puerto rican actress

This year, Disney premiered its first Latina princess: Elena Castillo Flores, better known as Elena of Avalor. She sings and plays guitar, she goes on adventures, rules her kingdom and has her own highly rated animated TV show.

The 16-year-old crown princess had been trapped in an amulet for 41 years (so technically, she’s 57 — which might make her one of Disney’s oldest princesses, but that’s another story). Her backstory begins when another animated Disney princess, Sofia the First, sets her free. Elena confronts the evil sorceress Shuriki, voiced by Jane Fonda, who killed her parents and took over the kingdom.

Elena avenges her parents, drives Shuriki out, and begins her reign over the port city of Avalor. “She is the first princess actively ruling her kingdom, and I think that’s new,” says Aimee Carrero, the Dominican-Puerto Rican actress who lends her voice to Elena. “So she has a day job. You know, there’s no Prince Charming, she’s her own hero. She’s learning that leadership is about sacrifice, and not about this sort of totalitarian control over the people she rules — and sort of resembles more of a president than princess. There’s never been a better time to tell this story.”

‘Elena Of Avalor’ Takes The Throne As Disney’s First Latina Princess

Image: Disney Channel

April Lee Hernandez (born January 31, 1980) is an American film and television actress. She has also been credited as April L. Hernandez and April Hernandez Castillo. She is a born-again Christian.

Hernandez grew up near the Grand Concourse in The Bronx. She is of Puerto Rican descent and has described herself as a “strong Latina”. Went to Aquinas High School in the Bronx, New York then Hernandez studied nutrition in Hunter College, but dropped out to pursue a comedy career after being inspired by John Leguizamo’s off-Broadway production Mambo Mouth. Hernandez is married to Jose Castillo. The couple welcomed a daughter, Summer Rose, on September 30, 2012.

Aside from performing stand-up comedy, she has also appeared in several commercials, as well as on the television series ERLaw & Order, and 30 Rock. In June 2010 she was cast for the American cult series Dexter. She appeared in the television series Person of Interest episode Legacy, which aired on January 18, 2012, in which she played an attorney who had turned her life around after a checkered childhood.

She is known for her role in the 2007 drama Freedom Writers, in which she played Eva, based on real-life high school student Maria Reyes. Hernandez has said that she was “determined” to be cast in Freedom Writers. She admires Jennifer Lopez, and has stated that Lopez “opened the door for me so that I don’t have to take certain roles” as a Hispanic-American actress.

Katarina M. Boné-Tsokolati
I’ve been told that I should Americanize my name when I start auditioning and for a while it tormented me because sure my name is harder to remember than Stacy McGee but… my name gives me a reaction I enjoy and it always is a conversation starter, people become curious of my ethnicity… I want more people to know about my family’s roots than to get forgotten among the Robinson and Smiths in the world.
Remember my name.


Below the cut you will find 127 small/medium HQ gifs of the beautiful Puerto Rican & Guatemalan-American actress, Adria Arjona - as requested by @juliawickxer. She is best known her roles as Dorthy Gale in Emerald City, Dani Silva in Person of Interest, and Emily in True Detective. None of these gifs were made by me, they are all textless, and there are no repeats.

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Emerald City

I just finished watching Emerald City and it was nothing short of amazing. Here are a few of my favorite reasons why:

1. Dorothy. One thing I loved about the show is how they stayed true to Dorothy's character. I hate it when adaptions completely disregard the original. Dorothy has always been a character who represents kindness and acceptance. Though Dorothy is usually portrayed as a young girl, Emerald City managed accurately portray her, even though she was aged up. She still kept the innocence and qualities that made her a lovable character. Adria Arjona did a fantastic job.

2. The diversity. The diversity of Emerald City’s cast was amazing. With Jordan Loughran as Tip, Mido Hamada as Eamonn, and  Florence Kasumba as the Witch of East. Not to mention, Puerto Rican actress, Adria Arjona was a great choice for the role of Dorothy.

