The American-born actor Esai Morales got his breakthrough role in the biography “La Bamba” in 1987, and since then his career has steadily grown. The extremely versatile actor has achieved several remarkable acting successes during his career on both the big and the small screen. He became popular with television audiences in the early 2000s when he played the leading role of Lieutenant Tony Rodriguez in the successful police drama series NYPD Blue. More recently, he landed a spot in the main cast of the long-running action series NCIS: Los Angeles, starring deputy director Louis Ochoa. Morales also appeared in the National Geographic network’s sci-fi series Mars.
Esai Morales Biography, Age
This Hollywood star was born as Esai Manuel Morales, Jr. on October 1, 1962, in Brooklyn, New York, and comes from Puerto Rico. His parents are Iris Margarita (née Declet) and Esai Morales sen. Morales attended the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York, and began his career as a stage actor in New York, before finally moving on to acting on the screen.
Movies and TV Shows
Morales made his feature film debut in the crime film Bad Boys (1983), titled by Sean Penn. He then starred in several indie films and got smaller roles in several TV series. He received his breakout role in the biography La Bamba (1987), starring as Bob Valenzuela, a real-life ex-convict and half-brother of the late Mexican music star Ritchie Valens. His career soon became much livelier, and from the late 1980s, he appeared in several films.
The talented actor had roles in Naked Tango (1991), Rapa-Nui (1994), My Family (1995), and The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997). His career has remained fairly stable since the turn of the century and he has made a number of films, including Paid in Full (2002), Kill Kill Faster Faster (2008), La Linea (2009), Gun Hill Road (2011), Playin’ For Love (2013) and Superfly (2018).
Although Esai Morales may not have achieved these big blockbuster film roles in the course of his career, he did very well in the credits of the small screen. He received his first major television role in the mini-series On Wings of Eagles (1986). After that, he was a guest star in many TV shows and also appeared in telemovies like The Burning Season (1994), Circle of Deceit (1998), and Atomic Train (1999). Later he had a recurring role as Paco Corrales in the drama series Resurrection Blvd (2000-02).
Morales received his biggest television role in the police action series NYPD Blue (2001-04), in which he played the character of Lieutenant Tony Rodriguez. He starred in the lead role from season 8 to season 11 of the series. He also appeared in the cast of the drama series American Family (2002-04). He has also starred in the main cast of other television shows such as Jericho (2008), Caprica (2010), From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2015), The Brink (2015), and Ozark (2017). Of particular note is the 8-part series Los Americans (2011), in which he played the main character and also acted as producer.
Esai Morales was featured in season 10 of the long-running police series NCIS: Los Angeles (2018), in which he appeared as regular deputy director of the series Louis Ochoa. He also portrayed a recurring character, Roland St. John, in the second season of the sci-fi series Mars (2018).
Celebrity Facts and Awards
The brilliant acting of Esai Morales has earned him a number of awards over the years. His role in the biography The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997) earned him a nomination as best actor for the American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Award in 1998.
At the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival he received the Best Actor Award for his performance in the indie film American Fusion (2005). His performance in the film Gun Hill Road (2011) earned him the US Best Actor Award at the FilmOut San Diego Film Festival 2011. He also received a nomination for the Imagen Foundation Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the film Spare Parts 2015.
Esai Morales won the 2002 ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Series for his work in the acclaimed NYPD Blue series. He was nominated for the Prism Award and the Imagen Foundation Award Best Actor in a supporting role for his starring role in the series American Family (2002).
Morales received his third ALMA Award nomination for his role in season 2 of the action series Jericho (2008), although he ultimately did not win. He also received an Image Award nomination for his role in the television film We Have Your Husman (2011).