Esai Morales facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Morales in 2009
Esai Manuel Morales Jr.
October 1, 1962
|Education||School of Performing Arts|
Esai Manuel Morales Jr. (born October 1, 1962) is an American actor. He has had notable roles in the films Bad Boys with Sean Penn and La Bamba with Lou Diamond Phillips (1987). His television roles include the PBS 2002 drama series American Family, the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd. (2000–2002), portraying Lt. Tony Rodriguez on NYPD Blue (2001–2004), Joseph Adama in the science fiction series Caprica (2009–2010), Camino del Rio in the Netflix original series Ozark (2017) and as the DC Comics villain Deathstroke / Slade Wilson in the superhero series Titans (2018).
Morales will appear as the main antagonist in the 2023 spy action film Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One opposite Tom Cruise, a role which he will reprise in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two in 2024.
Of Puerto Rican descent, Morales was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Esai Morales Sr., a welder, and Iris Margarita (née Declet), a union activist involved with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Morales began his pursuit of an acting career by attending the School of Performing Arts in Manhattan.
His first professional performances were in theater and television in New York. His first major film was Bad Boys (1983), about rival teenagers sentenced to a juvenile correction facility. Morales appeared in a 1985 episode of the TV series Fame. He co-starred with Burt Lancaster in the 1986 NBC miniseries On Wings of Eagles, playing the Iranian Rashid, the hero of a true story about Ross Perot. Morales also appeared in Miami Vice, The Equalizer, and 24.
He played Bob Morales, the real-life ex-convict and biker half-brother of 1950s rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens, in La Bamba (1987). He also played Nicholas Walker in Ultraviolet (1992) Some of his other roles have reflected his socio-political interests, such as The Burning Season in 1994, My Family/Mi Familia in 1995, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997) and Southern Cross (1999). In the latter three films, as well as in others such as Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) and Rapa Nui (1994), Morales saw increased amounts of screen time, starting with a role in the Pauly Shore film In The Army Now (1994). He portrayed a police officer in the film Dogwatch (1996) and Father Herrera in The Virgin of Juarez (2006).
In the 1990s, he guest-starred on episodes of The Outer Limits, Tales from the Crypt, and two shorter-lived series, L.A. Doctors and The Hunger. He appeared in a two-part episode of Family Law in 2000. He was part of the main cast of the long-running series NYPD Blue for three and a half seasons, from 2001 to 2004, as the head of the 15th precinct detective squad.
He played in the 2002 film Paid in Full. In 2005, he was a voice actor in the video game True Crime: New York City.
Morales was cast in the film American Fusion (2005), and on June 19, 2006, he joined the cast of the Fox series Vanished, as FBI agent Michael Tyner; the series ran for one season. In 2007, Morales appeared in an episode of the USA Network drama series Burn Notice. In early 2008, Morales had a role in the CBS drama Jericho, as Major Edward Beck. He appeared in all seven episodes of the shortened second season That same year, he appeared in Kill Kill Faster Faster, a film noir based on the novel of the same name by Joel Rose.
In May 2008, it was announced that Morales would play the role of Joseph Adama in the science fiction television series Caprica – Syfy's prequel to the series Battlestar Galactica. The series, though highly anticipated, only ran for one season in 2010. In 2009, he served as an official festival judge for the Noor Iranian Film Festival in Los Angeles.
In 2011, Morales starred in the drama film Gun Hill Road as Enrique, and in the web drama Los Americans airing on PIC.tv. and Morales worked with Tony Plana, Yvonne DeLaRosa, Lupe Ontiveros, and JC Gonzalez in Los Americans, an Internet program launched in May 2011.
In March 2015, Robert Rodriguez cast him as Lord Amancio Malvado for the second season of horror series From Dusk till Dawn: The Series, which was followed in 2017 by a main role in the first season of the Netflix original series Ozark, and then in 2019 in an antagonist role for the second season of the DC Universe superhero series Titans as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke.
On May 21, 2020, Morales was officially confirmed to be starring in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One as the film's villain, a role which he is reprising in the second part.
Awards and honors
He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arpa Foundation for his impact as an actor and role model.
