Wilson Cruz: Wikis

  
  

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Wilson Cruz

at the GLAAD Awards, 2009
Born Wilson Echevarría
December 27, 1973 (1973-12-27) (age 36)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Producer, Mentor
Years active 1994–present

Wilson Cruz (born Wilson Echevarría; December 27, 1973) is an American actor, better known for playing a bisexual teenager on My So-Called Life and a recurring character on Noah's Arc. In both his acting and his community work, Cruz has served as a model and mentor to gay youth, especially gay youth of color.

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Early life

At age 19, Cruz came out to his parents as gay, first to his mother and then his father. While his mother was initially hurt and shocked, she eventually accepted the news. His father, however, threw him out of the house, and he spent the next few months living in his car and at the homes of friends. Cruz eventually reconciled with his father after his rise to fame.

Acting career

After coming out to his parents, Cruz went to Hollywood to seek work as an openly gay young actor. While many gay and lesbian performers had come out later in their careers, he wanted to see if he could be out from the beginning and still make it in the industry. His strategy paid off in 1994, when he was cast as Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez, a troubled gay teen, in the short-lived cult classic TV series My So-Called Life. In one episode (entitled "So-Called Angels") drawn from his own life, Rickie comes out to his family, who throw him out of the house.

Following My So-Called Life's cancellation, Cruz went on to play J. Edgar Hoover's servant Joaquin in Oliver Stone's film Nixon and had a small role in the television movie On Seventh Avenue. In 1996, he appeared with David Arquette as Mikey in johns, about the daily (or nightly) struggles of male prostitutes. In 1998, he portrayed Angel in the Broadway production of RENT and, in 2000, played Victor during the final season of Party of Five.

Cruz's other acting credits include the films Joyride (1996), All Over Me (1997), Supernova (2000), Party Monster (2003) and He's Just Not That Into You (2009); the television film The Perfect Pitch (2002); and guest appearances on the series Great Scott!, Sister, Sister, ER, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, and Noah's Arc. Most recently, Cruz starred as Adrian in the film Ode (2007), based on the novel Ode to Lata by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla.

Involvement in LGBT community

While playing numerous roles on television, film, and the stage, Cruz devotes more and more of his time to LGBT youth. He is especially concerned with LGBT youth of color. Most recently he has volunteered his time as host for the Youth Zone, an online community at Gay.com for LGBT youth.

Cruz was the 2005 Grand Marshall of the Chicago Pride Parade and the 1998 West Hollywood Gay Pride parade. In 2008, Cruz was the keynote speaker at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Lavender Graduation and Rainbow Banquet honoring graduating LGBT students. His speech challenged students to enjoy their accomplishments but to use their gifts to make a difference in the world.

Filmography and stage

Television

Film

Stage

References

External links








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