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Luis Guzman

Luis Guzman

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Also Known As: Pedro Lamboy Died:
Born: August 28, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Cayey, Puerto Rico, USA Profession: actor, social worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having appeared in numerous high profile features and television shows, actor Luis Guzman developed into a prominent character actor equally adept at performing in comedies and dramas. Guzman began his career in often nameless roles, playing assorted thugs and cops in films like "Crocodile Dundee II" (1988) and "The Hard Way" (1991). But his fortunes changed once he began working with the likes of directors Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Soderbergh, both of whom used him to great effect in "Boogie Nights" (1997), "Out of Sight" (1998) and "Traffic" (2000). He had greater difficulty on the small screen, however, having a brief stint as the star of his own sitcom, "Luis" (Fox, 2003), while appearing in the confusing David Milch drama "John From Cincinnati" (HBO, 2007), both of which failed to survive their first seasons. Nonetheless, Guzman remained a favorite of many directors, who admired his strong work ethic and dedication to his craft.Born on Aug. 28, 1956 in Puerto Rico, Guzman grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where he began his acting career in a high school production of "Bye Bye Birdie." Bitten by the bug, he went on to appear in street theater and local productions while working...

Having appeared in numerous high profile features and television shows, actor Luis Guzman developed into a prominent character actor equally adept at performing in comedies and dramas. Guzman began his career in often nameless roles, playing assorted thugs and cops in films like "Crocodile Dundee II" (1988) and "The Hard Way" (1991). But his fortunes changed once he began working with the likes of directors Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Soderbergh, both of whom used him to great effect in "Boogie Nights" (1997), "Out of Sight" (1998) and "Traffic" (2000). He had greater difficulty on the small screen, however, having a brief stint as the star of his own sitcom, "Luis" (Fox, 2003), while appearing in the confusing David Milch drama "John From Cincinnati" (HBO, 2007), both of which failed to survive their first seasons. Nonetheless, Guzman remained a favorite of many directors, who admired his strong work ethic and dedication to his craft.

Born on Aug. 28, 1956 in Puerto Rico, Guzman grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where he began his acting career in a high school production of "Bye Bye Birdie." Bitten by the bug, he went on to appear in street theater and local productions while working as a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement House in downtown Manhattan. Also at that time, he became active in local political causes and used street theater as a means of spreading the word on issues that affected the community. Eventually, he made his film debut with a prominent role in Bette Gordon's independent feature, "Variety" (1983), a character drama that focused on a woman's decent into the porn industry. From there, he began to develop a viable career; though initially he was cast to play nameless heavies and thugs, thanks to his dark, brooding look that actually defied his amiable nature. After a guest spot on "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-1990), Guzman began appearing in numerous small parts, playing bad guys in films like "Crocodile Dundee II" (1988) and "Family Business" (1989), while branching out to the other side of the law in Sidney Lumet's crime drama, "Q&A" (1990).

Guzman continued as a low-key supporting player in "The Hard Way" (1991) and "McBain" (1991), while continuing to make appearances on shows like "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990- ), "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99) and "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005). He went against type as the friend and coworker of a struggling utility worker (Matt Dillon) reunited with his ex-wife (Annabelle Sciorra) in "Mr. Wonderful" (1993). Finally getting his chance to shine, Guzman had a significant supporting role as the right-hand man of a former criminal (Al Pacino) struggling to go straight in Brian De Palma's gripping drama, "Carlito's Way" (1993). After playing a man who smuggles Central Americans to work in U.S. sweatshops in "The Cowboy Way" (1994), he was in a slew of under-the-radar features like "Lotto Land" (1995), "The Substitute" (1996) and "Stonewall" (1996). Equally adept at playing comedy as well as portraying menacing street characters, Guzman quickly became one of Hollywood's most in-demand character actors. He attracted the attention of two leading directors, Steven Soderbergh and Paul Thomas Anderson, both of whom added him to their stable of actors as part of both directors' unofficial "repertoire companies."

Anderson was the first to tap Guzman, casting him as a club owner in the director's breakthrough movie, "Boogie Nights" (1997). Soderbergh next cast him in a small, but memorable role as a gay prisoner who has no choice but to help a jailed bank robber (George Clooney) escape from prison in "Out of Sight" (1998). In Soderbergh's "The Limey" (1999), Guzman played the friend of a murdered young woman (Melissa George) whose formerly criminal father (Terrence Stamp) travels from England to Los Angeles to find her killer (Peter Fonda). After a supporting role as a detective in the serial killer drama "The Bone Collector" (1999), he played a narcotics agent alongside Don Cheadle in "Traffic" (2000), Soderbergh's masterful crime epic about the futility of the war on drugs. Guzman won a Screen Actors Guild award for his part of the film's excellent ensemble cast. Following another small role in Anderson's strange, but compelling drama "Magnolia" (1999), Guzman was seen as Jacopo in the modest adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002). Meanwhile, he had a regular role as Raoul "El Cid" Hernandez, the leader of the Latino prison gang on the brutal series "Oz" (HBO, 1997-2003).

