John Ortiz was born May 23, 1968, in Brooklyn, New York. Ortiz continued to live in Brooklyn until 2009 when he and his wife, Jennifer, and their son, Clemente, moved to California, so Ortiz could focus on his career commitments there. In 1993, he and his friend, Phillip Seymour, co-founded the New York-based theater company, LAByrinth Theater. When the group originally formed, it was intended only to include Latin American actors, the initials LAB stand for Latin Actors Base. However, the group eventually evolved to include 100's of actors from various ethnic backgrounds. Ortiz also acts as the company's art director. He made his film debut playing the younger cousin of Al Pacino in the 1993 film Carlito's Way. From there he went on to appear in several other films including American Gangster, Miami Vice, Narc, Ransom and Fast & Furious. Ortiz has also appeared as a regular in several television shows including The Job with Denis Leary, Blue Blood and Luck.