Early life, family, educational background
Puerto Rican Actor David Zayas was born on August 15, 1962 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Growing up in The Bronx, New York City, USA, he dreamed of acting since he was 13.
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He and his cousins went to the cinema and watched Al Pacino’s 1975 film, “Dog Day Afternoon” – he sat in the front row while his cousins sat in the back of the cinema with their girlfriends. In a 2015 interview with Danny Hajek for NPR, David recalled watching the film: “I was fascinated. This was the art that appealed to me.’ He added that it was just a dream for him though. He grew up in the Bronx in a working-class family; his father was a plumbing guy, so he knew his chances of becoming an actor were slim.
David said when he first expressed his desire to his father, “He looked at me as if I was thinking outside the reality of where we were… And I respected my father. He was a good man, and he was a good father…” He felt discouraged, so he pushed aside his dreams and didn’t commit to chasing them.
The personal life of the family
David’s wife, actress and playwright Liza Colón-Zayas, was born in 1972 in The Bronx. Her career began as an off-Broadway actress, when she wrote, starred, and produced a one-woman show, “Sistah Supreme,” which was loosely based on her life as a Latina woman in the 1970s and 80s living in New York. York lived. . This play helped her break into mainstream theater. Since 1992 she has been a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company.
She was the original actress in the off-Broadway production of “Our Lady of 121”st Street” as Norca. She appeared in “In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings,” directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and co-starred Ana Ortiz, listed as one of the ten best plays of 1999 by Time Out New York.
She has appeared in several television series, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” as Detective Maria Baez’s sister, Ana Baez in “Stomping Grounds,” in “Sex and the City” in episode 124 of “Blue Bloods,” and in season 5, episodes 7 and 8 of “Dexter”, she appeared as a snitch for the detectives investigating the Santa Muerte murders.
She played a passenger in the 2006 movie “United 93”; in 2008 as judge Angel Rodriguez in “Righteous Kill”; and as Dawn in 2016’s horror, “The Purge: Election Year.”
When David was 19, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and then spent nearly 15 years with the New York Police Department as a police officer. His real-life experience helped him portray police officers in most of his later film and television work, as well as occasionally playing criminals.
He entered the world of entertainment after witnessing a Broadway performance of “A Few Good Men” while signing up for acting classes with Ernie Martin during his off hours. He didn’t share his extracurricular activities with his colleagues, but his partner knew. In an interview with NPR, he said: “I remember sitting in the car with him on the night shifts, and he joined me for my audition the next day… he was a pretty good actor, so it was a good time .’
In 1992, he joined a New York City-based touring acting group, the LAByrinth Theater Company, along with John Ortiz and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. While part of the troupe, he appeared in numerous productions, including “Jesus Hopped the “A” Train” and “In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings.”
He had appeared in 30 plays when he was cast in the HBO series “Oz”, after being discovered by Tom Fontana. However, his love for the theater never faded – in 2003 he appeared in “Anna in the Tropics”, a Broadway production at the Royal Theater, and in “The Little Flower of East Orange”, in April 2008, produced by the studio and directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
In 2000 he started with to play his first recurring role as Rei Morales in ‘The Beat’. The show followed two uniformed police officers as they went through their daily routines, but was short-lived. He got the part after the creators saw him perform one night and decided that he should have a more prominent role in the series than the one he auditioned for. “From there, I built a relationship with Tom Fontana, who wrote and produced ‘Oz’ on HBO.”
He played Enrique Morales in the HBO prison drama ‘Oz’ and considers this role to be his big break. The show aired from 1997 and David joined in 2000 until 2003 when the series ended. Between 2002 and 2003, he often guest-starred in ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’, ‘Guiding Light’ and ‘Law & Order’.
From 2006 to 2013, he played Dexter Morgan’s colleague and friend, Angel Batista, in “Dexter”, with Michael C. Hall in the Showtime crime thriller drama about a forensic technician living a double life as a serial killer – from 2009 to 2012, David was jointly nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and personally won the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film. Along with Erik King, Luna Lauren Velez, and Scott William Winters, he was one of four cast members to appear in both “Oz” and “Dexter,” but was the only actor on the show who was an actual police officer.
David played Ryan Hardy’s best friend, Tyson Hernandez, a retired FBI agent in “The Following,” then appeared in the Fox drama series episode “Guilt,” and from 2014 to 2015 played Don Salvatore Maroni in the Fox Batman. prequel series “Gotham.”
From 2017 to 2019, he played New York Governor Martin Mendez in “Blue Bloods”, and in 2018 he was Charlie in the episode entitled “Hell’s Gate” of the series “Quantico”.
He has made several crime dramas throughout his career. In 1996, he played Paco Martinez in the episode “New York Undercover” titled “The Enforcers”; as Joaquin Enriquez in a 2000 episode of “NYPD Blue” in the episode titled “These Shoots Are Made for Joaquin”; in 2012 as hotel manager Ernie Trask, in the episode “Super” of “Person of Interest”; and in 2018, he appeared in “Chicago PD” as Carlos Mendoza in the episode “Endings”.
In 1997 he played Jorge in ‘Lena’s Dreams’; a cop, Osborne in 1998’s “Scar City”; another agent in 1999’s “Bringing Out the Dead”; and again as Billy in 2001’s “Sam the Man.” In 2006, he played a corrupt cop, Detective Robert Torres in “16 Blocks,” and the following year NYPD detective Dalberto in “Michael Clayton,” which was a huge commercial success. and received numerous awards.
He appeared in three films in 2010 – as Bill in “Shadowboxing”, an independent film that was screened on the film festival circuit; as General Garza in Sylvester Stallone’s feature film, “The Expendables”, which Sylvester directed, and was a huge commercial success, earning over $270 million on an $80 million budget, despite reviews being mostly negative. David also played Oliver in The Brother’s Strause movie “Skyline”.
He played a sociable bodega owner named Lou in the 2014 remake of the family musical, “Annie” – his character is deeply in love with Miss. Hannigan, played by Cameron Diaz, helps her learn self-love. The Will Gluck-directed film was a commercial success, despite receiving mostly negative reviews.
In 2016 he played Detective Richards in ‘Tallulah’ and in 2020 Sgt. Kesper in ‘BodyCam’.
During his twenties, he married for the first time, but divorced when he was in his late twenties – nothing is known about his wife.
He met his second wife, Liza Colón-Zayas, in LAByrinth. They married on November 21, 1998 and have a son, David Zayas Jr.
David has black hair and dark brown eyes. He is 1.8 m tall.
Wealth and salary
David’s net worth is estimated at over $4 million, as of mid-2020.