3. The Symbolism. It would take me all day to make a complete comparison of Emerald City and the Wizard of Oz so I’m just to say these three. The brainless scarecrow, the cowardly lion, and the heartless tin man. In Emerald City, the brainless scarecrow is a man who has lost his memory. Dorothy finds him hung on the side of the road and names him Lucas after her hometown. The heartless tin man is a boy who was pushed off a terrace. He’s saved by a skilled doctor who gives him metal body parts to replace the ones he’s lost and a metal heart.  The cowardly lion is a knight who betrayed the royal family in order to save himself. These comparisons show how uniquely and creatively the show was written.

Emerald City is a spectacular series full of magic and wonder. It managed to stay true to the original and still go off in unexpected directions. If anyone is looking for a good show to watch, they should check of this brilliant adaption of the Wizard of Oz.

See, Hamilton is SO FUCKING GOOD, that no one even begins to question how George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison are all black, Alexander Hamilton is Puerto Rican, and two black actresses, and a half Chinese-half white actress play sisters. Seriously, IT’S. THAT. FUCKING. GOOD.

Christina Abbi Vidal (born November 18, 1981) is an American film/television actress, and singer. She is best known for her roles in the films Life with MikeyBrink!Freaky FridaySee No Evil, and the Nickelodeon sitcom Taina, in which she played the title character.

Vidal was born and raised in Whitestone, an area in Queens, New York, the daughter of Manny Vidal, a tax consultant and businessman, and his wife Josie, a secretary, both of Puerto Rican ancestry. She attended the Performing Arts School Of New York. When she was 17 she joined a girl group called Gemstone (along with Jade Villalon and Crystal Grant). Vidal later moved to Orlando, Florida, to proceed with the filming of Taina. Her sisters Lisa, and Tanya are also actors and have appeared on TV and in theatre; she also has a brother, Christian.

Vidal’s acting career started when one of her teachers told her there was an audition for the movie Life with Mikey (1993), starring Michael J. Fox. She auditioned and got the part of “Angie Vega”, and was therefore the first Puerto Rican child actress to play a lead in an American film.[4] Since then, Vidal has appeared in numerous films and television series, with her most notable role being Taina Maria Morales in the Nickelodeon show Taina. The sitcom was at first successful and ran for two seasons until its cancellation in the summer of 2002 because Nickelodeon felt that it only appealed to girls.

The next year she starred in the film Freaky Friday alongside Lindsay Lohan. She played the role of Maddie in that film. That same year, she starred in the short-lived ABC action TV series about police officers called 10-8: Officers on Duty until she suddenly left after two months on the show. Also in 2003 she guest starred in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as Paris Fate. In 2006, she did an untitled sitcom pilot along with her sisters for ABC (which was executively produced by George Lopez). The show was not picked up but later that year she starred in the film See No Evil, along with having a brief stint on the hit sitcom Girlfriends. In recent times, she made cameo appearances in the movies I Think I Love My WifeMask of the Ninja, and the internet comedy short “Love Automatically”, written by Mylinda Royer and directed by Allison Haislip. Most recently, Vidal played a supporting character in the film Magic Man, which was released in 2009.

When Vidal was in the band Gemstone, she recorded songs with herself as well as bandmate Jade Villalon performing vocals. A few of these tracks would surface many years later on albums consisting of demoes, rare tracks, and special songs of Jade Villalon’s music project, Sweetbox. In 2002, she was briefly signed to MCA Records and in that time she was supposed to release her first single “Tropical” and her solo debut album “White” in the summer of 2002, but never did. That same year she provided guest vocals on the remix of Will Smith’s summer hit “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head)” from the Men in Black II soundtrack. She was a part of Lupe Fiasco‘s 1st & 15th Entertainment.[6] She also recorded a track for the work out cd called Byou from Sabrina Bryan of the Cheetah Girls. The song she recorded was “Anything Is Possible”. She also sang the song “Take Me Away” in the movie Freaky Friday.

Happy Birthday, Zuleyka Rivera!

Zuleyka Jerrís Rivera Mendoza[note 1] Spanish pronunciation: [suˈleika riˈβeɾa]; (born October 3, 1987 in Cayey) is a Puerto Rican beauty queen and actress who held the titles Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2006 and Miss Universe 2006.[1] She made her debut as a telenovela actress in Mexico's Telemundo’s soap opera Dame Chocolate.

