Rosario Dawson (born
Dawson was born and raised in New York City to a father of Native American and Irish descent and a mother of Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban ancestry. Her film career began unexpectedly when filmmaker Larry Clark saw her on a Manhattan street and asked her to be in a movie he was making. The movie, Kids, became a critical success and Dawson's performance was commended.
As a result, Dawson decided to pursue an acting career and attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Dawson has worked steadily since her debut, with her performances often singled out for praise. To date, she has worked with such critically acclaimed directors as Oliver Stone, Robert Rodriguez, and Spike Lee, and costarred with the likes of Will Smith, Edward Norton, and Clive Owen.
New York born and bred beauty Rosario Dawson landed her first film role in Larry Clark's controversial "Kids" (1995) after being discovered by the director while hanging out near her East Village tenement home. The unseasoned performer played Ruby in the film, a free-speaking s--ually promiscuous teen who gets tested for HIV after engaging in extensive risky behavior. "Kids" was both praised and derided for its depiction of American urban youth, and the controversy resulted in the young actress winning a much larger audience for her acting bow than was expected. Her turn was appropriately chilling, although it was the dark-haired, wide-eyed fifteen-year-old's uncommonly striking and unsettlingly attractive appearance that would separate her from the rest of the cast.
Dawson made the most of her opportunity in "Kids" and pursued an acting career.
Her next major role was that of Lala in Spike Lee's "He Got Game" (1998). Here
she played a bewitching but opportunistic girlfriend to uncommonly talented
basketball player Jesus (Ray Allen), eager to get her share of his potential
fame and wealth. Dawson could also be seen that year in the episodic comedy
"Side Streets", playing a Puerto Rican Bronx native with relationship problems
in this New York City-set feature looking at people in each of the city's five
boroughs. In 1999, Dawson teamed up with Prince for his timely re-release of his
1980s hit "1999". This remixed version featured the actress in an introductory
voiceover, offering commentary on the state of the world in the titular year.
Later in 1999, she was featured in the New York City high school hostage drama
"Light It Up", playing a brainy, cool-headed student encouraging moderation in
the explosive situation. 2000 saw her with a supporting role as flaky party girl
Lana in the disappointing romantic comedy "Down to You".
Dawson's career was certainly on the ascent. She landed a co-starring role in the Edward Burns romantic comedy "Sidewalks of New York" (2000) and was also cast as Valerie in the live-action adaptation of "Josie and the Pussycats" (2001). In 2002, Dawson was involved in saving the world in the summer sequel hit "Men In Black II". She replaced Halle Berry as the female lead of the long-delayed futuristic comedy "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" opposite Eddie Murphy and ended the year co-starring in Spike Lee's crime drama "The 25th Hour." Her best role came when she was cast alongside The Rock and Seann William Scott in the crowd-pleasing action-comedy-buddy flick "The Rundown" (2003), serving as the love interest for the stars' combative characters, and the actress's fiery depiction of Alexander the Great's hellcat wife Roxanne (and her erotic if violently charged n--- scenes) were among the best elements of Oliver Stone's bloated would-be epic "Alexander" (2004).
As the neice of a professional cartoonist, Dawson was naturally drawn to appear in director Robert Rodriguez and writer-artist Frank Miller's visually arresting adaptation of Miller's crime noir comic book series "Sin City" (2005), playing the dominatrix prostitute/"warrior woman" Gail in "The Big Fat Kill" sequence, gleefully mowing down the enemies of Old Town's hookers with automatic weapons while still looking fabulous in lingerie.
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