John Leguizamo is an actor, stand-up comedian, vocal artist and an entertainment producer who has a varied origin. He was born in the year 1964 to a father of Puerto Rican origin and a mother from Colombia (Zook, 7). Tracing further back, paternal grandfather was from Italy while the maternal counterpart was from Lebanon. His father was at one time studying at Cinecitta aiming to be a film director. Unfortunately, he had to drop since he could not afford to pay for his education.
At four years old, Leguizamo’s family moved to the United States where they lived in a number of environs of New York. He went to Joseph Pulitzer Middle School and later joined Murry Bergtraum High School. It is here in high school that Leguizamo began writing comic material and practiced it out on his schoolmates (Leguizamo, 8).
In his time at Merry Bergtraum, he got the “Most Talkative” vote from his classmates. He joined Long Island University C.W. Post Campus after graduating from Merry Bergtraum and took theater studies.
Leguizamo began set off his career rolling as a stand-up comedian in the New York nightspot circuit. His first appearance on television was in 1984 as a twenty year old, where he played a small part in the show Miami Vice (Leguizamo, 9). He also undertook other tasks at this early age. He played a part in a video by Madonna in the same year.
The video was entitled Borderline. In 1985, he acted as a buddy of Madonna’s boyfriend in Mixed Blood, in 1989 in Casualties of War, in 1990 in Die Hard 2, and in the following year in Hanging with the Homeboys. In 1991, he played the part of a robber in the video Regarding Henry( Zook, 10). Leguizamo had another role to play in the famed video Night Owl that was shot between 1989 and 1991.
As time went by, Leguizamo’s career continued rising as he was considered for roles to play in various films. He featured as John Castillo in the film Whispers in the Dark of the year 1992. In the following year, he played a leading role in the film Super Mario Brothers as Luigi. It kicked off his acting job in Hollywood and remains as one of his unforgettable roles (John Leguizamo Biography, Yahoo Movies).
However, the film was widely considered a significant and monetary letdown. To an extent, Leguizamo himself disliked it due to the experiences that he underwent while working on it.
Nevertheless, this film acted as a stepping stone to even greater heights as it gave him chances to make appearances in better comic roles in the following years. This boosted the film hit the cult film position among his aficionados. In the same year, he played a high up part as Carlito Brigante’s archenemy in the film Carlito’s Way, which gave his career a really significant shot in the arm (John Leguizamo Biography, Yahoo Movies).
Leguizamo went on to star in famed films like Romeo + Juliet, Spawn, Land of the Dead, The Pest and To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. He played as Tybalt Capulet in Romeo + Juliet, as Violator in Spawn, as Cholo in Land of the Dead, as Pestario Vargas in The Pest (Leguizamo, 11). The role he played in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar was that of Chichi Rodriguez.
Leguizamo was on a steady rise as he had a role in Arabian Nights, which won an award in the prestigious Emmy Awards in 2000. In the year 2001, Leguizamo was out to prop up the movie Moulin Rouge and had to show up on the superstar edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He was the first superstar to take the hot seat but did not get the answer right.
Come 2002, Leguizamo had a significant part to play for Ice Age, he articulated Sid the Sloth. He later repeated the same role for the sequels in Ice Age: The Meltdown and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (John Leguizamo Biography, Yahoo Movies). The game adaptations of these films also used his voice. They included PlayStation 2 and Mac.
In 2003, he was at his vocal artistry again in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc where he voice-acted Globox (Leguizamo, 11). In the same year, he also acted as Paul in the suspenseful movie Vanishing on 7th Street.
Leguizamo has also made appearances in a number of television shows over time. In 1995, he was presented with an only one of its kind occasion to generate, produce, write and star in the show House of Buggin on Fox Telvision. This program brought to the fore Legizamo’s unique talent to play a varied range of characters (Zook, 13). Unfortunately, the show did not complete a whole season as a result of low ratings.
In the 2005 to 2006 television periods, leguizamo was among the players in the program ER. He acted as Dr. Victor Clemente, and in this role he emphasized on acquainting the staff with improved ways of treating the sick and advanced know-how.
Dr. Clement was, on the other hand, afflicted with private problems and was shown the door from the hospital close to the closing stages of the season (Zook, 13). Removal from the show was a blessing to Leguizamo, as he later revealed. He was unhappy playing that role as it required him to do things he was not comfortable doing. These included smoking, eating donuts, all of which made him gain weight.
