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Rosie Perez
Rosie Perez at the New York Premiere of the film, Won't Back Down, in 2012
Perez at the New York premiere of
Won't Back Down in 2012
Rosa Maria Perez

(1964-09-06) September 6, 1964 (age 59)
Education Los Angeles City College
West Los Angeles College
  • Actress
  • choreographer
  • dancer
  • activist
Years active 1983–present
Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
(m. 1998; div. 2001)
Eric Haze
(m. 2013)
Awards Full list

Rosie Perez (born Rosa Maria Perez on September 6, 1964) is an American actress, choreographer, dancer, and activist. Her breakthrough came at age 24 with her portrayal of Tina in the film Do the Right Thing (1989), followed by White Men Can't Jump (1992). Perez's performance in Fearless (1993) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, among other accolades. Her starring film roles since include It Could Happen to You (1994), The Road to El Dorado (2000), Pineapple Express (2008), and Birds of Prey (2020).

Perez earned three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for In Living Color (1990–1994) and another Emmy nomination for her work in The Flight Attendant (2020–22). She has performed in stage plays on Broadway such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. She was also a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series' 18th season.

Early life

Perez was born on September 6, 1964, in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, to Lydia Pérez and Ismael Serrano, a merchant marine seaman. Her mother Lydia (née Fontañez y Reyes) was born October 13, 1939, in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Her father was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Her mother was married to a man 20 years her senior, Arturo Pérez. Her mother already had five children when she became pregnant with Rosie. Perez was born at the now-closed Greenpoint Hospital in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Perez is one of ten children borne by her mother. Rosie and her siblings grew up in Bushwick while their mother was intermittently jailed. Her mother gave birth to her youngest child while incarcerated. She was for a time raised by an aunt and then, like her siblings, went through group homes and foster care. She and her siblings were often split up. She was transferred to a group foster home and lived in foster care in New York and Peekskill until age eight. She was legally considered a ward of the State of New York until age twelve. Her mother and aunt frequently visited, and her father made an unsuccessful custody bid at one point.

When she was in third grade, Perez learned that she had a speech impediment. She had a strict Catholic upbringing, which she has credited to the influence of the nuns during her childhood. She eventually moved in with paternal aunt, Ana Dominga Otero Serrano-Roque.

She attended Grover Cleveland High School, in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. Her mother died of AIDS-related complications in 1999. When her mother died she was living in poverty in the Woodside houses.


At 19 years old, Perez started her career in the early 1980s as a dancer on Soul Train. As a student at Los Angeles City College, with plans to major in biochemistry, she said she relieved stress by going to nightclubs for ladies' night. A talent scout from Soul Train asked Perez to appear on the show. She was not a professional dancer, but loved it so much she dropped out of school. In 1988, when she was 24 years old, Perez was noticed at the dance club Funky Reggae by Spike Lee, who hired her for her first major acting role in Do the Right Thing.

Perez 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 and also worked as a segment producer. 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. She attended the ceremony with her father. In 1997, she co-starred with Javier Bardem in Perdita Durango. In 1999, Perez starred in Nancy Savoca's The 24 Hour Woman. 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. She injured her neck while filming the episode and underwent surgery to heal a herniated disc. One 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, saying the injury she incurred was the result of being "recklessly pulled, grabbed, yanked, wrenched and manhandled" during filming.

In June 2013, she served as the grand marshal for the international Boxing Hall of Fame parade in Canastota, New York. In February 2014, 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 said that she did not initially set out to write an autobiography, but rather a book that analyzes the causes and effects of child abuse. She said it was not until about 6 months after the book was published and she heard responses from others that she found the experience cathartic.

On September 3 of the same year, ABC announced Perez would join The View as a new co-host alongside moderator Whoopi Goldberg, newcomer Nicolle Wallace, and returning co-host Rosie O'Donnell. The new season began on September 15, 2014. Perez said she was initially hesitant about the job because "I didn't want to be on a show where people were just screaming at each other disrespectfully." She decided to join the cast when she learned that Bill Wolff, whom she knew from The Rachel Maddow Show, was going to be the new executive producer. In 2015, she returned to Broadway to star in Fish in the Dark, a play written by Larry David. On July 8, 2015, Perez announced she would be leaving The View.

