John Augstin Ortiz
A New York-based stage actor, John Ortiz carved a niche in urban crime dramas, effectively portraying both sides of the law, while making himself into a catalyst of independent theater. A native of Brooklyn, Ortiz at a young age helped to found the Latino Actors Base theatrical co-op, which would in the 1990s morph into the dynamic LAByrinth Theater Company, wherein he began a long association with friend and fellow actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Ortiz broke into movies in the 1993 Al Pacino vehicle "Carlito's Way," and would go on to a succession of TV and film jobs largely in supporting ethnic roles, most prominently as a cop in Denis Leary's short-lived New York-set police comedy "The Job" (2001-02) and Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" (2007), as well as feral gangster-types in Michael Mann's film revise of "Miami Vice" (2006) and "Fast & Furious" (2009). His stage work became increasingly prominent in New York through the 2000s, highlighted by multiple outings in plays by Jose Rivera and Stephen Adly Guirgis, a 2004 Broadway debut in Nilo Cruz' Pulitzer-winning play "Anna in the Tropics," and a succession of LAByrinth co-productions with the Public Theater. His on-screen presence grew in the late 2000s as he scored one of the leads in the 2007 sci-fi outing "Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem" (2007) and featured supporting roles in the Jennifer Lopez vehicle "El Cantante" (2006) and the critically acclaimed, Hoffman-directed screen adaptation of the LAByrinth/Public-staged play "Jack Goes Boating" (2010). From blue-collar roots to a rising light of the theater, Ortiz struck a deft balance between Hollywood's multicultural penchant for Latino supporting characters and his building recognition as a signature talent of the Gotham stage.