Morales has described himself as an "actorvist", primarily as one of the founders of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, taking inspiration from his mother, who was an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. He is also interested in environmental issues and was a founding board member of E.C.O. (Earth Communications Office).
In a February 28, 2007, all-star benefit reading of The Gift of Peace at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, he portrayed a hopeful member of a struggling immigrant family. The play was an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution 808, which sought to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the U.S. government, to be funded by a two percent diversion of the Pentagon's annual budget.
Morales is a vegetarian. He has a daughter, born in 2010.
Morales' first name is frequently used in crossword puzzles, because its rare construction makes it a prize for crossword constructors (it is a four-letter word in English that is 75 percent vowels, including the first and last letters). One crossword clue website estimated that between 1994 and 2016, "ESAI" had been used as a crossword answer over 100 times in American papers such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
|Denotes works that have not yet been released|
|1983||Bad Boys||Paco Moreno|
|1986||Rainy Day Friends||Neekos Valdez|
|1987||La Bamba||Roberto 'Bob' Morales|
|The Principal||Raymundo 'Raymi' Rojas|
|1989||Bloodhounds of Broadway||Jack 'Handsome Jack'|
|Living and Working in Space: The Countdown Has Begun||Kenny||Direct-to-video|
|Don't Do It||Charles|
|In the Army Now||Sergeant Stern|
|1996||Livers Ain't Cheap||Collin|
|Death in Granada||Ricardo|
|The Real Thing||Collin|
|1997||The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca||Ricardo||Nominated Alma Award|
|1998||The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit||Dominguez|
|1999||Southern Cross||Philip Solano|
|2000||American Virgin||Jim The Director|
|Doomsday Man||Mike||Also Second unit director|
|2002||The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina||Vergas Mouse (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|Paid in Full||'Lulu'|
|2005||Once Upon a Wedding||Pineda|
|American Fusion||Jose||VC Film Fest Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Best Actor Award Winner|
|2006||The Virgin of Juarez||Father Herrera|
|Fast Food Nation||Tony|
|How to Go Out on a Date in Queens||Frankie|
|2008||Kill Kill Faster Faster||Markie|
|King of the Avenue||Natas|
|The Town||FBI Taskfore Agent Marcus|
|2011||Gun Hill Road||Enrique||FilmOut San Diego, US Best Actor Award Winner|
|2012||Atlas Shrugged: Part II||Francisco D'Anconia|
|Seattle Superstorm||Tom Reynolds|
|2013||Playin' for Love||Principle Jose Martin|
|2014||Jarhead 2: Field of Fire||Captain Jones||Direct-to-video|
|2015||Spare Parts||Mr. Santillan||Nominated Imagen Foundation Award Best Supporting Actor|
|2016||Never Back Down: No Surrender||Hugo Vega||Direct-to-video|
|2019||The Wall of Mexico||Henry Arista|
|2021||Senior Moment||Diego Lozana|
|2022||Art of Love||Professor/Writer|
|The Latin from Manhattan||Papi||Post-production|
|2023||Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One||TBA||Post-production|
|2024||Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two||Filming|
|1984||ABC Afterschool Special||Miguel Rados||Episode: "The Great Love Experiment"|
|1985||The Equalizer||Officer Miguel Canterra||Episode: "Lady Cop"|
|Fame||George||Episode: "Savage Streets"|
|1985–1987||Miami Vice||Pete Romano / Felipe Cruz||2 episodes|
|1986||On Wings of Eagles||Rashid||TV mini-series|
|1989||The Twilight Zone||Jesse Cardiff||Episode: "A Game of Pool"|
