Date of Birth: December 22, 1936
Growing up on the edge of Harlem with his younger sister Emma, father and
Puerto Rican mother, Elizondo attended a boys' choir at the age of 10 and
performed for local radio and television stations. While in high school he
took voice lessons, but also excelled in baseball and was scouted by the
However, Elizondo decided to become a history teacher and enrolled at the
City College of New York. He also studied dance at the Ballet Arts Company
at Carnegie Hall. When he suffered a knee injury, he turned to acting
instead, establishing himself as a versatile stage actor, winning an Obie
for his performance as Godin the guise of a Puerto Rican steam room attendantin the off-Broadway comedy, Steambath (1971). He also
earned additional recognition in Sly Fox and Volpone.
After two failed marriages Hector continued acting, and met actress Carolee Campbell, a star on the NBC soap The Doctors, at the Actor's Studio.
They were hitched in 1969 and have been happily married ever since.
During the late '60s, Elizondo made his first feature film bow and has been in over 80 movies and TV-movies since. This bald, gap-toothed character actor has played everything from a Mexican bandit in Valdez Is
Coming (1971), a psychopathic killer in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), a dogged detective in The Fan (1981), a middle-class family man in The Flamingo Kid (1984), to an
incorruptible football coach in Necessary Roughness (1991).
Elizondo has also been a favorite of director Garry Marshall who has cast him in at least 12 of his movies including Pretty Woman (1990), for
which Elizondo earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor; Dear God (1996); The Other Sister (1999); Runaway Bride
(1999) and The Princess Diaries (2001).
Elizondo has also made his mark in television through the years. Among his extensive credits, the high point would be his avuncular D.A. on Foley
Square, with the low being Captain Renault in the David Soul version of Casablanca (1983). He copped a rare starring role in the 1992
miniseries The Burden of Proof. He also played a leading role in the CBS medical drama, Chicago Hope from the mid-'90s to 2000. His role as Dr. Phillip Watters earned him five Emmy award nominations (winning one). He has even taken a stab at directing episodes of the series. Since then, he has played regular roles in three more weekly TV series: the CBS hour-long drama Kate Brasher (2001); the ABC sci-fi drama Miracles (2003); and the CBS sci-fi series Century City (2004).
Now a grandfather, Elizondo's hobbies include Kendo (a type of Japanese fencing), playing the guitar, singing, and playing the bongos.