Award-winning actor Esai Morales is a graduate of New York's High School for the Performing Arts. He was born in Brooklyn, to Puerto Rican parents, and began his acting career on the stage, first appearing in El Hermano at the Ensemble Theatre Studio and at New York's Shakespeare Festival In The Park in The Tempest. He had his feature film debut in Bad Boys and his breakthrough role as Bob Morales in La Bamba made him a star, contributing to making the film the most commercially successful Latino-themed Rock biopic of all time.
In 1997 Esai Morales co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, created to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries. The NHFA has provided scholarships to hundreds of Hispanic students in excess of 1 million dollars. Theater performances include Oscar Wilde's Salome with Al Pacino (Broadway) Joe Papp's production of The Tempest with Raul Julia (New York's Shakespeare in the Park Festival) Tamer of Horses (Los Angeles Theater Center) The Exonerated, directed by Bob Balaban and his musical theater debut on The Mambo Kings. Film credits include Bad Boys, La Bamba, Rapa Nui, Mi Familia, Fast Food Nation, Paid in Full, The Line, Atlas Shrugged: Part II, Jarhead II: Field of Fire, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca and Gun Hill Road a film he starred and executive produced. The film was a grand Jury Nominee at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011. Television credits comprise the Emmy award-winning series NYPD BLUE (ABC) Resurrection Blvd (Showtime) American Family (PBS) Miami Vice (NBC) Fame (NBC) Law and Order: SVU (NBC) The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story (HBO) Vanished (FOX) Burn Notice (USA) Jericho (CBS) Caprica (Syfy) Fairly Legal (USA) Criminal Minds (CBS) Major Crimes (TNT) and Saving Westbrook High. Morales plays the role of President of The United States on The Brink, HBO's dark comedy about a geopolitical crisis.