Hector Elizondo Biography

Hector Elizondo photo

Born: December 22, 1936


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 major leagues.

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 God—in the guise of a Puerto Rican steam room attendant—in 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). More recently, he lent his voice to the animated film The Book of Life (2014).

Now a grandfather, Elizondo's hobbies include Kendo (a type of Japanese fencing), playing the guitar, singing, and playing the bongos.

Change Location