This native New Yorker was discovered by director Larry Clark while hanging out near her Lower East Side home. The adolescent acting novice made her debut in Kids
, Clark's controversial 1995 film about teenagers and HIV, but she didn't hit the mainstream until the '00s, when she landed a string of supporting roles in high-profile films (Spike Lee's 25th Hour
, Men in Black II
, the big-screen adaptation of Josie and the Pussycats
) while managing to remain an indie darling with parts in more alternative fare (Chelsea Walls
, Love in the Time of Money
). She found even more success in 2005 with a sexually charged, leather-clad turn in the neo-noir Sin City
and a lead role in the film adaptation of the musical Rent
, which allowed her to show off her surprisingly strong vocal chops. After branching out with a musical, Dawson covered more new territory in 2008 when she began starring in the online sci-fi series Gemini Division
. The sci-fi genre was by no means foreign to her, though, as she's a self-admitted huge Star Trek
fan. Dawson is also a fan of taking action and speaking out for causes she believes in: In 2004 she cofounded Voto Latino, which encourages people to vote; and in 2009 she was a keynote speaker at a Washington, D.C., conference about preventing violence against women.Rosario Dawson Fast Facts:
- Describes her ethnicity as black, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Irish and Native American.
- Studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City.
- Contributed to the voice-over commentary on the remix of Prince's hit "1999" when she was 20.
- Replaced Halle Berry in the 2002 film The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
- Took guitar lessons from Joshua Jackson and Eddie Murphy.
- Was arrested outside the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004 while filming a scene for the film This Revolution when she refused to get out of the street.
- Cofounded Voto Latino, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that encourages people to vote.
- Made her stage debut in 2005 in the Public Theater's revival of the 1971 musical Two Gentlemen of Verona in Central Park.
- Returned to her roots for the movie musical Rent (2005), set on Manhattan's Lower East Side (the neighborhood in which she grew up).
- Was a keynote speaker at the 2009 National Conference on the Primary Prevention of Men's Violence Against Women in Washington, D.C.
- Rosario Dawson Relationships:
- Mathieu Schreyer - Ex-significant Other
- Danny Boyle - Ex-significant Other
- Jason Lewis - Ex-significant Other
- Isabel Dawson - Mother
- Clay - Brother
- Rosario Dawson Awards:
- 2006 Sundance Film Festival: Dramatic Special Jury Award: Best Ensemble Performance - Winner