Perez at the New York premiere of
Won't Back Down, 2012.
|Other names||Rosa Maria Serrano|
|Education||Los Angeles City College|
West Lost Angeles College
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, choreographer, director, activist, author|
(m. 1991; div. 2001)
Rosa María Perez (born September 6, 1964) is an American actress, community activist, talk show host, author, dancer, choreographer and producer. Her film breakthrough performance was her portrayal of Tina in Spike Lees Do the Right Thing (1989), which she followed with White Men Can't Jump (1992). Among many honors, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless (1993) as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990-1994). Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series' 18th season.
Perez was born on September 6, 1964 in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, to Lydia Perez and Ismael Serrano, a merchant marine seaman. Her parents, who were both from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, were married to other people when they met. She was born at the now-closed Greenpoint Hospital in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Perez was raised by an aunt until she became a ward of the state when her mother took her from an aunt when she was three years old. She was then transferred to a group foster home and lived in foster care in New York and Peekskill until age eight, and was still legally considered a ward of the State of New York until age twelve. Her mother and aunt frequently visited, and her father made an unsuccessful custody bid at one point.
Perez has five brothers and sisters from her mother's first marriage to Ventura Perez but also has additional half-brothers and half-sisters (a total of 10 children). When she was in third grade, Perez learned that she had a speech impediment. She had a strict Catholic upbringing, which she has credited to the influence of the nuns during her childhood. She eventually moved in with paternal aunt, Ana Dominga Otero Serrano-Roque, and attended Grover Cleveland High School, in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. Her mother died of AIDS-related complications in 1999.
At 19 years old, Perez started her career in the early 1980s as a dancer on Soul Train. As a student at Los Angeles City College, with plans to major in biochemistry, she said she relieved stress by going to nightclubs for ladies' night. A talent scout from Soul Train asked Perez to appear on the show. She was not a professional dancer, but loved it so much she dropped out of school. In 1988, when she was 24 years old, Perez was noticed at the dance club Funky Reggae by Spike Lee, who hired her for her first major acting role in Do the Right Thing.
Perez later choreographed music videos by Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown, Diana Ross, LL Cool J and The Boys. She was the choreographer for the dancing group the Fly Girls who were featured on the Fox television comedy program In Living Color and also worked as a segment producer. She made her Broadway debut in Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Perez had her third major role in the hit comedy White Men Can't Jump co-starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.
Perez was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Peter Weir's 1993 film Fearless. She attended the ceremony with her father. In 1997, she co-starred with Javier Bardem in Perdita Durango, a film in which many scenes of excessive violence, sex and nudity were edited out of the version released in the United States but remained intact in the version released throughout Latin America. In 1999, Perez starred in Nancy Savoca's The 24 Hour Woman. She provides the voices of Click, the camera, on Nick Jr.'s Go, Diego, Go! and Chel, a beautiful native woman in the DreamWorks Animation film The Road to El Dorado. She played corrupt police officer Carol Brazier in the Judd Apatow-produced film Pineapple Express, co-starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Perez appeared on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in October 2009 about pedophiles' rights. Executive producer Neal Baer said the writers had Perez in mind when they wrote the role of a young sexual abuse victim's mother. She injured her neck while filming the episode and underwent surgery to heal a herniated disc. One year after the accident, she appeared at the White House in a wheelchair, wearing a neck brace for a meeting with President Obama. In May 2011, Perez filed a lawsuit against the producers of the show, claiming that the injury she incurred was the result of being "recklessly pulled, grabbed, yanked, wrenched and manhandled" during filming.
In June 2013, she served as the grand marshal for the international Boxing Hall of Fame parade in Canastota, New York. In February 2014, Perez published an autobiography titled Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling... She is also the reader of the audio CD of this book. Perez said that she didn't initially set out to write an autobiography, but rather a book that analyzes the causes and effects of child abuse. She said it wasn't until about 6 months after the book was published and she heard responses from others that she found the experience cathartic.
On September 3 of the same year, ABC announced Perez would join The View as a new co-host alongside moderator Whoopi Goldberg, newcomer Nicolle Wallace, and returning co-host Rosie O'Donnell. The new season began on September 15, 2014. Perez said she was initially hesitant about the job because "I didn't want to be on a show where people were just screaming at each other disrespectfully." She decided to join the cast when she learned that Bill Wolff, whom she knew from The Rachel Maddow Show, was going to be the new executive producer. In 2015, she returned to Broadway to star in Fish in the Dark, a play written by Larry David. On July 8, 2015, Perez announced she would be leaving The View.
In 2018, in a series regular role, Perez portrayed Tracey Wolfe in the NBC musical drama television series Rise, which ran for one season. She starred in the 2020 superhero film Birds of Prey, as comic book character Renee Montoya.
Perez is an activist for Puerto Rican rights:
Perez suffered abuse during her childhood from both her schizophrenic mother and from the nuns at the group home. As a result, she has suffered from high anxiety, PTSD, and a form of depression called dysthymia, but with therapy it has been greatly reduced.
