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Esai Morales      

Award-Winning Actor & Activist

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. He played the ex-convict and biker half-brother of 1950s rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens in the 1987 movie "La Bamba." Some of his other roles have reflected his socio-political interests, such as "The Burning Season" in 1994, "My Family/Mi Familia" in 1995, "The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca" in 1997, and "Southern Cross" in 1999. In the latter three films, as well as in others such as "Bloodhounds of Broadway" in 1989 and "Rapa Nui" in 1994, Morales saw increased amounts of screen time, starting with a role in the Pauly Shore film "In The Army Now." He portrayed a police officer in the film "Dogwatch" in 1996. He played Father Herrera in "The Virgin of Juarez."

Morales appeared on television in the mid-1980s on "Fame." He co-starred with Burt Lancaster in the NBC-TV miniseries, "On Wings of Eagles," playing the Iranian Rashid, the hero of a true story about Ross Perot. Morales also appeared in "Miami Vice," "The Equalizer," and "24."

In the 1990s, he guest-starred on episodes of "The Outer Limits," "Tales from the Crypt," and two shorter-lived series, "L.A. Doctors" and "The Hunger." He was a featured TV actor, seen in a two-part episode of "Family Law" in 2000. His tenure on "NYPD Blue" as the head of the 15th precinct detective squad began in mid-season 2001 and continued until 2004, when he decided to cancel his contract.

"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 playing a drug dealer named Lulu. In 2005, he (along with Mercedes Ruehl) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA). That same year, he contributed his vocal talents to the video game "True Crime: New York City," playing Sgt. Victor Navarro.

Morales was cast in the film "American Fusion," and on June 19, 2006, he joined the cast of the Fox series "Vanished," as FBI agent Michael Tyner alongside actors Gale Harold and Ming-Na. In 2007, he completed filming for "Kill Kill Faster Faster," a contemporary film noir inspired by the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Joel Rose. In 2007, Morales appeared in an episode of the USA Network drama series "Burn Notice" as a Cuban shopkeeper being shaken down for "protection" money by local criminals. In early 2008, Morales had a role in the CBS drama "Jericho" as Major Edward Beck. He appeared in all seven episodes of the shortened second season.

In May 2008, it was announced that Morales would play the role of Joseph Adama in the science fiction television series" Caprica" -- Syfy's prequel to the series "Battlestar Galactica." The series premiered on January 22, 2010. In 2011, Morales starred in the drama film "Gun Hill Road," as Enrique, and in the web drama "Los Americans" airing on He also played D.A. Aaron Davidson on "Fairly Legal."


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