Michael Peña Biography

Michael Peña photo

Born: January 13, 1976

Born and raised in Chicago, Michael Peña began his acting career in the low budget film Running Free (1994), which never made it to theaters. His first big break came when he beat out hundreds of others in an open call for a role in Peter Bogdanovich's TV movie To Sir, with Love II (1996), starring Sidney Poitier.

Although he hasn't acquired household name status (yet), Michael has worked steadily ever since, amassing an impressive number of television and movie credits.

On television, he's made guest appearances on shows such as Touched by an Angel, The Sentinel, 7th Heaven, Felicity, Roswell, ER, NYPD Blue and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and played a regular role as Detective Armando Renta on The Shield.

His films include Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) starring Nicolas Cage, Buffalo Soldiers (2001) with Joaquin Phoenix, The United States of Leland (2003) with Ryan Gosling, Million Dollar Baby (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, Babel (2006) with Brad Pitt and The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) starring Matthew McConaughey.

For his work in the Oscar-winning film Crash (2004), Michael won a Best Actor Award at the 2006 ALMA Awards. In Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, he garnered a starring role as Will Jimeno, one of two Port Authority police officers who were trapped under the rubble at Ground Zero in New York City on 9/11.

Michael then played a police officer opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch (2012), which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. He also starred in the highly-anticipated crime drama Gangster Squad (2013) alongside Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn, followed by the war drama Fury (2014), played Luis in the animated film Ant-Man (2015), and Rick in the space drama The Martian (2015).

He went on to appear opposite Will Smith, Kate Winslet, and Edward Norton in the drama Collateral Beauty (2016) and opposite Dax Shepard in the comedy CHiPS (2017).

He reprised his role as Luis in the sequel, Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) and played Dora's father in the family adventure film, Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019).

Most recently, Michael took on the role originated by Ricardo Montalban in the 1970s family TV series, Fantasy Island, that of Mr. Roarke, the host of the island where people can have their fantasies come true. However, the updated movie version, Fantasy Island (2020), is a horror film in which people come to regret what they asked for as a fantasy dream come true when everything is turned around and becomes a nightmare instead.

Michael makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife, Brie, and their young son.

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