Real name: Esai Morales
Birthdate: October 1, 1962
Esai Morales (born October 1, 1962) is an actor perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Tony Rodriguez on the long-running ABC television police drama NYPD Blue. He also appeared in the PBS drama American Family and in the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd. Most recently, he was cast as Col. Hoffman in the resurrected CBS drama Jericho.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Morales took an interest in acting at the age of 12 when he saw Al Pacino in the movie Dog Day Afternoon. He began his pursuit of this career by attending the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. His first professional performances were in theater and television in New York, and his first film—Bad Boys, about teenagers in prison—was released in 1983.
Paid in Full was scheduled for release in October 2002. It marked a return to a criminal character such as those in his previous roles - in this case he played a drug dealer named Lulu.
In 2005, he contributed his voice acting to the video game True Crime: New York City, playing Sgt. Victor Navarro.
He also was cast in a film, American Fusion, and On June 19, 2006, he would join the cast of Fox's series Vanished, as the FBI Boss of the Gale Harold and Ming-Na characters. The series was later canceled.
In 2007, he completed filming for Kill Kill Faster Faster, which is a contemporary film noir inspired by the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Joel Rose.
Born in New York and of Puerto Rican descent, his parents divorced. He describes himself as an "actorvist" primarily and as one of the founders of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, taking inspiration from his mother, who was an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. He is also interested in environmental issues and was a founding board member of E.C.O. (Earth Communications Office).
In the February 28, 2007 all-star benefit reading of "The Gift of Peace" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, he portrays a hopeful member of a struggling immigrant family, and plays alongside actors Ed Asner, Barbara Bain, Amy Brenneman, George Coe, Wendie Malick, and James Pickens, Jr.. The play is an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution 808, which seeks to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the U.S. government, to be funded by a two percent diversion of the Pentagon's annual budget.
He is currently being sued by a former live-in girlfriend who alleges the former "NYPD Blue" star assaulted her and gave her herpes. The Superior Court lawsuit filed on 19 July 2007 by attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of Elizabeth Mazzocchi alleges "intentional and negligent transmission of a sexually transmitted disease, assault, battery and breach of oral contract." The suit alleged that in April 2006, Morales began a "systematic pattern of abuse, including forcible rape." and that Morales allegedly told Mazzocchi that if she ever called the police he would have "every gangbanger in town looking to kill (her),"