Born in Cayey, she was raised in Salinas with her parents Jerry Rivera and Carmen Mendoza, and two brothers, Jerry, Jr. and Jose Rivera Mendoza. Prior to winning the Miss Puerto Rico title she won the local pageant for her hometown of Salinas. She had also placed as the first runner-up in the Miss Teen Puerto Rico pageant. Only eighteen years of age when she was crowned Miss Universe, Rivera is one of the youngest women to win the title. She is also the first winner from Puerto Rico to have noticeable mixed heritage features, different from her four predecessors (Marisol Malaret,Deborah Carthy-DeuDayanara Torres, and Denise Quiñones) that have distinctly European features.

Rivera represented her hometown of Salinas municipality at Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2006, held on November 10, 2005 where she was crowned the winner by outgoing titleholder and Miss Universe 2005 1st Runner-Up Cynthia Olavarría.

Rivera is also the second woman with noticeably mixed features to win Miss Puerto Rico Universe after Alba Reyes in 2004.

Zuleyka Rivera represented Puerto Rico in the Miss Universe 2006 pageant which was televised live internationally from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on 23 July 2006. After competing in swimsuit, evening gown and interview, she was crowned Miss Universe by outgoing titleholder Natalie Glebova of Canada. At the time she was the youngest Miss Universe winner since Amelia Vega in 2003 (until Stefanía Fernández in 2009).

Later that evening, Rivera fainted briefly during a press appearance. The incident was reportedly attributed to heat exhaustion (from the stage lights) coupled with the weight of the heavy, chained dress she was wearing.[2]

Rivera was the fifth Puerto Rican to win the title, which makes the island the third most successful entity in the pageant (behind the United States and Venezuela). Rivera was the third consecutive delegate from Puerto Rico to make the Top 5 at Miss Universe, after Alba Reyes placed 2nd Runner-Up in 2004 and Cynthia Olavarría placed 1st Runner-Up in 2005.

Rivera’s win came only five years after Denise Quiñones, the most recent winner from Puerto Rico, won the crown. As Miss Universe, Rivera represented the Miss Universe Organization, both in the United States and internationally. She was based in New York City, where she shared an apartment with Tara ConnerMiss USAand Katie BlairMiss Teen USA 2006.

At the Miss Universe 2007 pageant she passed her crown to Riyo Mori of Japan in Mexico City, Mexico on May 28, 2007.[3]

After being crowned on July 23, 2006 in Los Angeles, Zuleyka was interviewed by many news teams in Los Angeles and when she arrived at her new home in New York.

From the end of July until early August, Zuleyka traveled to Japan where she presented the Five Star Diamond Award to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo. She also participated in a photo shoot with Kurara Chibana in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in Tokyo, Japan, the girls who became really close best friends and still keep in touch. Miss Universe Japan (and first runner-up), and Zuleyka also visited Mikimoto, the creators of her dazzling crown. In late August, Zuleyka traveled to Indonesia where she attended the opening of a new spa, met with the Minister of Culture, and attended the Miss Indonesia Universe pageant where Agni Pratistha was crowned. While in Indonesia, Zuleyka also visited Bali. On September 4, 2006, Zuleyka returned to her home, Puerto Rico for an official homecoming celebration and parade. The following day, Zuleyka returned to her hometown of Salinas.

As of April 2007, Zuleyka has traveled to the Czech RepublicFranceItalyRussiaSpainTurkeyGreeceKazakhstanIndiaMexicoThailandBrazilPuerto Rico,Japan, and Indonesia, in addition to numerous trips around the USA.

On April 1, 2007, Rivera appeared at WrestleMania 23 along with Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith and Miss Teen USA 2006 Katie Blair, supporting Donald Trump in the Battle of the Billionaires match against Vince McMahon.

She passed on her crown at the Miss Universe 2007 pageant to Japan‘s Riyo Mori, which was held in Mexico CityMexico on May 28, 2007.