Perez married artist Eric Haze on September 15, 2013, in Las Vegas. They had decided to get married the night before while attending the Floyd Mayweather vs. Saúl Álvarez boxing match. The couple slept over at the MGM Grand hotel-casino and were married in the morning. They live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Perez was previously married to filmmaker and playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld but the couple divorced in 2001 after ten years of marriage.
|1989||Do the Right Thing||Tina|
|1991||Night on Earth||Angela||Nominated--Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress|
|1992||White Men Can't Jump||Gloria Clemente||Nominated--Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress|
Nominated--Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
|1993||Untamed Heart||Cindy||Nominated--New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)|
|Fearless||Carla Rodrigo||Berlin International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Performance (Special Mention)|
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (tied with Anna Paquin)
Nominated--Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated--New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
|1994||It Could Happen to You||Muriel Lang|
|Somebody to Love||Mercedes|
|1997||A Brother's Kiss||Debbie|
|Perdita Durango||Perdita Durango||Fantafestival Award for Best Actress|
|1999||The 24 Hour Woman||Grace Santos||Also Producer|
Nominated--ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film
Nominated--Black Reel Award for Best Actress
|2000||The Road to El Dorado||Chel||Voice|
|King of the Jungle||Joanne|
|Riding in Cars with Boys||Shirley Perro|
|2003||From the 104th Floor||Narrator||Voice|
|2005||All the Invisible Children||Ruthie||Segment "Jesus Children of America"|
|Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas!||Herself||Director|
|Just Like the Son||Mrs. Ponders|
|2008||The Take||Marina De La Pena||Nominated--Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female|
|Pineapple Express||Officer Carol Brazier|
|2010||The Other Guys||Herself|
|Pete Smalls Is Dead||Julia|
|2012||Small Apartments||Ms. Baker|
|Won't Back Down||Brenna Harper|
|The Being Experience||Herself|
|Gods Behaving Badly||Persephone|
|2014||The Hero of Color City||Red||Voice|
|2015||Pitch Perfect 2||The View Host|
|Puerto Ricans in Paris||Gloria|
|Five Nights in Maine||Ann|
|2019||The Dead Don't Die||Posie Juarez|
|2020||Birds of Prey||Renee Montoya|
|The Last Thing He Wanted||Alma Guerrero|
|Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics||Herself|
|2021||Clifford the Big Red Dog||Post-production|
|TBA||With/In||Post-production; Also writer and director|
|1990||Criminal Justice||Denise Moore|
|1995||In a New Light: Sex Unplugged||Herself||Host|
|1997||Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground||Mystery Girl||Also producer|
Segment "Love on the A Train"
|Lackawanna Blues||Bertha||Nominated--Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress - Television|
Nominated--NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
|2010||Lies in Plain Sight||Marisol Reyes||Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Lead in a Drama Special|
Nominated--NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated--Imagen Foundation Award for Best Actress - Television
|1990||21 Jump Street||Rosie Martinez||Episode: "2245"|
|1990||In Living Color||Herself||Nominated--Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Choreography (1990, 1992, 1993)|
Choreographer: Seasons 1-4
|1990-1991||WIOU||Lucy Hernandez||Episodes: "Without Prejudice"|
"Mother Nature's Son"
"They Shoot Sources, Don't They"
|1995-1997||Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Thumbelina / Witch/ Robinita Hood||Episodes: "Thumbelina"|
"Hansel and Gretel"
|1995-2004||Frasier||Francesca / Lizbeth||Episodes: "Roz in the Doghouse (1995)"|
"Crock Tales (2004)"
|2002||Widows||Linda Perelli||Episodes: "Hour One"|
|2004||Whoopi's Littleburg||The Flashlight Lady||Episode: "But I Still Like You"|
|2005-2008||Go, Diego, Go!||Click, the camera||Episodes: All|
|2008-2009||Lipstick Jungle||Dahlia Morales||Nominated--ALMA Award for Best Actress in Television - Comedy|
Episodes: "Pandora's Box"
"Let It Be"
"The Lyin', the Bitch and the Wardrobe Dahlia Morales"
"La Vie En Pose"
|2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Eva Banks||Episode: "Hardwired"|
|2011-2012||The Cleveland Show||Choni / Aunt Chonie||Episodes: "There Goes El Neighborhood"|
"Y Tu Junior Tambien"
|2012||Nurse Jackie||Jules||Episode: "Slow Growing Monsters"|
|2014||An American Education||Rita Gomez||Pilot|
|2014-2015||The View||Co-Host||Nominated--Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host|
|2014-2017||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Aunt Rose||Voice, recurring role|
|2016||Search Party||Lorraine De Cross||Recurring role|
|2017||Pure||Phoebe O'Reilly||6 episodes|
|2017||Nightcap||Herself||Episode: "Guest in a Snake"|
|2017-2019||Bounty Hunters||Nina Morales||Recurring role|
|2017-2019||Elena of Avalor||Dulce||Voice; recurring role|
|2017||The Untitled Action Bronson Show||Herself||1 episode|
|2018||Rise||Tracey Wolfe||Main role|
|2019||High Maintenance||Adriana||Episode: "Proxy"|
|2019||She's Gotta Have It||Doña Lucy Christina||Episode: "#OhJudoKnow?"|
|2020||The Flight Attendant||Megan Briscoe|
| The View co-host
Candace Cameron Bure