Wilson Cruz

Recent Role:

Star on The People I've Slept With

Born:

12/27/1973, Brooklyn, New York, USA

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Best known for his sensitive portrayal as Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez, the troubled gay teen on My So-Called Life, Wilson Cruz has culled an impressive resume with various screen, stage and gay rights advocacy appearances. Born in Brooklyn, New York where he started his career in stage productions before moving to San Bernadino, California. Cruz consistently confronts issues of homosexuality and Latino identity in his work. Like his character on My So-Called Life, Cruz was briefly estranged from his father after coming out at the age of 19. For several months, he lived out of his car and relied on the generosity of friends. The two eventually reconciled, and Cruz went on to build a successful acting career, often portraying gay characters dealing with complex issues. Cruz earned an American Latino Media Award (ALMA) for his role as a nanny on Party of Five, and credits the show for bringing a topic such as talking about homosexuality with children to prime time television. Cruz gained new fans, a decade after My So-Called Life with his recurring role as Junito on Noah's Arc, a show about four gay men, navigating relationships in Los Angeles. The show airs on LOGO, the first gay television network available without special order. Cruz has not turned his back on the stage, however. He won acclaim for his performances as Angel in the Tony award-winning Rent on Broadway, and as Michael in Jonathan Larson's pre-Rent, semi-autobiographical musical, Tick, Tick... Boom!. He also devotes a significant amount of time and energy to championing GLBT youth causes, and graced the cover of The Advocate in 1999.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Wilson Cruz

    Gender:

    Male

    Birth Place:

    Brooklyn, New York, USA

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (5)

    • Wilson Cruz: (on being approached to play an HIV positive character on Noah's Arc)I didn't even hesitate... I was really excited and proud to be able to play that role... and I got to be cute... I got to be the one to kiss the boy, and kissing Christian Vincent is not a bad gig.

    • Wilson Cruz: I just don't think that we can sit back and be indifferent about HIV just because there are drugs that can sustain our life. Although people with HIV and AIDS aren't dying in the numbers they were 10 or 15 years ago, these drugs are not easy drugs to live on. They affect the way you live in daily life and for some people they don't work. So it's not over. It's still an emergency.

    • Wilson Cruz: I like to say Rickie [from "My So-Called Life"] is who I was when I was 15 years old, except for the fact that I didn't hang out in the girls bathroom and didn't wear eyeliner... He had a much more interesting fashion sense as well.

    • Wilson Cruz: (on his preference between TV and film) I prefer to work. Here’s the thing. I just prefer to do interesting projects. I don’t really differentiate between the two mediums. At this point television has become so good that it’s like making little movies…I don’t really have a preference. It’s always about the stories and the character. On TV, it’s really fun to take a character and watch that journey happen week after week…And I think also you’re given some freedom in that…And on a film you have a fixed amount of time and you know exactly what the middle and end are going to be…I don’t come to them any differently than I do the other.

    • Wilson Cruz: (on the difficulty of being a Latino actor) I think it's hard being a Latino anything, but I mean that in a good way. I think it's the challenges that makes us who we are. I think there are challenges that are inherent in being a person of color within this industry. There are very few roles that are written specifically for Latinos, unless you are in jail, a drug dealer, a gang member, or hooligan of some sort.

    Trivia (12)

    • Cruz was never an athlete, but instead pursued dancing, marching band, show choir, and theater in school.

    • Cruz admires the work of Gael Garcia Bernal and Meryl Streep. He also enjoyed Patrick Wilson in Lost Children, and Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland.

    • Cruz's younger brother, Josh, is also an actor. Coincidentally, Cruz's co-star on "My So-Called Life," Devon Gummersall, also has a brother named Josh.

    • Cruz is a first-generation American, born to Afro-Puerto Rican immigrants.

    • Cruz's uncle died from AIDS-related complications, but not before bestowing valued guidance on the actor.

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