After finishing her reign as Miss Universe, Rivera expressed her interest in an acting career. She debuted in the 2007 telenovela Dame Chocolate with Carlos Ponceand Karla Monroig.[4] In 2010, she was offered the role of antagonist Rocío Lynch in the telenovela Alguien Te Mira.[5][6] Later that year, she starred in Aurora as another antagonist, Diana del Valle.[7]

After a brief hiatus due to her pregnancy, Rivera returned to acting in 2012, with a lead role in Rosario. Rivera again plays the role of antagonist Sandra Díaz.[8] On an interview, Rivera said that she has acknowledged she has “the skills for this kind of [antagonist] roles… I handle them pretty well.” In 2013, Rivera announced she would play the antagonist lead in the upcoming telenovela Cosita linda, which will start filming in May.[9]

Rivera will also have a small role on the upcoming film Runner, Runner.[10]

Since the fall of 2010, Rivera has been dating Minnesota Timberwolves point guard José Juan Barea.[11] In July 2011, the couple announced they were expecting their first child together.[12] Rivera gave birth to Sebastián José Barea Rivera in Minnesota on February 18, 2012. Barea was present during the birth.[13]

During early 2013, there was much speculation that the relationship between Rivera and Barea had ended. However, she assured on an interview that they were still together. On April 18, 2013, Barea released a statement confirming that the relationship was over. Rivera responded with a statement of her own alleging “false information” on Barea’s statement. On her statement, Rivera says that “ever since I began filming the telenovela Rosario, there weren’t two consecutive weeks where I didn’t travel to Minnesota, a place I considered my home, along with the father of my child.” She added that she still has the satisfaction “as a woman and mother, that I gave all of me in exchange for our happiness. But this is a labor of two. Life goes on and I keep on going with my head held high.”[14]

Happy birthday, Shar Jackson!

Sharisse “Shar” Jackson (born September 4, 1976) is an American television and film actress and singer, best known for her role as Niecy Jackson on the UPN show Moesha.

Jackson was born in BostonMassachusetts. Her mother is of African American and Native American descent, and her father is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent.

In the television show Moesha, Jackson played the title character’s best friend, Niecy Jackson; she has also appeared in The Bernie Mac Show. She co-starred in the Nickelodeon movie Good Burger with Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson. Jackson was also featured on the ABC reality series The Ex-Wives Club with Marla Maples and Angie Everhart. The show aimed to aid men and women who have recently gone through separation or divorce. In 2009, Jackson appeared in the film I Do… I Did!. She also appeared in the dance film Steppin: The Movie

Jackson was a singer in the pop group “Mpulz” and was included on The Princess Diaries soundtrack. The group released one album before disbanding.

She won first place on the MTV reality show Celebrity Rap Superstar on October 18, 2007, beating runner-up Contro. She also appeared on the seventh season of Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp, which premiered in February 2010.

Shar Jackson was engaged to Kevin Federline , with whom she has daughter Kori Madison Federline (born July 31, 2002) and son Kaleb Michael Jackson Federline (born July 20, 2004). The couple separated shortly before Kaleb’s birth. After the separation, Federline began a relationship with pop singer Britney Spears. Jackson later commented that Federline’s relationship with Spears “wasn’t like just breaking up a relationship. It was like breaking up a family”, but sustained an amicable relationship with Federline, complimenting his parenting. Federline married Spears, but they divorced after two years. She has 2 older children, son Donnie (born October 1993) and daughter Cassie (born June 1995), by her high-school boyfriend.

Happy Birthday, Vanna White!

Vanna White (born February 18, 1957) is an American television personality and film actress best known as the hostess of Wheel of Fortune since 1982.

White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in Conway, South Carolina. She is the daughter of Joan Marie and Miguel Angel Rosich; Rosich was Puerto Rican. He abandoned the family and White took the name of her stepfather, Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in what is now North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

White’s first appearance in a game show was on the June 20, 1980 episode of The Price Is Right, in which she was among the first four contestants. She did not make it onstage, but the clip of her running to Contestants’ Row was rebroadcast as part of The Price Is Right 25th Anniversary Special in August 1996 and also was featured on the special broadcastGame Show Moments Gone Bananas. After Wheel of Fortune hostess Susan Stafford left in October 1982, White was chosen as one of three substitute hostesses (along with Vicki McCarty and Summer Bartholomew) to co-host the show. On December 13, 1982, White became the show’s regular hostess and has remained as the show’s daytime hostess.

White’s popularity peaked after the syndicated version of Wheel of Fortune made its debut in September 1983. Her 1987 autobiographyVanna Speaks!, was a best-seller. Also in 1987, she was featured in a Playboy pictorial, showing photos taken of her by her boyfriend (before her career on Wheel of Fortune) wearing see-through lingerie.

