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Johnathan Alberto Leguizamo (born July 22, 1964) is an Alma and Emmy Award winning Colombian-Americanmarker comedian, actor, voice actor and producer.

Early life

Leguizamo was born in Bogotámarker, Colombiamarker, 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. He has also described himself as being of Amerindian and Mestizo heritage. Leguizamo's father was once an aspiring film director and studied at Cinecittàmarker but eventually dropped out due to lack of finances. When Leguizamo was four years old, his family emigrated to the United Statesmarker and lived in various neighborhoods of Queensmarker in New York Citymarker, including Jackson Heights. Leguizamo attended the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School (I.S.145) and later the Murry Bergtraum High Schoolmarker. As a student at Murry Bergtraum High Schoolmarker, 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 T.V. debut with a small part in Miami Vice. His other early roles include: an extra in Madonna's Borderline video (1984), as 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 1991-1992.


In 1993 Leguizamo was offered the lead part as Luigi in the film Super Mario Brothers. Although it started his acting career in Hollywood and became one of his memorable roles, it was universally considered a critical and financial failure, and was even heavily disliked by Leguizamo himself due to his experience working on it, however, it boost his career 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 DePalma's Carlito's Way as Carlito Brigante's (Al Pacino) nemesis "Benny Blanco from the Bronx," which also boost his career to appear in serious roles.

He also played Pestario 'Pest' Vargas in the 1997 movie "The Pest".

(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. In 2003, he voice-acted Globox from Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. The game versions of the films used his voice were used for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PC, and Mac.


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. 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 Angelesmarker 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.


In 1991, he also wrote and took part in the Off-Broadway production Mambo Mouth, where he played seven different characters. Mambo Mouth won an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Award. He was listed as one of 12 "Promising New Actors of 1991" in "John Willis' Screen Worlds Vol. 43".

In 1993, Leguizamo wrote and participated in Spic-O-Rama, where he made fun of the stereotyping of Latinos in the United States. The production won a Drama Desk Award and four Cable ACE Awards.

In 1998, he debuted on Broadwaymarker in the production of Freak, which was also turned into an HBO film by director Spike Lee. The show won him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show.

In 2000, he co-wrote and participated in Freak, which was basically about his whole life experience with his family, how he had a troubled family, and a messed up life.

In 2002, he wrote and participated in Sexaholix... A Love Story which explained his love life and how he started his own family.

Personal life

Leguizamo married Justine Maurer in 2003. They have two children, daughter Allegra Sky (born 1999) and son Ryder Lee (born 2000), and live in Venice, Californiamarker. Commonly referred to in and around Hollywood circles as "Johnny Legs", Leguizamo is a practicing Roman Catholic.


In October 2006, Leguizamo's memoir, Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life, was released. During an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Leguizamo stated that his memoir was very frank about odd experiences involving other celebrities and co-stars he had worked with. He claimed that working with Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the most enjoyable experiences he had as an actor. He also said that Arnold's accent let him say things that others would think were sexist or homophobic if said by someone else, that Steven Seagal was an egotist with diva tendencies, and that Leonardo DiCaprio was a "patron of prostitutes."

As of 2009 Leguizamo has produced over 10 films (including the film Piñero), starred or co-starred in over 75 films, starred on Broadwaymarker in several productions winning several awards, made over a dozen TV guest appearances and has helped produce or star in many other similar television shows.


Year Film Role Notes
1985 Mixed Blood Macetero Film Debut
1989 Casualties of War PFC. Antonio Diaz
1990 Street Hunter Angel
Gentille alouette Ortiz
Revenge Ignacio, Amador's Cousin
Die Hard 2 Burke
1991 Poison Chanchi
Hangin' with the Homeboys Johnny
Out for Justice Boy in Alley
Regarding Henry Liquor Store Gunman
N.Y.P.D. Mounted Unknown Role TV Movie
1992 Puerto Rican Mambo Guess my nationality guy
Whispers in the Dark John Castillo
Time Expired Ruby
1993 Night Owl Angel
Super Mario Bros. Luigi Mario
Carlito's Way Benny Blanco
1995 A Pyromaniac's Love Story Sergio
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar Chi-Chi Nomination: Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1996 Executive Decision Captain Rat
The Fan Manny
Romeo + Juliet Tybalt
1997 The Pest Pestario "Pest" Vargas
A Brother's Kiss Lefty
Spawn Clown/Violator
1998 Frogs for Snakes Zip
Body Count Chino
Dr. Dolittle Rat #2
1999 Joe the King Jorge
Summer of Sam Vinny
2000 Arabian Nights Genie of the Lamp/Genie of the Ring TV Movie
Titan A.E. Gune Voice
King of the Jungle Seymour
2001 Moulin Rouge! Toulouse-Lautrec
What's the Worst That Could Happen? Berger
2002 Empire Victor Rosa
Collateral Damage Felix Ramirez
ZigZag Dean Singer
Ice Age Sid the Sloth Voice
Point of Origin Keith Lang TV Movie
Spun Spider Mike
2003 Undefeated Lex Vargas
2004 Crónicas Manolo Bonilla
2005 Assault on Precinct 13 Beck
The Honeymooners Dodge
Land of the Dead Cholo
Sueño Antonio
2006 A.K.A. Sean Edison TV Movie
The Alibi Hannibal
Ice Age: The Meltdown Sid the Sloth Voice
The Groomsmen T.C.
2007 Where God Left His Shoes Frank Diaz
The Babysitters Michael Beltran
The Take Felix De La Pena
Love in the Time of Cholera Lorenzo Daza
2008 Paraiso Travel Roger Pena
The Happening Julian
Miracle at St. Anna Enrico
Righteous Kill Det. Simon Perez
Nothing Like the Holidays Mauricio Rodriguez
Surviving Sid Sid Direct-to-Video
2009 The Ministers Dante/Perfecto Mendoza
Rage Jed
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Sid the Sloth Voice
Gamer Freek
Celestina Anibal {pre-production)
Year Title Role Notes
1986-1989 Miami Vice Ivan Calderone/Orlando Calderone/Angelo Alvarez 3 episodes
2000-2003 The Brothers Garcia Narrator 5 episodes
2004 Dora the Explorer Silly Mail Bird 1 episode
2005-2006 ER Dr. Victor Clemente
2006 My Name Is Earl Diego, Catalina's Uncle 2 episodes
2007 The Kill Point Mr. Wolf 8 episodes
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Mambo Mouth Various
1993 Spic-O-Rama Himself
1998 Freak Himself Won: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show
2002 Sexaholix... A Love Story Himself
2008 American Buffalo Walter Cole
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
2003 Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc Globox Voice
2006 Ice Age: The Meltdown Sid the Sloth Voice
2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Sid the Sloth Voice

See also


  1. Leguizamo, p. 11
  2. Leguizamo, p. 9
  3. Leguizamo, p. 12
  4. Leguizamo, p. 16
  5. Zook, Kristal Brent. "Comedy That Hits Close to Home; Now a Father, John Leguizamo Looks Back Without Anger", The Washington Post, July 19, 2001. Accessed June 11, 2009. "Born in Bogota, Colombia, to a Puerto Rican father and a Colombian mother of Indian ancestry, [John Leguizamo] was raised in the multiethnic Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens."
  6. Kill Point: John Leguizamo
  7. Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online : John Leguizamo Trashes Everyone He's Ever Worked With

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