Having toiled away in several thankless bit parts on television and in film, comedic actor Oscar Nunez landed his big break as the put-upon, but always dignified gay accountant on the hit television comedy, "The Office" (NBC, 2005-13). Prior to his breakout success, Nunez was a member of comedy troupes both in New York and Los Angeles, before appearing on screen in episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm," (HBO, 2000- ) and "Still Standing," (CBS, 2002-06). Though he made appearances in big films like "The Italian Job" (2003) and "Glory Road" (2006), he often came and went on screen without audiences noticing. But everything changed when he joined the cast of "The Office," which helped raise his profile considerably, leading to larger supporting roles. He also gained considerable notice playing a variety of characters on the cult hit show "Reno 911" (Comedy Central, 2003-09), which later led to an appearance in the film version "Reno 911: Miami" (2007). Though he left "The Office" for a spell to star in the short-lived comedy "Halfway Home," (Comedy Central, 2007), Nunez returned to the show while continuing to build off its success.
Born on Nov. 18, 1958 in Cuba, Nunez emigrated to the United States when he was 14 years old, settling with his family in Union City, NJ. After graduating high school, Nunez enrolled at several colleges in New York City, exploring a variety of career interests that led him to attend both the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons School of Design, where he studied writing. Along the way, Nunez managed to become a certified dental technician at the Magna Institute of Dental Technology. But all the whole he cultivated an interest in comedy and eventually formed the improv troupe, Shock of the Funny, performing more than 300 shows with the group in the East Village and around New York City. In the mid-1990s, Nunez moved West to pursue a Hollywood career and soon joined the famed comedy troupe, The Groundlings, with whom he went on to write and perform the show, "Smooth Down There." Continuing to write his way into comedy, Nunez graduated from the Warner Brothers' Comedy Writers Workshop in 1997 and later was a finalist in the 1999 ABC Latino Writers Project.
Moving on up, Nunez made his first television appearance on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," (HBO, 2000- ), playing a parking lot attendant who has an altercation with star Larry David over a lost ticket. He went on to appear in an episode of the sitcom, "Still Standing," (CBS, 2002-06), and made his first big-screen appearance as an anonymous security guard in the heist thriller, "The Italian Job" (2003), starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. Later that year, he appeared as a pilot in the first season of "24," (Fox, 2003-2010) before landing a small part in a filmed segment of "Comedy Central's Last Laugh '04" (2004). Following the small feature "When Do We Eat" (2005), Nunez made a handful of memorable appearances on the comedy hit, "Reno: 911!" (Comedy Central, 2003-09) as a variety of characters, playing Capt. Dwayne Hernandez in the two-part episode "Terrorist Training" and 'Spanish Mike" Alvarez in the fourth-season episode, "Spanish Mike Returns." He also appeared in two episodes of the short-lived sitcom "The Bad Girls Guide" (UPN, 2005) while appearing in the small role of a locker room janitor in the Josh Lucas basketball drama, "Glory Road" (2006).
Later that year, Nunez landed the part that would change his career and help make him a known commodity, playing the quiet, unassuming accountant Oscar on the hit sitcom, "The Office" (NBC, 2005-13). The show, based on the British comedy of the same name, revolved around the absurd office shenanigans of the fictional Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, recognizable to anyone familiar with a typical corporate environment. Despite initially low ratings, the uniquely flavored comedy, done in a light mockumentary format, began to catch on with viewers. Nunez was brought aboard when producers decided to focus on background characters and hired performers who could easily flesh out characters with their performances. An early standout episode for Nunez involved him being singled out by boss Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) for being of Mexican descent, in a plotline revolving around workplace sensitivity training. To the chagrin of some viewers, Nunez left the show for awhile, his character having been offered an extended paid vacation to make up for gross insensitivity on the part of his working environment after he had been outed as a gay man by Michael Scott. In the meantime, Nunez executive-produced and starred in the comedy series, "Halfway Home," (Comedy Central, 2007) an improvisational comedy series about five ex-cons living together while on parole, with Nunez playing a male prostitute named Eulogio. The show was as notable for its vulgarity as it was its originality and drew a small cult following during its short 10-episode run. Meanwhile, he returned to "The Office" and took on larger supporting roles in "Reno 911: Miami" (2007) and "The Proposal" (2009).
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Was a finalist in the ABC Latino Writers Project
TV debut in an episode of the HBO series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Had a small role in "The Italian Job"
Appeared in three episodes of comedy central's "Reno 911!"
Cast as Oscar Martinez on the American version of "The Office" (NBC)