In 1988, she appeared in the NBC television film Goddess of Love, in which she playedVenus; fellow game-show personality Betsy Palmer co-starred as Juno. The film was panned universally by critics, with TV Guide joking that White’s acting was “wheely” bad. Film historian Leonard Maltin added that said picture was “…bottom-of-the-barrel yet, on its own terms, a must-see.”

White also has made cameo appearances on television shows such as L.A. Law227Super Mario Bros. Super ShowSimon and Simon, and Full House; and in films such as Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult. She appeared in the supporting role of Doris in the low-budget B-Movie Graduation Day in 1981. She guest-starred on Married…With Children, in a gender-bending parody of the film Indecent Proposal; White had the Robert Redford role, while Al Bundy was in Demi Moore’s. She served as guest timekeeper for Wrestlemania IV. In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized White as “television’s most frequent clapper.” In 1996, she was the main narrator and singer in the CD release of Leslie Bricusse’s “Santa’s Last Ride”. On April 20, 2006, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with Sajak, Griffin, and Alex Trebek as key witnesses.

White dated Playgirl centerfold/Chippendales-dancer-turned-actor John Gibson in the 1980s, and they eventually became engaged. However, in 1986 Gibson was killed in a plane crash. During White’s absence to mourn his death, former hostess Susan Stafford appeared on Wheel of Fortune for a week of episodes.

White married restaurant owner George San Pietro in December 1990, and they divorced in November 2002. To accommodate her wedding, White was absent from Wheel of Fortune for two weeks of episodes that aired in January 1991. Tricia Gist substituted for her. From this marriage, White has two children, a son, Nicholas, born in 1994 and a daughter, Giovanna, born in 1997. From 2004 to 2006, she was engaged to businessman Michael Kaye, senior partner in a large leverage buyout fund based in southern California.

White is a crochet and knitting enthusiast and has a line of yarns called “Vanna’s Choice” through Lion Brand Yarns.

Yolandita Monge (born September 16, 1955) is an international singer and actress from Puerto Rico and the first Puerto Rican female singer to be nominated for the Grammy Music Awards.She has been in the music business since adolescence, and has recorded over thirty albums through her career. She is widely recognized as one of Puerto Rico’s Divas.

Yolandita Monge, was born as Yolanda Rosa Monge Betancourt in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico on September 16, 1955. She is the daughter of Iris Delia Betancourt and Hector Monge. She lived the first seven years of her life in New York City and then came back to Puerto Rico. In the beginning of the 70s, she met the Uruguayan Alfredo Lorenzo, in New York, and married him on November 13, 1975. They had a daughter, Noelia, but the marriage ended. In 1983, she married Venezuelan singer Balbino, whom she met in BugaColombia, and is the father of second daughter Paola. Years later they divorced. On December 31, 1989, Yolandita married Puerto Rican former executive of SBS Radio Broadcast Stations in Puerto Rico., Topy Mamery, who is her manager and father to her only son Imanol.

Monge started out by winning a radio contest in 1966 (at the age of eleven). Later on, she made her TV debut on Luis Vigoreaux’s show, Luis Vigoreaux Presenta. She had a regular section in that show. In 1968, she signed with record label Patty Records, which released her first album, named Puerto Rico’s Poignant… Powerful… Incomparable….

It was “El Estornudo” (“The Sneeze”), and her cover of Italian hit “Vida”’ (“Life”), that made her a national star after she released her first album. At that young age, Yolandita would perform with legendary Argentinian singer Libertad Lamarque and then sing at the Festival De La Canción Nueva York (New York Song Festival). Soon, she found another job on TV, this time on Tommy Muñiz’s show, El Show Del Mediodía.

She followed up with some other hits in Puerto Rico, but then she moved to Mexico, where she signed with TECA records and had hits such as “Vete de Aqui” (“Get Out of Here”), “Dos Caminos Diferentes” (“Two Different Ways”), “Por qué Papá?” (“Why, Dad?”) and “La Voz Del Silencio” (“The Voice of Silence”).