In 2018, in a series regular role, Perez portrayed Tracey Wolfe in the NBC musical drama television series Rise, which ran for one season. She starred in the 2020 superhero film Birds of Prey, as the DC Entertainment superhero Renee Montoya / Question. Later that year, Perez starred in the comedy-drama series The Flight Attendant. She earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the role.

In 2021 Perez starred in the film adaptation of the children's book series Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Activism and philanthropy

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.
  • US 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 against the 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.

Personal life

Perez suffered abuse during her childhood along with her siblings from her mother, as well as regular beatings from a nun, Sister Bernarda, according to a May 2022 interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air". As a result, she has suffered from high anxiety, PTSD, and depression but with therapy it has been greatly reduced.

Perez married filmmaker and playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld in 1998. The couple divorced in 2001 after ten years together. She married artist Eric Haze on September 15, 2013, in Las Vegas. They live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn as of 2014.

Perez stated on the Pineapple Express DVD commentary that she is allergic to dairy products.



Year Film Role Notes
1989 Do the Right Thing Tina
1990 Criminal Justice Denise Moore TV movie
1991 Night on Earth Angela
1992 White Men Can't Jump Gloria Clemente
1993 Untamed Heart Cindy
Fearless Carla Rodrigo
1994 It Could Happen to You Muriel Lang
Somebody to Love Mercedes
1997 A Brother's Kiss Debbie
Perdita Durango Perdita Durango
1998 Louis & Frank -
1999 The 24 Hour Woman Grace Santos
2000 The Road to El Dorado Chel (voice)
King of the Jungle Joanne
2001 Human Nature Louise
Riding in Cars with Boys Shirley Perro
2003 From the 104th Floor Narrator (voice) Short
2004 Exactly Angela Short
2005 Lackawanna Blues Bertha TV movie
2006 Just Like the Son Mrs. Ponders
Lolo's Cafe Maria (voice) Short
2007 The Take Marina De La Pena
2008 Pineapple Express Officer Carol Brazier
2010 The Other Guys Herself
Pete Smalls Is Dead Julia
Lies in Plain Sight Marisol Reyes TV movie
2012 Small Apartments Ms. Baker
Won't Back Down Brenna Harper
2013 The Counselor Ruth
The Being Experience Herself
Gods Behaving Badly Persephone
2014 The Hero of Color City Red (voice)
Fugly! Zowie
2015 Pitch Perfect 2 The View Host
Puerto Ricans in Paris Gloria
Five Nights in Maine Ann
2017 Active Adults Zoe
2019 The Dead Don't Die Posie Juarez
Inside the Rain Dr. Holloway
2020 Birds of Prey Renee Montoya
The Last Thing He Wanted Alma Guerrero
For NYC Herself Short
2021 With/In: Volume 1 Coco
Clifford the Big Red Dog Lucille


