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Wilson Cruz

Wilson Cruz

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 27, 1973 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A young, handsome actor of Puerto Rican heritage, Cruz gained a devoted following in a regular TV role that was a landmark for an American primetime dramatic series. Playing the sensitive, sexually ambivalent high school student Rickie Vasquez in the critically acclaimed "My So-Called Life" (ABC, 1994-95), Cruz was frequently found in the girls' room hanging out and applying makeup with his pals. Rickie's painful "coming out" process was a major series subplot which culminated in the final episode. Creator and co-executive producer Winnie Holzman utilized incidents from the openly gay performer's life for teleplays. A snazzy dancer with a beautiful singing voice, Cruz previously performed around the country with the Young Americans as well as in featured shows at Disney theme parks. He made his TV debut in a minor recurring role in the short-lived high school sitcom "Great Scott!" (Fox, 1992). During and after the run of "My So-Called Life", Cruz appeared on TV and radio shows and at public events as an advocate for gay teens. He made his feature debut with a small part in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995) as Joaquin, an intimate of Bob Hoskins' J. Edgar Hoover.

A young, handsome actor of Puerto Rican heritage, Cruz gained a devoted following in a regular TV role that was a landmark for an American primetime dramatic series. Playing the sensitive, sexually ambivalent high school student Rickie Vasquez in the critically acclaimed "My So-Called Life" (ABC, 1994-95), Cruz was frequently found in the girls' room hanging out and applying makeup with his pals. Rickie's painful "coming out" process was a major series subplot which culminated in the final episode. Creator and co-executive producer Winnie Holzman utilized incidents from the openly gay performer's life for teleplays.

A snazzy dancer with a beautiful singing voice, Cruz previously performed around the country with the Young Americans as well as in featured shows at Disney theme parks. He made his TV debut in a minor recurring role in the short-lived high school sitcom "Great Scott!" (Fox, 1992). During and after the run of "My So-Called Life", Cruz appeared on TV and radio shows and at public events as an advocate for gay teens. He made his feature debut with a small part in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995) as Joaquin, an intimate of Bob Hoskins' J. Edgar Hoover.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Beach Kings (2009)
4.
 Ode (2007)
5.
 Coffee Date (2006)
7.
 Supernova (2000) Benj Sotomejor
8.
 Party Monster (1998) Angel Melendez
9.
 Joyride (1997)
10.
 All Over Me (1996) Jesse
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1981:
Began appearing in professional theater productions at age 7 (date approximate)
1992:
TV series debut, recurring role in Fox's "Great Scott"
1993:
Hired as a regular on the TV series "My So-Called Life"
1993:
Was thrown out of his home on Christmas Eve after revealing to his father that he was gay; subsequently lived in his car and at the homes of friends; Cruz eventually reconciled with his father
1994:
Portrayed gay teen Rickie Vasquez on the cultish and critically acclaimed "My So-Called Life"
1994:
Appeared as a panelist on the talkshow "Donahue" to discuss the plight of gay teens
1995:
Delivered a speech in advocacy of gay youth at the New York City Gay Pride Rally in Union Square Park
1995:
Feature acting debut, Oliver Stone's "Nixon"
1997:
Cast in L.A. production of the stage musical "Rent" as Angel, a drag queen; later made Broadway debut in the role
1998:
Portrayed Angel in the Broadway production of "Rent"
2000:
Played Victor during the final season of "Party of Five" (Fox)
2000:
Co-starred in the sci-fi flick "Supernova"
2003:
Co-starred in "Party Monster," as drug dealer/Club Kid wannabe Angel Melendez
2006:
Cast in "Coffee Date" with Sally Kirkland and Jonathan Silverman
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Eisenhower High School: San Bernardino , California -
California State University: San Bernardino , California -

Notes

Cruz volunteers his time to work with gay youth at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

In a telephone interview with Michael Musto in Village Voice (10/18/94), Cruz explained, "On the show ("My So-Called Life"), I'm saying it's OK to be who you are, so I'm not going to be a hypocrite in my personal life. If I had to hide every day of my life, it wouldn't be fun."

In the Dec 1994/Jan 1995 issue of Out, Cruz was included in the "Out 100" list, "An opinionated guide to the year in gay and lesbian power players, individuals who created, debated, dressed us better, and made a difference with a host of out-there achievements."

"'I don't know a lot of out actors,' admits Wilson, whose portrayal . . . sent a rocket flash to queer youth. 'It was the first honest portrayal and it was a huge opportunity to comfort our youth and say you're not the only one who's going through this. I know it's saved a lot of lives. I've gotten a lot of letters.'"

". . . He's also pissed to the gills about "Life"'s recent cancellation, caused, in part he says, by star Claire Danes' decision to jump ship."

"'Our little diva didn't want to come back. That makes me feel like a bitter queen. I feel like I was canceled,' fumes Cruz, who spent holidays with Danes. 'I'm very disappointed in her.'" -- From "Next Focus: Cruzing" by Scott Hess, Next, June 16, 1995.

Family close complete family listing

uncle:
Luis Cruz. Deceased; succumbed to AIDS complications; Cruz attributes his own survival to his uncle's guidance.

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