Latin American Actor, Manny Perez
In May 1969, Latin American actor, Manny Perez was born, Manuel “Manny” Pérez Batista in the Dominican Republic. His parents and 10 siblings relocated to the American city of Providence, Rhode Island where he attended high school. Upon completion of his high school studies, Manny made the decision to move to New York City to pursue a career as an actor. He majored in Drama at Marymount Manhattan College, graduating in 1992. Then honed his craft studying for a year with the Ensemble Studio Theatre and as a member of the Labyrinth Theatre Company before he won the role of Tito in the 1993 film, Nyû Yôku no koppu (New York Cop). In an industry where it can be difficult for a non-established Hispanic actor, early on Manny managed to find a stream of steady roles.
Manny Perez has become of the most recognizable faces in the film industry, carving out a niche for himself playing dark, rough Hispanic characters. But, that all changed when he won critical acclaim for a movie he co-wrote, produced and starred in 2002, Washington Heights. Although, Washington Heights wasn’t a big box office success, the movie was the beginning of Perez’s growth as a writer/actor. Washington Heights earned him the Best Actor Award at the Milan International Film Festival. His development as a dominant Latino actor continued with the films, Bella and El Cantante, both of which garnered internationally recognition for the roles played by Perez.
Although, Manny Perez moved to Rhode Island at the age of ten and then onto New York to make the area his career acting base, his heart remained true to his Latin American roots. When the destructive Hurricane Noel tore through mostly Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Manny Perez responded to the catastrophic damages in his beloved homeland by performing charitable work, which involved donating 10,000 shoes to those in need. The devastation to the Dominican Republic included 79 deaths and an estimated 62,000 were left homeless. In November 2007, Perez received a Humanitarian Award from the Dominican Republic for his assistance to the people during this time, it was the second award of its kind bestowed upon him, he was also honored with the Perry Ellis Humanitarian Award.
Today, Manny Perez can be seen on the CBS television series, Elementary Season 4. But, perhaps his greatest accomplishment to date is the ten films he starred in during the years 2007-2008. These movies both major and independent releases include the Summer 2007 “El Cantante,” a film in which he starred in opposite Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Despite all his honors and acting awards, Manny Perez has remained a humble man, due to the poverty he encountered in early life. Perez recounts being very ill and then discovering that he was walking around with a belly filled with hookworms. Due to the fact that he always walked around barefoot, in possession of one pair of shoes that were worn only for Sunday Mass.