American-born actor Esai Morales landed his breakout role in the biopic La Bamba in 1987, and his career has steadily evolved since then. The versatile actor has racked up several notable acting credits throughout his career on both the big and small screens. He became popular with television audiences in the early 2000s when he played the lead role of Tony Rodriguez on the hit police drama series NYPD Blue More recently, he landed a main cast spot on the long-running action series NCIS: Los Angeles in the lead role as assistant director Louis Ochoa. Morales was also featured in the National Geographic network sci-fi seriesMars
Esai Morales Biography, Age
This Hollywood star was born Esai Manuel Morales,Jr. on October 1, 1962 in Brooklyn, New York and he is of Puerto Rican ancestry. His parents are Iris Margarita (née Declet) and Esai Morales, Sr., a welder. Morales attended the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York and began his career as a stage actor in New York before eventually pursuing acting.
Movies and TV Shows
Morales made his feature film debut in the coming-of-age crime thriller Bad Boys (1983), which was directed by Sean Penn. He then appeared in a few indie films and played minor roles in several television series. He landed his breakout role in the 1987 biopic La Bamba , starring Bob Valenzuela in the real-life ex-convict and half-brother of the late Mexican music star Ritchie Valens. His career soon became much busier and he was featured in several films beginning in the late 1980s.
The talented actor has had roles in Naked Tango (1991), Rapa-Nui (1994), My Family (1995) and The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997). His career has remained fairly stable since the turn of the century and he has recorded a slew of films including Paid in Full (2002), Kill Faster Kill Faster Kill (2008), La Linea (2009), Gun Hill Road (2011), Playin’ For Love (2013) and Superfly (2018).
While Esai Morales may not have scored as a major blockbuster throughout his career, he did very well as far as 35mm credits go. He landed his first major television role in the miniseries On Wings Of Eagles (1986). After that, he made guest appearances on many TV shows and also starred in TV movies like Die Brenndauer (1994), Circle of Deception (1998) and Atomic Train (1999). He later had a recurring role as Paco Corrales in the drama series Resurrection Boulevard (2000-02).
Morales landed his major television role on the police action series NYPD Blue (2001-04), playing the character Lt. Tony Rodriguez portrayed. He was part of the main cast of the series from the 8th to the 11th season. He was also in the cast of the drama series American Family (2002-04). He has also been in the main cast of other television shows such as Jericho (2008), Caprica (2010), From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2015), The Edge (2015) and Ozark (2017). Of particular note is the 8-episode series Los Americans (2011), in which he starred and also served as a producer.
Esai Morales starred in season 10 of the long-running hit series Police NCIS: Los Angeles (2018), starring as regular assistant director Louis Ochoa. He played a recurring role in the second season of the sci-fi series, Roland St. John Mars (2018).
Prominent facts and awards
Esai Morales’ brilliant acting has earned him a number of awards over the years. His role in the biopic The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997) earned him a Best Actor nomination at the 1998 American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards.
He received the Best Actor Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival for his performance in the indie film American Fusion (2005). His performance in the film Gun Hill Road (2011) earned him the US Best Actor Award at the 2011 FilmOut San Diego Film Festival. He also received an Imagen Foundation Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 2015 film Spare Parts
Esai Morales won the 2002 ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Series for his work on the critically acclaimed series NYPD Blue He was nominated for a Prism Award and Imagen Foundation Best Actor Award for his leading role in the series American Family (2002).
Morales received his third ALMA Award nomination for his role in the second season of the action series Jericho (2008), although he ultimately did not win. He also received an Image Award nomination for his role in the TV movie We Got Her Husband (2011).