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John Leguizamo

Birthday
22 Jul 1964 (Age 52)
Biography
Jonathan Alberto "John" Leguizamo born on July 22, 1964. He is an Colombian-American actor, comedian, voice artist, and producer.

Early Life:

John Leguizamo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, to a Puerto Rican father, Alberto Leguizamo, and a Colombian mother, Luz. According to Leguizamo, his paternal grandfather was of Italian descent and his maternal grandfather was Lebanese. Leguizamo has also described himself as being of Amerindian and Mestizo heritage. Leguizamo's father was once an aspiring film director and studied at Cinecittà, but eventually dropped out due to lack of finances. When Leguizamo was four years old, his family emigrated to the United States and lived in various neighborhoods of Queens in New York City, including Jackson Heights. Leguizamo attended the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School (I.S.145) and later the Murry Bergtraum High School. As a student at Murry Bergtraum, Leguizamo wrote comedy material and tested it out on his classmates. He was voted "Most Talkative" by his fellow classmates. After graduating from high school, Leguizamo enrolled at Long Island University C.W. Post Campus where he took theater classes.

Early career:
Leguizamo started out as a stand-up comic doing the New York nightclub circuit. In 1984, he made his television debut with a small part in Miami Vice. His other early roles include: an extra in Madonna's Borderline video (1984) playing a friend of Madonna's boyfriend; Mixed Blood (1985); Casualties of War (1989); Die Hard 2 (1990); Hangin' with the Homeboys (1991); the robber in Regarding Henry (1991) and Night Owl (a.k.a. Nite Owl) (1993), which was filmed from 1989-1991.

Film:
In 1992, he starred in "Whispers in the Dark" as John Castillo. In 1993 Leguizamo was offered the lead part as Luigi in the superhero film Super Mario Bros., based on the Mario video game franchise. Although it started his acting career in Hollywood and became one of his memorable roles, it was universally considered a critical and financial failure. However, it provided a boost to his career, allowing him to appear in better comedic roles in the following years, which helped the film reached its cult film status among his fans. That same year, he had a prominent role in Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way as Carlito Brigante's (Al Pacino) 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. In 1995, he starred as drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar and in the 1996 action film Executive Decision as Captain Rat. In 2002, he starred in the movie Empire. In 2000, Leguizamo played two genies in the Emmy Award winning miniseries Arabian Nights.
To promote the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge!, he appeared on a celebrity edition 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, eventually repeating it for the sequels Ice Age: The Meltdown and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The game versions of the films used his voice were used for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PC, and Mac. In 2003, he voice-acted Globox from Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Leguizamo portrayed Paul in the Brad Anderson thriller film Vanishing on 7th Street.

Television:
In 1995 Leguizamo was given the unique opportunity to create, executive produce, write, and star in the 1995 Latino-oriented variety show called House of Buggin' on Fox Television. Some audience 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 2005-2006 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 donuts, 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 2005, 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 their drama series The Kill Point, starring 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.
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