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Maria Canals-Barrera            

Actress, Known for "Wizards of Waverly Place"

María Canals Barrera (born María Pilar Canals; September 28, 1966) is an American actress best known for her roles on television. Canals was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Barrera, who speaks Spanish and is of Cuban descent, took drama classes in junior high. She graduated from University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida with a degree in theater.

In early years, Canals Barrera has worked extensively in theater in both Miami and Los Angeles. In 1992 she began starring on Telemundo Spanish-language telenovela “Marielena.” She later had the recurring role in the short-lived 1993 Fox comedy-drama series, “Key West.” In 1996 she was nominated for an Ovation Award for her performance in the stage play Changes of Heart. During 1990s, Canals also guest starred in a number of television series, such as “21 Jump Street,” “Murder,” “She Wrote,” “Almost Perfect,” and “Caroline in the City.” Her first regular role was on the short-lived NBC sitcom, “The Tony Danza Show” in 1997.

In early 2000s, Canals Barrera had supporting roles in films “America's Sweethearts,” “The Master of Disguise” and “Imagining Argentina.” She has gained much recognition with comic book fans in recent years for her role as Hawkgirl/Shayera Hol on Bruce Timm's “Justice League” (2001-04) and “Justice League Unlimited” (2005-06) series. She also had a recurring role in “Static Shock” as Shelly Sandoval, a news reporter, and in “Danny Phantom” as Danny Fenton/Phantom's high school crush, Paulina. She also performed the voice of Mercedes "Meche" Colomar in the 1998 video game Grim Fandango. Canals also played incidental characters in two episodes on the TV series “The Boondocks” ("Grandad's Fight" and "Home Alone").

From 2007 to 2012, Canals Barrera co-starred as Theresa Russo, the mother of lead character, in the Disney Channel family sitcom, “Wizards of Waverly Place.” She also co-starred in “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie,” a 2009 Disney Channel Original movie based on series. Canals Barrera also appeared in the Disney Channel Original Movies “Camp Rock” (2008) and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010),” alongside Demi Lovato in the role of her mother, Connie Torres. In 2011 she appeared opposite Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in the romantic comedy film “Larry Crowne.”

In 2014, Canals Barrera was cast as Hilda, the house manager of the country club where most of the action takes place, in the ABC soapy comedy-drama series, “Members Only” created by Susannah Grant. Later in that year she joined the cast of ABC comedy series, “Cristela,” as Cristela Alonzo's character sister.


Cristela has made it more and more difficult to hit the town and get turnt up on Friday nights. The sitcom, inspired and created by standup Cristela Alonzo, is amassing quite the following thanks in part to the cohesion and familiarity amongst the cast. Respected actress Maria Canals-Barrera portrays Cristela’s sister Daniela and in talking to the Cuban American actress its apparent the warmth she feels for her TV family. Here, she tells us about the family atmosphere on Cristela, her TV husband Carlos Ponce and her upcoming holiday plans.
Maria Canals-Barrera, Gomez’s former on-screen mother on Wizards of Waverly Place, spoke to Fox News Latino about how proud she is for her TV hija. “She is so talented. She’s always been so talented,” Cannals-Barrera said.
Maria Canals-barrera | News, Photos and Videos |
Maria Canals-Barrera - Eva Longoria Foundation Dinner held at her restaurant Beso in Hollywood at Beso Restaurant - Los Angeles, California, United States ...

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