|1991–1992||The Legend of Prince Valiant||n/a (voice)||2 episodes|
|1992||Bay City Story||Jim Duran||TV movie|
|1994||The Burning Season||Jair||TV movie|
|Tales from the Crypt||'Puck'||Episode: "The Bribe"|
|1995||Deadlocked: Escape from Zone 14||Tony Archer||TV movie|
|1996||Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Pena Story||Federico Peña||TV movie|
|1997||The Outer Limits||Frank Kelton||Episode: "Heart's Desire"|
|The Hunger||Tony||Episode: "I'm Dangerous Tonight"|
|1998||Adventures from the Book of Virtues||Guillermo (voice)||Episode: "Charity"|
|Circle of Deceit||Jeff Silva||TV movie|
|1999||L.A. Doctors||Vince Duralde||Episode: "The Life Lost in Living"|
|Atomic Train||Noris MacKenzie||TV movie|
|2000||A Family in Crisis: The Elian Gonzales Story||Juan Miguel Gonzalez||TV movie|
|Family Law||Mr. Santiago||Episode: "Telling Lies, Conclusion"|
|2000–2002||Resurrection Blvd.||Paco Corrales||7 episodes|
|2001–2004||NYPD Blue||Lieutenant Tony Rodriguez||Series regular; 66 episodes
Outstanding Actor in a Television Series Alma Award Winner
|2002||American Family||Esteban Gonzalez||8 episodes
Nominated Prism Award
Nominated Imagen Foundation Award Best Actor in a supporting role
|George Lopez||Manny Lopez||Episode: "Who's Your Daddy?"|
|2002–2003||Dora the Explorer||Papi (voice)||5 episodes|
|2005||Heartless||Rick Benes / David Lopez||TV movie|
|Freddie||Carlos||Episode: "The Courtship of Freddie's Father"|
|Behind the Mask of Zorro||Narrator||TV documentary (co-producer)|
|2006||Company Town||Ray Dupre||TV movie|
|Vanished||Michael Tyner||11 episodes|
|2007||The Cure||Jorge||TV movie|
|24: Day 6 Debrief||Agent Jorge Ramirez||5 episodes|
|Burn Notice||Ernie Paseo||Episode: "Broken Rules"|
|2008||Jericho||Major Edward Beck||7 episodes
Nominated Alma Award
|2009–2010||Caprica||Joseph Adama||Series regular; 18 episodes|
|2010||CSI: Miami||Stephen Madsen||Episode: "All Fall Down"|
|2011||Los Americans||Leandro 'Lee' Valenzuela||8 episodes, also producer|
|Fairly Legal||District Attorney Aaron Davidson||Episode: "Bo Me Once"|
|Seattle Superstorm||Tom||TV movie|
|17th Precinct||Liam Butterfield||TV movie|
|We Have Your Husband||Eduardo Valseca||TV movie
Nominated - Image Award
|2012||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Jimmy Vasquez||Episode: "Home Invasions"|
|2013||Major Crimes||Deputy Diaz|
|2013–2015||Criminal Minds||Section Chief Mateo 'Matt' Cruz||6 episodes|
|Magic City||Carlos 'El Tiburon' Ruiz||6 episodes|
|2014||Cleaners||Father Brooks||3 episodes|
|2015||The Brink||President Julian Navarro||Series regular; 10 episodes|
|From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series||Lord Amancio Malvado||Series regular; 8 episodes|
|Mozart in the Jungle||Juan Delgado||2 episodes|
|2015–2016||Blue Bloods||Sergeant Trey Delgado||2 episodes|
|2016||L.A. Series||'El Mono'||TV movie|
|Casa Vita||Rodrigo Vita||TV movie|
|Hit the Floor||Detective||TV Special|
|Adam Ruins Everything||Alfonso||Episode: "Adam Ruins Immigration"|
|2016–2020||How To Get Away With Murder||Jorge Castillo||8 episodes|
|2017||Chicago P.D.||Police Chief Lugo||6 episodes|
|Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders||Section Chief Mateo 'Matt' Cruz||Episode: "La Huesuda"|
|Ozark||Camino Del Rio||4 episodes|
|2018–2019||NCIS: Los Angeles||NCIS Deputy Director Louis Ochoa||Recurring role; 7 episodes|
|2018||Mars||Roland St. John||4 episodes|
|2019||Titans||Slade Wilson / Deathstroke||Main role; 10 episodes|
|2020||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Francisco||Episode: "#10.3"|
|2005||True Crime: New York City|
In Spanish: Esai Morales para niños
Esai Morales Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.