Award-winning actor Esai Morales is recognized as a force to be reckoned with and one of the most intriguing actors of our time. His feature film debut in Bad Boys, opposite Sean Penn, put him on the map as a powerful leading man. Since then, Morales has continuously offered performances that strongly resonate in the hearts and minds of a diverse and international audience. His breakthrough role in La Bamba, the most commercially successful Latino-themed Rock and Roll biopic of all time, cemented him as a star.
Some of his most memorable film credits include Rapa Nui, produced by Kevin Costner; the award-winning HBO film The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story, directed by John Frankenheimer; Gregory Nava's film Mi Familia; and Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation. He also starred in the films, The Line, Atlas Shrugged: Part II, as the iconic Francisco De Anconia and starred and executive produced Gun Hill Road, a Grand Jury Nominee at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.
Morales made his stage debut in “El Hermano,” at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. Some of his most memorable theater performances include: Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” with Al Pacino on Broadway; Joe Papp’s production of “The Tempest,” with Raul Julia for New York’s Shakespeare in the Park Festival; “Tamer Of Horses” for the Los Angeles Theater Center, for which he was awarded the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award; “The Exonerated,” directed by Bob Balaban; and the San Francisco run of the musical “The Mambo Kings” – Morales’ musical theater debut.
Morales’ credible and commanding role in the Emmy award-winning series “NYPD Blue” broke new ground and gave him critical acclaim. Other award-winning shows include Showtime’s “ Resurrection Blvd.”; PBS’s drama series “American Family”; FOX’s “Vanished”; and USA’s “Burn Notice” as well as CBS’s drama “Jericho” and the Syfy series “Caprica,” opposite Eric Stoltz. He was also featured recurring on USA’s “Fairly Legal,” as District Attorney Aaron Davidson.
In 2002, Morales won The Alma Award as Best Actor in a Television Series, and was honored as Entertainer of the Year at the 17th Annual Imagen Awards for his work on “NYPD Blue.” He won an Imagen Award for Best Actor for his tour de force performance in Gun Hill Road, and an Imagen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series for his work in “American Family.” His performance on Lifetime's We Have Your Husband won him a NAACP nomination.
In 2013, he joined the cast of CBS' drama “Criminal Minds” and is recurring on the upcoming season of Starz' “Magic City.”
A self-described “actorvist,” Morales has combined his passion and understanding of the human condition to build bridges across and beyond ethnic lines. Throughout his career, Morales has been an advocate for countless charities and causes. These causes include literacy, environment, health, immigration, arts funding and social justice issues as well as his consistent evolutionary message inspiring our youth to strive towards a higher purpose and meaningful life.
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