1975 was a big year for Monge because she released a song named “Cierra Los Ojos” (“Close Your Eyes”), which earned her wild fame in such South American countries as ColombiaChile,EcuadorVenezuelaPeru, and Argentina, and also in the Dominican Republic. Yolandita was now an international star.

Soon after, she would be signed by Coco Records of New York, and her career kept going on a steady rise internationally. She sang at the Carnegie Hall and was backed up by her artistic godmother, legendary Argentinian singer and actress, Libertad Lamarque.

More information on Monge’s career

Dayanara Torres Delgado (born October 28, 1974) is a Puerto Rican actress, singer, model, writer and former Miss Universe.

Torres was discovered at age 17 while walking through the Plaza de Toa Alta in her hometown, and was invited to represent Toa Alta in the annual Miss Puerto Rico pageant. She won the pageant and the right to represent Puerto Rico in the 1993 Miss Universe pageant. In 1992, she participated in the Miss International pageant and became a semi-finalist. The same year, she earned second place at the Queen of the World contest.

Torres won the crown in the Miss Universe pageant held in Mexico City on May 21, 1993. Torres’ victory in the pageant caused some controversy because of the claim that she was still a minor; however, Torres had turned 18 several months before the contest. After she won the title, she became an instant superstar in the Philippines. Her victory also raised some eyebrows, as she did not top any of the pageant’s segments. When Torres returned home to Puerto Rico, she was received with a massive parade.

During and after her reign as Miss Universe, she became an ambassador for UNICEF, traveling through Asia and Latin America in support of the organization. She created the Dayanara Torres Foundation which has provided scholarships to poor students in Puerto Rico and the Philippines. In 1994, she went to Manila to crown the new Miss Universe and during the ceremony, she sang “A Whole New World” as a duet with Peabo Bryson.

After the 1994 Miss Universe pageant, Torres landed several movie roles, made television appearances, and received offers to endorse products. She became a celebrity in the Philippines and lived in the country for five years. She also appeared in more than 10 movies, including Hataw Na, a film with Filipino actor and singer Gary Valenciano (who is half-Puerto Rican). During that time, she also filmed Linda Sara (1994), a Puerto Rican film directed byJacobo Morales in which she was paired with fellow Puerto Rican singer, Chayanne. She also became a staple figure on Philippine television every Sunday on the show ASAP Mania, where her dancing skills gained her the informal title “Dancing Queen”.

During her time in the Philippines, Torres learned to speak Tagalog, the main language of the country and she had a four-year relationship with Filipino actor Aga Muhlach, who is now married to Charlene Gonzalez, Miss Universe 1994 top 6 finalist. Torres and Muhlach first met on the set of her first Philippine movie, Basta’t Kasama Kita (As Long As I’m With You) In 1995 she also did the dance movie “Hataw Na!” (Start Dancing!) with fellow Puerto Rican and Filipino O.P.M artist Gary Valenciano in 1998 he starred with Action Star/Game show hostCesar Montano In a comedy action flick Type Kita Walang Kokontra! (You’re My Type, Nobody Can Meddle!) she also became part of the Music Variety Show ASAP (variety show) When it first aired in 1994 as a Host for 5 years as she came in and out of town in 1997–1998 as she came in and out of town in 2007, she visited the Philippines but could not perform due to the fact of schedule conflicts.

In 1995, Dayanara won as Best New Female TV Personality in the 10th PMPC Star Awards for Television, an award night celebration held every year in the Philippines. She was the 1st and only Puerto Rican Female Actress won in a Philippine Awards Night.

Torres returned to Puerto Rico in 1998 and released her only album called Antifaz. It reached the top of Billboard charts in Latin America and the Philippines. She also starred in several theater productions on the island. That same year, a “Dayanara" doll was released and sold out in both Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

On September 1, 2005, Torres debuted in an American soap opera, playing a small role on The Young and the Restless. The program’s producers expressed an interest in future appearances. To date, Torres has not made any other appearances on the show. Torres later starred in Watch Over Me, a MyNetworkTV primetime drama.

On March 6, 2006, Torres had emergency surgery in New York to correct an intestinal obstruction that was detected after she felt pain during a flight from Los Angeles the previous day.

In 2008, Torres was included in People magazine’s "Most Beautiful People” list. During the celebration ceremony, Torres noted that she authored the self-help book “Married to Me” when she failed to find a book to help her with her 2003 separation from Marc Anthony in bookstores.