In 2005, he had also starred on the show Dora the Explorer. He played the role of Captain Pirate Piggy. In the following year, he played the role of a detective in the drama show Edison (John Leguizamo Biography, Yahoo Movies). In this role he used impostures and masquerades to resolve crimes. In this particular show, leguizamo also was one of the executive producers.
Later on in July 2007, the drama series The Kill Point began showing on Spike TV. It starred Leguizamo alongside two other actors, Donnie Wahlberg and Michael Hyatt. The program was about former war old hands who got involved in a bank robbery that did not go according to plan. It thus ended up in a hostage condition (Leguizamo, 14). The show had high ratings but surprisingly it was not renewed for a second period.
Leguizamo has also had memorable stints in theater. In 1991, he wrote and participated in the act Mambo Mouth. In this he played seven dissimilar roles. The act went ahead to scoop an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Award (Edwardes, 22). Leguizamo also got his name in the list as among the twelve new actors showing potential of 1991. This was in John Willis’s Screen Worlds Volume forty three.
In 1993, Leguizamo wrote and played a role in the act Spic-O-Rama. In this act he ridiculed the typecasting of Latin people in America (Edwardes, 22). The piece went ahead to scoop four Cable ACE Awards and one Drama Desk Award in that year.
In 1998, he made a first appearance on Broadway in the generation of Freak. The act was later turned into an HBO Film and it won Leguizamo a Drama Desk Award for exceptional one-person-show.
In 2000, he participated in writing and acting the show Freak. The act was essentially on his entire life experience. He followed this with Sexaholic….A Love Story in 2002 (Hirsh, 16). This is one of his famed acts and here he brought to the fore his love life and how he started his own family.
For this year, Leguizamo has written and acted in Klass Klown which is a semi-autobiographical show founded on his chronicle (John Leguizamo Biography, Yahoo Movies). The show is at present in a test run.
Leguizamo got married to Justin Maurer in the year 2003. This was on June 28th and the ceremony was of a Catholic-Jewish setting. They are blessed with a daughter and a son, Allegra Sky and Ryder Lee (Leguizamo, 18). The family currently resides in New York City.
In this 70-minute act of 2002, Leguizamo was speaking his thoughts and experiences aloud to the audience. The show began with a flare of loud music as he appeared on stage (Hirsh, 18). He radiated sexual energy and charm as he twisted his torso.
With satire, he began looking at the world’s most personal deed and brought his audience to climactic instances of precision. The show laid emphasis on his private memories of making love (Edwardes, 26).
It was a narration about a man as he grew up and his intimate affiliations. There was a lot of lovemaking and the act went on to show how wretched it could turn out. In the act he could spring up, crouch, run and bop across the stage. He was bringing out man’s inherent cravings and sensations (Hirsh, 18). These were accompanied by moan, sighs and pants. He articulated the ups, downs and side-to-sides of his first act of sex at a tender age of fourteen.
In the second part of the act, Leguizamo got into what he called the love story part. Here he talked about conquest, negative response, affairs, marriage and the births of Allegra and Lucas, his daughter and son. He revealed that they were both born at home and acted out the births on stage (Hirsh, 19). What the whole act brings out as concerns Leguizamo is his development from a sexually charged boy to a dependable father.
In the whole narration, leguizamo filled the stage with scores of Latino personalities who played a role(s) in his life. His gay uncle and lesbian aunt married just that they could have children. His wretched grandparents were in poker game most of the time and could only speak out of one side of their mouths (Edwardes, 28).
For his case, he portrayed himself as a responsive man. He brought it to the fore that he found it difficult in the course of his life to utter the words ‘I love you’ until he met his wife.
The act revealed that his life was not always smooth sailing. He graduated from New York University where he studied with famed people like Lee Strasberg and Wynn Handman. Despite this, his Latino roots most of the times came in the way of acts that did not require wielding knives (Hirsh, 20). He got rejections at various auditions for being ‘too ethnic’. He went through such rough times until the early 1990s when he began to be recognized.
What the whole act brings out as concerns Leguizamo is his development from a sexually charged boy to a dependable father. His closing remarks in this particular act were also encouraging. He stated that as much as his career path had brought him money, the most valuable things to him are his work, family and friends.
Edwardes, Jane. “The Faber Book of Monologues.” Faber and Faber, 2005.
Hirsh, James. “Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies”. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003.
John Leguizamo Biography. “Yahoo Movies”.
Leguizamo, John. “Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, And All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life”. New York: Ecco, 2006.
Zook, Brent. “Comedy That Hits Close to Home; Now a Father, John Leguizamo Looks Back Without Anger”. The Washington Post, July 19, 2001. Accessed October 4, 2010.