After establishing himself as a reliable and hard-working character actor, Guzman made a few uncharacteristic missteps, starting with an appearance in the dreadful Eddie Murphy space comedy, "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" (2003), which he followed with the inexplicable "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd" (2003). Both died ignominious deaths at the box office, though Guzman seemed to suffer no permanent damage to his career. In "Anger Management" (2003), Guzman appeared as a member of a group therapy session who helps unleash Adam Sandler's hidden rage. After playing a corrupt cop who joins a scam operation in "Confidence" (2003), a little-seen crime drama with Edward Burns and Rachel Weisz, Guzman joined Jim Carrey in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004), adapted from the popular children's novels. Trying his luck for the first time as the lead in a sitcom, he starred in "Luis" (Fox, 2003), playing a husband and father who owns a donut shop in Spanish Harlem. The series failed to attract much of an audience and was canceled after only four episodes.

In the low-budget slice-of-life comedy "Waiting" (2005), about a waiter (Justin Long) who rues his dead-end life, Guzman played a cook at a restaurant who likes to do disgusting things to himself and the food. After going back to the well with "Carlito's Way: Rise to Power" (2005), he had small parts in "Fast Food Nation" (2006) and "School for Scoundrels" (2006). Returning to series television, he was the owner of a rundown motel in "John From Cincinnati" (HBO, 2007), a strange noir sports drama with supernatural elements from the twisted mind of David Milch. After playing yet another detective in Renny Harlin's "Cleaner" (2007), he was one of several voice actors in the live action comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" (2008), which he followed with a supporting role in the family drama "Nothing Like the Holidays" (2008). He next co-starred in "The Taking of Pelham 123" (2009), playing one of several armed hijackers led by an ex-con (John Travolta) who take over a subway train.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Two Men In Town (2015)
4.
 Henry & Me (2014)
5.
 Lookalike, The (2014)
6.
 In the Blood (2014)
7.
 Turbo (2013)
8.
 Last Stand, The (2013)
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began acting in high school with a featured part in a production of "Bye Bye Birdie"
:
Performed in street theater
1983:
Made his film debut in Bette Gordon's independent feature "Variety"
1990:
Played a detective in Sidney Lumet's crime drama "Q&A"
1993:
Played the recurring role of Hector Martinez on "NYPD Blue" (ABC)
1993:
Had breakthrough role as the right-hand man of a former criminal (Al Pacino) in director Brian De Palma's "Carlito's Way"
1994:
Played a man who smuggles Central Americans to work in U.S. sweatshops in "The Cowboy Way"
1995:
Co-starred with John Leguizamo in the short-lived sketch comedy show "House Of Buggin" (Fox)
1997:
Landed a memorable role as a club owner in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights"
1998:
Played inmate and Latino gang leader Raoul 'El Cid' Hernandez on HBO's "Oz"
1998:
Re-teamed with director Brian De Palma for "Snake Eyes"
1998:
Had a small but memorable role as a gay prisoner in Steven Soderberg's "Out of Sight"
1999:
Re-teamed with director Paul Thomas Anderson for "Magnolia"
1999:
Played the friend of a murdered young woman (Melissa George) in Soderbergh's "The Limey"
2000:
Played a narcotics agent alongside Don Cheadle in Soderbergh's "Traffic"
2002:
Co-starred with Adam Sandler and Emily Watson in the romantic drama "Punch-Drunk Love"
2002:
Portrayed the villainous Cosimo in "Welcome to Collinwood"
2003:
Played the lead on the short-lived Fox sitcom "Luis"
2004:
Played the Bald Man in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"
2005:
Co-starred in "Carlito's Way: Rise to Power," a direct-to-video prequel to Brian De Palma's 1993 film "Carlito's Way"
2006:
Joined an ensemble cast for Richard Linklater's "Fast Food Nation"
2007:
Played the manager and caretaker of the Snug Harbor Motel on David Milch's short-lived HBO series "John From Cincinnati"
2007:
Co-starred with Jet Li and Jason Statham in "War"
2008:
Lent his voice to the live action comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"
2009:
Cast as one of several armed hijackers in "The Taking of Pelham 123"
2010:
Featured on the HBO comedy-drama series "How to Make It in America"
2011:
Played Bitterman, the title character's (Russell Brand) chauffeur in the remake of "Arthur"
2012:
Cast opposite Dwayne Johnson in the adventure sequel "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

City College of New York: New York , New York -

Notes

In Lewis Beale's "Who's That Character?" column in the DAILY NEWS (November 16, 1993), Guzman responded to the question of what his biggest influence was: "My encounter with [director] Sidney Lumet during "Q&A". He made me understand what being myself was about. It was basically through rehearsals, making sure that whatever we were doing was conversational, and that brought out the reality of the characters. And him having the confidence to allow me to do what I did."

In Lewis Beale's "Who's That Character?" column in the Daily News (November 16, 1993). Guzman commented on the stereotyping of Latinos in the movies: "When I first started out, I played drug dealers and rapists and gypsy cab drivers. But as time wore on, I began to get better roles. Today Latinos are still stereotyped, [but] there are more positive roles. I think the market is opening up; Hollywood is beginning to see that there is a major Latino market happening, and after a while Latinos will get tired of seeing their brothers and sisters playing these low-life roles. But it will take Latinos in the industry to help bring that forward."

"Early on I had to pay my dues as a Latino in this business. I had to establish my reputation as a good worker, which was playing a drug dealer, a rapist, all those negative roles." --Luis Guzman quoted in "Hollywood Has a Bad Accent" by Lewis Beale in Daily News, January 24, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Angelita Galarza-Guzman. Homemaker.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Rosa. Hospital worker.

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