Rosa Maria "Rosie" Perez (born September 6, 1964) is an American actress, dancer, choreographer, director and community activist.
Perez was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the neighborhood of Bushwick, to Puerto Rican parents Lydia Perez and Ismael Serrano, a merchant marine seaman. Perez became a ward of the state when her mother took her from an aunt, who had been raising her. She was transferred to a group foster home at age 3 and lived in foster care until age eight, and was still legally considered a ward of the State of New York until age 12 years.
These life problems left Perez with a speech impediment. She eventually moved in with an aunt and attended Grover Cleveland High School, which is located in Ridgewood, in the New York City borough of Queens.
Perez was first noticed in a dance club by Spike Lee in 1988, who hired her for her first major acting role in Do the Right Thing. Perez started her career in the late 1980s as a dancer on Soul Train and later choreographed music videos by Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown, Diana Ross, LL Cool J and The Boys. She was the choreographer for the dancing group the Fly Girls who were featured on the Fox television comedy program In Living Color.
She made her Broadway debut in Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Perez had her third major role in the hit comedy White Men Can't Jump co-starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.
Perez was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Peter Weir's 1993 film Fearless. In 1997, she starred in Perdita Durango, a controversial film in which many scenes of excessive violence, sex and nudity were edited out of the version released in the United States but remained intact in the version released throughout Latin America.
She provides the voices of Click, the camera, on Nick Jr.'s Go, Diego, Go! and Chel, a beautiful native woman in the DreamWorks Animation film The Road to El Dorado. She played corrupt police officer Carol Brazier in the Judd Apatow-produced film Pineapple Express, co-starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. Perez appeared on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in October 2009 about pedophiles' rights. Executive producer Neal Baer said the writers had Perez in mind when they wrote the role of a young sexual abuse victim's mother. She suffered a serious injury during the filming of the episode. Most recently, Perez is the subject of a released album by Felt entitled Felt 3: A Tribute To Rosie Perez.
Rosie Perez injured her neck in 2009 while filming an episode of Law & Order SVU and underwent surgery to heal a herniated disc. A year after the accident, she appeared at the White House in a wheelchair, wearing a neck brace for a meeting with President Obama. In May 2011, Perez filed a lawsuit against the producers of the show, claiming that the injury she incurred was the result of being "recklessly pulled, grabbed, yanked, wrenched and manhandled" during filming.
Rosie Perez is a boxing fan. In June 2013, she served as the grand marshal for the International Boxing Hall of Fame parade in Canastota, New York.
In February, 2014, Rosie Perez published an autobiography titled "Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling..." She is also the reader of the audio CD of this book.
Perez is an activist for Puerto Rican rights. Her film Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas! (I'm Puerto Rican, Just So You Know!) documents her activism. She starred in and directed the Spanish AIDS PSA campaign "Join the Fight" for Cable Positive and Kismet Films. The campaign featured actor Wilmer Valderrama, BET's Julissa Bermudez, Telenovela actor Erick Elías, singer/actress Lorena Rojas, 2006-2007 Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera and actress Judy Marte. An English-language campaign was also directed by Liev Schreiber. President Barack Obama appointed her to The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). She was sworn in on February 2, 2010.
On January 6, 2000, she was arrested for disorderly conduct in Manhattan following a rally to protest U.S. Navy air weapons training, as well as other forms of payload on the government training range owned at Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico.
Perez serves as the chair of the artistic board for Urban Arts Partnership, a New York City arts education nonprofit that uses arts integrated education programs to close the achievement gap.
On September 16, 2013, Perez revealed to omg! Insider that she married artist Eric Haze the previous Sunday morning in Las Vegas, Nevada. While attending the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez fight in Vegas on that Saturday, Haze and Perez decided to stay over and get married at the MGM Grand the following day. She was previously married to filmmaker and playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld but the couple divorced in 2001.
Do the Right Thing
Night on Earth
White Men Can't Jump
Nominated--Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated--New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Berlin International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Performance (Special Mention), Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress, Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress tied with Anna Paquin,
Nominated--Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role,
Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture,
Nominated--New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
It Could Happen to You
Somebody to Love
A Brother's Kiss
Fantafestival Award for Best Actress
The 24 Hour Woman
Nominated--ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film,
Nominated--Black Reel Award for Best Actress
The Road to El Dorado
Riding in Cars with Boys
From the 104th Floor
All the Invisible Children
Segment "Jesus Children of America"
Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas!
Just Like the Son
Marina De La Pena
Nominated--Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Officer Carol Brazier
Won't Back Down
Barbara Von Busch
In a New Light: Sex Unplugged
Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground
Segment "Love on the A Train"
Nominated--Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress - Television,
Nominated--NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Lies in Plain Sight
Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Lead in a Drama Special,
Nominated--NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special,
Nominated--Imagen Foundation Award for Best Actress - Television
21 Jump Street
In Living Color
Nominated--Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Choreography (1990, 1992, 1993),
choreographer, seasons 1-4
Episodes "Without Prejudice",
"Mother Nature's Son",
"They Shoot Sources, Don't They"
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child
Thumbelina / Witch
"Hanselito y Gretelita"
Episodes "Hour One",
Francesca / Lizbeth
Episodes "Roz in the Doghouse (1995)",
"Crock Tales (2004)"
Go, Diego, Go!
Click, the camera
Episodes "Diego Saves the Humpback Whale",
"Linda the Llama Saves Carnaval",
"Diego's Wolf-Pup Rescue",
"The Bobos' Mother's Day",
"Tuga Helps the Moon",
"Freddie the Fruit Bat Saves Halloween!"
Nominated--ALMA Award for Best Actress in Television - Comedy,
Episodes "Pandora's Box",
"Let It Be",
"The Lyin', the Bitch and the Wardrobe Dahlia Morales",
"La Vie En Pose"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
The Cleveland Show
Choni / Aunt Chonie
Episodes "There Goes El Neighborhood",
"Y Tu Junior Tambien",
Episodes "Slow Growing Monsters"
An American Education