Born and raised in the Bronx, Puerto Rican character actress Rachel Ticotin often appears as a police officer, prison guard, or other strong female with a physically demanding job. Ticotin learned to discipline her body while training as a ballet dancer with the Ballet Hispanico of New York. She made her film debut as a dancer in the 1978 film King of the Gypsies. During the late '70s, she worked as a production assistant on various films and acted off-Broadway. One of her stage credits includes Miguel Piñero's The Sun Always Shines for the Cool.
In 1981, she appeared opposite Paul Newman in the feature film Fort Apache, the Bronx. She then moved to television for regular roles on the NBC military drama For Love and Honor (1983) and the ABC crime drama O'Hara (1987). Other television projects included Prison Stories: Women on the Inside (1991), Crime & Punishment (1993), and Gargoyles (1994). On the big screen she appeared in Critical Condition (1986), Where the Day Takes You (1992), and Falling Down (1993). However, she might be best known for her role in the sci-fi action film Total Recall (1990), in which she gets to fight Sharon Stone. In 1997, she earned an ALMA award for her role as a prison guard in Con Air. After her divorce from actor David Caruso, she married actor Peter Strauss and took a few years off to raise her daughter. In 2002, she played Vangie Gonzalez Taylor in Gregory Nava's PBS series American Family. The next year, Ticotin appeared in the feature film Something's Gotta Give and joined the cast of the FOX series Skin as Judge Laura Roame, wife of DA Thomas Roame (Kevin Anderson) and mother of Adam Roame (D.J. Cotrona). Projects for 2004 include Tony Scott's feature film Man on Fire.