Torres has two older brothers, José and Joey, and a younger sister, Jeannette. She finished her studies in Colegio Santa Rosa in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, with the intention of going to college to become an orthodontist.

Torres married singer Marc Anthony on May 9, 2000 in Las Vegas. They have two sons, Cristian Anthony Muñiz (5 February 2001) and Ryan Anthony Muñiz (16 August 2003). Their marriage was rocky, and they separated in the summer of 2002. They later reconciled and renewed their vows in a spectacular ceremony held in Puerto Rico in December 2002. The couple’s final separation was in October 2003 and Torres filed for divorce in January 2004. In 2003, a Miami waitress filed paternity charges against Anthony. Multiple DNA-tests, the last in August 2004, disproved her claims.

Torres has been linked to professional actor Amaury Nolasco.

Happy birthday, Marquita Rivera!

Marquita Rivera (May 18, 1922 – October 21, 2002), a.k.a. “Queen of Latin Rhythm”, was a Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer.

Dubbed the “Queen of La Conga”, “Queen of Latin Rhythm” and “Latin Hurricane” during various stages of her career, Rivera, went on to enjoy a strong musical career both in the United States and in her native Puerto Rico.

Born Maria Heroina Rivera de Santiago in FajardoPuerto Rico, she was the youngest in a family of seven sons and five daughters. The de Santiagos moved to New York City when Rivera was a young child and it was there that she started a musical career. Studying dance and flamenco at an early age (6), she originally studied with Rita Hayworth’s father, Eduardo Cansino. Rita herself gave Rivera a set of castanets as a gift.

A childhood friend of bandleader Tito Puente, Rivera, accompanied by her costume designer mother, went on to earn a featured role as a dancer with “George White’s Scandals of 1936”, but it was her performance before King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the 1939 New York World’s Fair during their respective royal visits in 1939 that she considered the highlight of her nascent career. She also toured BostonChicago and Philadelphia in bands headed by Paul Whiteman and Noro Morales. Appearing in many New York venues, including The Apollo, Roxy, Paramount, Loews State, Strand and Radio City Music Hall, Rivera shared their stages with [(Ella Fitzgeald)}, Frank SinatraMickey RooneyAnn MillerDean Martin and Jerry LewisKathryn GraysonVictor BorgeEd SullivanMerv Griffin and Betty Hutton.

Rivera put together her own show and performed it at the Latin Quarter (nightclub) and Havana-Madrid in New York. She was also a marquee name back in her homeland where she entertained at venues such as Zero’s Nightclub and El San Juan Theatre. In the mid-1940s Rivera was signed by Azteca Studios in Mexico City. She acted for director Fernando Solerin both the film drama Me perigue una mujer (1947) with Jose Torvay and David Silva, and the comedy El Conquistador (1947), also starring Torvay and Enrique Herrera.

After her contract ended at Azteca, Rivera went on to sign a Hollywood contract with a Paramount Pictures, and made her American movie debut as lead singer and specialty performer in the Hope-Crosby-Lamour comedy The Road to Rio (1947). Rivera was selected (in a popularity poll by Mexican filmgoers themselves) to star in a Hollywood film biography of the late Mexican spitfire Lupe Vélez. The film was shelved when legal issues involving Ms.Vélez’s estate arose. She continued to work in “hot spots” such as the famous Ciro’s nightclub with Desi Arnaz’s band.

In 1948, Marquita Rivera was honored with the Key to the City of San Juan by Mayoress Felisa de Rincon, for her achievements on Broadway, Mexico, and in Hollywood. Today she is being honored with a huge event in Puerto Rico …November 29, 30 and Dec 1. Marquita Rivera will be given some special honors: a proclamation given by the Senators and House of Representatives of Puerto Rico and then a separate Award by all the Mayors of Puerto Rico to commemorate her achievements as one of the first Latin/American actresses. This was all made possible by Eugene Biscardi, a widely-known photographer and one of The Latin Queen’s sons.

