married filmmaker, Seth Zyi Rosenfeld in 1991. After a decade of their marriage the couple divorced in 2001.
In 2009, she injured her neck while filming for ‘Law & order: SVU’. Two years later, she filed a lawsuit against the show with accusations of “manhandling” on the set.
In 2010, she was appointed by President Obama to ‘The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS’ and serves as a chairperson for ‘Urban Arts Partnership’ at New York City.
She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression owing to a traumatic childhood. She is presently receiving therapy and resides at Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
On 15th September, 2013 she married artist, Eric Haze at Las Vegas after attending the ‘Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul Alvarez boxing match together.