Rosie Perez Biography

Rosie Perez is a popular American actress, show host, writer, dancer, choreographer, and social activist. She has overcome challenging circumstances as a foster child and ward of the State, lacking affection from her parents due to being the result of an extra-marital affair. However, her luck changed when she was discovered by director-producer Spike Lee at a farewell party, leading to her acclaimed debut in the film ‘Do the Right Thing’. Since then, she has starred in numerous successful films like ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ and ‘Fearless’. Additionally, Perez has made a name for herself as a talented choreographer, earning three Emmy Award nominations for her work on the show ‘In Living Colour’. She has also achieved success on Broadway, notably for her role in ‘The Ritz’ as Googie Gomez. In 2015, Perez became the regular host of the popular talk show ‘The View’. Her recent film credits include ‘The Take’ and ‘Pineapple Express’.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 59 Years
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Eric Haze (m. 2013), Seth Zvi Rosenfeld (m. 1999–2001)
  • Height: 5’1″ (155 cm)
  • Ancestry: Puerto Rican American
  • Notable Alumni: West Los Angeles Colleg, Los Angeles City College
  • U.S. State: New Yorkers
  • Education: Los Angeles City College, West Los Angeles Colleg

Childhood & Early Life

Rosa Maria Perez was born on September 6, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents, Ismael Serrano and Lydia, were Puerto Rican. However, her parents were not married, and she was conceived from an extra-marital affair. She was born at the Greenpoint Hospital and was initially taken care of by a maternal aunt. At the age of three, her mother put her under foster care. Unfortunately, her mother suffered from schizophrenia and was unable to provide the love and care Perez needed. Perez has 10 half-siblings from her mother, and her mother later died from complications of AIDS.

Early Trauma and Education

After being placed under foster care, Perez was then placed under the care of nuns who raised her with a strict Catholic upbringing. However, she suffered at the hands of a few cruel nuns. Due to the traumatic experiences of her childhood, including abuse and abandonment, she developed a speech impairment.

After enduring many difficult years, Perez found solace in the love and affection of her paternal aunt, Ana Dominga. She began attending Grover Cleveland High School. After completing high school, she studied marine biology in Los Angeles. It was during her second year of college that she was discovered by Spike Lee at a club, which led to a role in a movie and transformed her life.


Perez’s breakthrough came in 1989 when she appeared in the film “Do the Right Thing.” This led to several roles the following year, including the TV movie “Criminal Justice” and television shows “21 Jump Street” and “In Living Color.” She continued to gain recognition with roles in movies such as “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Untamed Heart,” and “Fearless.” She also became a voice actor, voicing Thumbelina in “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child.”

Throughout her career, Perez has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including “The Road to El Dorado,” “Lackawanna Blues,” and “Small Apartments.” She gained popularity as the voice of Click in the animated children’s program “Go, Diego, Go!” She also published a book in 2014 titled “Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling,” which detailed her unfortunate childhood.

Major Works

One of Perez’s most critically acclaimed performances was in the movie “Fearless.” The film received positive reviews and she received several awards for her role, including an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination. She also received recognition for her role in the comedy film “Pineapple Express.”

Awards & Achievements

Perez has received several awards throughout her career. In 1993, she won several awards for her performance in “Fearless,” including the Boston Society of Film Critics Award and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award. She also received the Fanta Festival Award for Best Actress in “Perdita Durango” in 1997 and the Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Lead in a Drama Special in “Lies in Plain Sight” in 2010.

Personal Life & Legacy

Perez married filmmaker Seth Zyi Rosenfeld in 1991, but the couple divorced in 2001. In 2009, she injured her neck while filming for “Law & Order: SVU” and later filed a lawsuit against the show. She was appointed by President Obama to The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2010 and serves as a chairperson for Urban Arts Partnership in New York City. Perez has also been open about her struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, which she attributes to her traumatic childhood. She currently resides in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. In 2013, she married artist Eric Haze after attending a boxing match together.

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