Rivera was married to business tycoon Albert Vernon Ashbrook from 1946 to 1949 and had one child, Marquita, her namesake. In 1951, she married physician Eugene N. Biscardi II in New York City. They eventually became a family of seven children. Of their children, eldest son Eugene Biscardi III is a one-time model-turned-fashion photographer who has appeared occasionally as an actor on film and TV, and daughter Jessica Biscardi is a former model/actress and former “Miss New York”.

By the 1950s, Rivera had phased out her career in order to concentrate on raising her large family. In 1963, however, she made a special appearance at Carnegie Hall that featured an all-star lineup, including opera performers Thomas Hayward, Rina Telli, Dino Formichini and James Boxwill, led by Philharmonic conductor Warner S. Bass. She did not appear again publicly until 1977 when she returned to the stage in a limited engagement of her own off-Broadway revue, “The Marquita Rivera Show”.

In the 1980s her husband, Dr. Biscardi, retired and the couple relocated to Los Angeles where Rivera would occasionally make TV appearances, including “Sanford” with Redd Foxx. She also traveled frequently throughout the South on the beauty pageant circuit as a judge. Following the death of her husband in 1988, Rivera chose to retire completely from the limelight.

On October 21 in 2002, Rivera died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, California after suffering a stroke. She is survived by her 7 children - daughters Marquita Press, Jessica Biscardi-Wolford and Lucrezia Silver, and sons Eugene Biscardi III, Louis Biscardi, Robert Biscardi and Joseph Biscardi, as well as 17 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

Happy birthday, Sylvia del Villard!

Sylvia del Villard (February 28, 1928-February 28, 1990), was an actress, dancer, choreographer and Afro-Puerto Rican activist.

Del Villard was born in Santurce, a section of San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a young child, Del Villard would entertain her parents, Agustin and Marcoline Del Villard, with her dances. Her family considered her very talented and she was also a good student at school. She received her primary and secondary education in Santurce and when she graduated from high school the government of Puerto Rico awarded her with a scholarship to attend college.

Del Villard studied Sociology and Anthropology at Fisk University in Tennessee. However, Del Villard had to deal with the anti-black discrimination which was rampant in the southern regions of the United States at that time. She returned to Puerto Rico and enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico where she earned her degree.

Upon graduating, Del Villard traveled to New York City and enrolled in the City College of New York. It was during this period that she was to develop a passion and love for Africa. She joined the song and ballet group called the “Africa House”. She was also able to trace her African roots to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Del Villard took dance and voice lessons with Leo Braun at the Metropolitan Opera.

Among the theater productions in which Del Villard has participated in Puerto Rico and abroad are: La Muerte (Death), La Tempestad (The Storm) and Let My People Go. She danced as a bailarina in the following American productions: Valley Without EchoWitches of SalemThe BoyfriendThe Crucible and Kwamina. In Puerto Rico she joined the Afro-Boricua Ballet. With the ballet she participated in the following Afro-Puerto Rican productions, Palesiana y Aquelarre and Palesianisima.

In 1968, she founded the Afro-Boricua El Coqui Theater, which was recognized by the Panamerican Association of the New World Festival as the most important authority of Black Puerto Rican culture. The Theater group were given a contract which permitted them to present their act in other countries and in various universities in the United States.

Del Villard’s favorite poet was Luis Palés Matos. In 1970, she established a theater/school in San Juan and named it after him. However, it wasn’t long before she closed the theater because of the continuous complaints she received from her neighbors. Although many, including herself, felt the complaints were politically motivated and marked the beginning of a voluntary exile that eventually brought her to Hollywood, California.

She moved back to New York where she founded a new theater group which she named Sininke. She made many presentations in the Museum of Natural History in that city. In 1981, she became the first and only director of the office of the Afro-Puerto Rican affairs of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. She was known to be an outspoken activist who fought for the equal rights of the Black Puerto Rican artist.

In 1989 in California, Del Villard was diagnosed with lung cancer and returned to the island to receive treatment for her condition. Sylvia del Villard died on February 28, 1990 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In 1993, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico produced a musical with the participation of many noted artists titled Ocho Puertas: Un Especial para la historia (Eight Doors: A Historical Special), which paid tribute to Del Villard among other artists. In the East Village of New York City, there is the Sylvia Del Villard Program of the Roberto Clemente Center, a Spanish day treatment program named after her. In Chicago, there is a Sylvia Del Villard Hall at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.