Year Title Role Notes
1990 21 Jump Street Rosie Martinez Episode: "2245"
1990–91 WIOU Lucy Hernandez Recurring Cast
1990–93 In Living Color Fly Girl/Choreographer Main Cast: Season 1–4
1991 Great Performances Herself Episode: "Everybody Dance Now"
1992 It's Showtime at the Apollo Herself/Guest Host Episode: "Episode #6.4"
1995 In a New Light: ... Unplugged Herself/Host Main Host
Frasier Francesca Episode: "Roz in the Doghouse"
1995–00 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Various (voice) Guest Cast: Season 1-3
1996 Saturday Night Special Herself Episode: "Episode #1.4"
1997 Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground Mystery Girl Episode: "Love on the A Train"
1999 Little Bill Valencia Episode: "Monty's Roar/Natural Root Pals"
2002 One World Jam: A Concert for Global Harmony Herself/Host Main Host
Gotham Awards Herself/Co-Host Main Co-Host
Widows Linda Perelli Main Cast
2003 XXI Century Herself Episode: "War, Peace, and Patriotism"
2004 Whoopi's Littleburg The Flashlight Lady Episode: "But I Still Like You"
Frasier Lizbeth Episode: "Crock Tales"
2005 All the Invisible Children Ruthie Episode: "Jesus Children of America"
2005–11 Go, Diego, Go! Click (voice) Main Cast
2008–09 Lipstick Jungle Dahlia Morales Recurring Cast: Season 2
2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Eva Banks Episode: "Hardwired"
2010 VH1 Rock Docs Herself Episode: "Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America"
Dora the Explorer La Bruja (voice) Episode: "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure"
2012 Fish Hooks Chichelsea Chihuahua (voice) Episode: "Bea Dates Milo"
Nurse Jackie Jules Episode: "Slow Growing Monsters"
Falcón Madeleine Flowers Episode: "The Silent and the Damned"
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself/Guest Judge Episode: "All Star Girl Groups"
2012–13 The Cleveland Show Choni (voice) Recurring Cast: Season 3-4
2013 Anderson Live Herself/Co-Host Episode: "Co-Host Rosie Perez/'Spartacus"
In the Woods Herself Main Cast
American Latino TV Herself Episode: "Episode #12.6"
2014 Park Bench with Steve Buscemi Herself Episode: "Hair Apparent"
2014–15 The View Herself/Co-Host Guest Co-Host: Season 17, Main Co-Host: Season 18
2014–17 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Aunt Rose (voice) Recurring Cast
2015 The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Herself/Panelist Episode: "Starbucks's "Race Together" Campaign"
American Masters Herself Episode: "The Women's List"
2016 Search Party Lorraine De Coss Recurring Cast: Season 1
2017 Then and Now with Andy Cohen Herself Recurring Guest
Nightcap Herself Episode: "Guest in a Snake"
Pure Phoebe O'Reilly Main Cast: Season 1
2017–19 Bounty Hunters Nina Morales Main Cast
Elena of Avalor Dulce (voice) Recurring Cast: Season 2, Guest: Season 3
2018 Unsung Herself Episode: "The Boys"
Project Runway All Stars Herself/Guest Judge Episode: "Posen on the Red Carpet"
Rise Tracey Wolfe Main Cast
2019 High Maintenance Adriana Episode: "Proxy"
She's Gotta Have It Doña Lucy Christina Episode: "#OhJudoKnow?"
2020–22 The Flight Attendant Megan Briscoe Main Cast
2021 Mike Tyson: The Knockout Herself Episode: "Part 1-2"
NYC Epicenters 9/11→2021½ Herself Episode: "Part 1-4"
Maya and the Three Cipactli (voice) Recurring Cast
2022 Black Market with Michael K. Williams Herself/Guest Host Episode: "Thirst Trap"
Now & Then Flora Neruda Main Cast
Big City Greens Mrs. Torres Episode: "The Delivernator"
2022–23 Human Resources Petra the Ambition Gremlin (voice) Recurring Cast
2023 Your Honor Olivia Delmont Recurring Cast: Season 2
Big Mouth Petra (voice) Episode: "The Ambition Gremlin"

Music Video

Year Artist Song
1989 Joyce Irby featuring Doug E. Fresh "Mr. DJ"


Year Title Role Playwright Notes
2002 Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Frankie (replacement) Terrence McNally Belasco Theatre, Broadway
2004 Reckless Pooty / Sue Craig Lucas Biltmore Theatre, Broadway
2007 The Ritz Googie Gomez Terrence McNally Studio 54, Broadway
2015 Fish in the Dark Fabiana Melendez Larry David Cort Theatre, Broadway


Year Film
2000 My Generation
2005 Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas!
2006 Home
2008 Big Pun: The Legacy
2011 Brooklyn Boheme
2015 Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives
2016 Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall
Muhammad Ali: A Life
2017 My Name Is Pedro
2018 Pa'lante
2020 Have a Good Trip: Adventures in ...

Awards and nominations

(2021) NHMC Impact Awards (Outstanding Performance in a Series)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rosie Perez para niños

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