A tough and slightly surly character actor most at home in ethnically oriented Hollywood roles, John Ortiz often found himself cast as nefarious hoods and toughs. Ortiz landed one of his earliest assignments with a 1992 guest appearance on Law & Order, then branched out into A-list supporting roles in such features as Carlito's Way (1993), Ransom (1996), Piñero (2001), and Miami Vice (2006). Ortiz essayed two extremely different cinematic assignments in 2007: a part in the Ridley Scott-directed period crime drama American Gangster and one in the sci-fi-horror opus Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- In 1992, cofounded Latino Actors Base in response to the Broadway debut of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden—a play set in South America that had no Latino actors in its cast; the group's name was later changed to LAByrinth Theater Company when it expanded to include non-Latino members.
- Made Broadway debut in Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Anna in the Tropics in 2003.
- Won an OBIE Award for References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot and received Drama Desk nominations for Jack Goes Boating and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train.
- Played Othello opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago and Jessica Chastain as Desdemona in an off-Broadway production of Othello in 2009.