Friday, May 20, 2011

Betcha Didn't Know...?

Some of the most notable names from the dawn of film and television are of Latino descent. Here are some of them.

In this edition, some Latino stars you can currently see on television.

Harry Shum, Jr. (1982- ), born in Puerto Limón, Limón, Costa Rica to Cantonese Chinese parents, is a dancer and actor. He is commonly known for being a part of such dance films as Stomp the Yard, You Got Served, and had recurring roles as Cable on Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D. He is currently part of the musical-comedy television show "Glee," where he plays Mike Chang. His parents emigrated from Guangzhou, China to Costa Rica, where he was born. The family stayed there for about six years before moving to San Francisco, California, U.S.A. In an interview he stated, "I feel I have the best of so many worlds. I speak Chinese and Spanish. Spanish is actually my first language before I learned Chinese and English." In an interview, he revealed that his earliest motivations to dance were actually pop/R&B artists Ginuwine, Dru Hill and Usher before becoming influenced by iconic dancers like Gene Kelly and Michael Jackson. He started dancing with his high school dance company team and continued his career in San Francisco, California, under several different studios. He incorporates various different styles into his dance, including popping, locking, breaking as well as contemporary dance. He launched his career as the only male dancer on BET's "Comic View" in 2002 and later became one of the lead dancers with stars such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Jennifer López and Jessica Simpson. He currently plays Mike Chang, a dancer who joins the glee club, on the Fox musical-comedy television series "Glee." Known as the "Other Asian" on Glee, he was promoted from guest star to series regular in season three, with varying levels of certainty from different sources. ¡Oye! Él es un chino-tico.

Sarah Shahi (1980- ), born Aahoo Jahansouz Shahi in Euless, Texas, U.S.A. to a Spanish mother and Iranian father, is an actress. She is probably best known for starring in "The L Word" as Carmen de la Pica Morales and in "Life" as Detective Dani Reese. In 2011 she began playing the role of Kate Reed in the legal drama "Fairly Legal" on the USA Network. As a child, she adopted the name "Sarah." She speaks Persian and Spanish as well as English. A former National Football League cheerleader and a great-great-granddaughter of the 19th-century Persian Shah Fath Ali Shah Qajar by Begom Khanom, she attended Trinity High School and Dallas' Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and opera. As a teenager she won several beauty contests, and took first place in the Miss Fort Worth USA pageant in 1997. She joined the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and was part of the 1999-2000 squad. She also appeared on the cover of their 2000 calendar. While working as an extra on the set of Dr. T and the Women in Texas, she met director Robert Altman, who encouraged her to move to Hollywood, where she received roles in several series, including "Alias," "Dawson's Creek," "Reba" and "Supernatural." In addition to her roles in "The L Word and "Life," she also played Farah in the second season of "Sleeper Cell," and also appeared in HBO's "The Sopranos." She has been playing attorney Kate Reed in the USA Network series "Fairly Legal" since January 2011.

Morena Baccarin (1979- ), born in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to a Brazilian TV and stage actress and an Italian journalist, is an actress. When she was 7, she moved with her family to New York, New York, U.S.A. when her father was transferred to Globo TV's U.S. headquarters. She later attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts before she entered the theater program at Juilliard. She landed her first movie role in the improvised fashion world comedy Perfume (2001). This was followed by a lead role in the film festival hit Way Off Broadway (2001). Shortly before moving to Los Angeles, she appeared with Natalie Portman and understudied for her role in the acclaimed Central Park production of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull. The science-fiction drama "Firefly" was her first television series, and she reprised her role in the 2005 film Serenity. In February 2005, she provided the voice for Black Canary in multiple episodes of the animated series "Justice League Unlimited," as well as guest starred in three episodes of the television series "The O.C." in 2006. She then played the adult version of Adria, a recurring villain in the tenth season of "Stargate SG-1" and reprised her role as Adria in the movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth. She landed the lead role in ABC's 2009 remake of the series "V," playing Anna, who is the leader of the Visitors. In May 2009, she made her off-Broadway debut in Theresa Rebeck's television satire Our House at Playwrights Horizons in New York City where she played a news reporter whose affair with a television executive lands her a job as the host of a hit reality show.

Eva LaRue (1966– ) born Eva María Laruy in Long Beach, California, U.S.A. is an actress, model and songwriter. She is of Puerto Rican, French, Dutch and Scottish heritage. She began acting at the age of six and was later a teenage beauty queen. She won Danfranc Productions Miss California Empire 1984 title at the state pageant held in Irvine, California, U.S.A. Soon after graduating from high school, she started modeling, eventually becoming a model for Frederick's of Hollywood. From 1993 to 1997 and again from 2002 to 2005, she portrayed Dr. María Santos Grey on ABC's "All My Children." There, she was half of the show's supercouple Edmund and María. For that role, she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also received a nomination in 2004 in the category of Outstanding Original Song for composing the song "Dance Again with You," which was used in the series. In 2010, she reprised the role temporarily on January 5 for the 40th anniversary of the series. She has also performed in television movies over the years, appearing as Annette Funicello in a biographical movie of the former Mouseketeer and also in the adaptation of Danielle Steel's Remembrance as Princess Serena. She also was the second Linda Lorenzo, George López's sister, on the TV sitcom "George Lopez." In the fall of 2005, she began the role of Natalie Boa Vista on "CSI: Miami." She became a full cast member on the show the following season.

Tristan Wilds (1989- ), born Tristan Paul Mack Wilds, is an actor and singer-songwriter. Born in Staten Island, New York, U.S.A. to a Dominican mother and African American-Irish father, he made his television debut at the age of 15 when he played AJ in the miniseries "Miracle Boys." He followed that up with theater gigs, where he worked with Phylicia Rashad and the Roundabout Theater Company in the workshop Wool and in the production Stockholm Brooklyn for the Cherry Lane Theater. He was then cast as Michael Lee in HBO's critically acclaimed series "The Wire." That same year he also made his big screen debut starring opposite Ryan Gosling in the film Half-Nelson. Other credits include the films Indelible, Red Tails and The Secret Life of Bees and roles in the television series "Cold Case" and "Law and Order." He can currently be seen playing Dixon Wilson on the CW Network's "Beverly Hills, 90210" spinoff, "90210." As a singer and songwriter, he is currently working on his music.

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