Rosario Dawson (born May 9, 1979) is
an American actress and singer. She has appeared in films such as Men in
Black II, Sin City, Clerks II, Rent, Death Proof, The Rundown, Eagle Eye,
and Seven Pounds.
Dawson was born in New York City, the daughter of Isabel, a plumber of
Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban descent, and Greg Dawson, a construction
worker of Native American and Irish descent. Dawson's parents were 15
years old when she was born. Dawson has one younger brother, Clay (b.
1983). When Isabel was 21, she broke into an abandoned building on the
Lower East Side of Manhattan, where she and her husband installed plumbing
and electrical wiring, in order to turn the building into a squat in which
Rosario would grow up. Dawson cites this when explaining how she learned
"if you wanted something better, you had to do it yourself." Her parents
divorced while she was in elementary school.
As a child, Rosario made a brief appearance on Sesame Street. She was
subsequently "discovered" on her front porch step by photographer Larry
Clark and Harmony Korine, where Harmony lauded her with praise as being
perfect for a part he had written in his screenplay that would become the
controversial 1995 film Kids. She went on to star in varied roles, ranging
from independent films to big-budget blockbusters including Rent, He Got
Game, and Men in Black II.
In 1999, Dawson teamed up with Prince for the re-release of his 1980s hit
"1999". The new remixed version featured the actress in an introductory
voice over, offering commentary on the state of the world in the year
before the new millennium. The same year, she appeared in The Chemical
Brothers' video for the song "Out of Control" from the album Surrender.
She is also featured on the track "She Lives In My Lap" from the second
disc of the OutKast album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in which she speaks
the intro and a brief interlude towards the end.
Dawson starred as "Naturelle," the love interest of a convicted drug
dealer played by Edward Norton, in the 2002 Spike Lee film drama, 25th
Hour. In the 2004 Oliver Stone film Alexander, she played the bride of
Alexander the Great, which featured her in a fully nude sex scene. In the
autumn of 2005, Dawson appeared on stage as Julia in the Public Theater's
"Shakespeare in the Park" revival of Two Gentlemen of Verona. In the film
adaptation of the popular musical Rent in 2005, she played the exotic
dancer Mimi Marquez, replacing the original Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega, who
was pregnant and unable to play the part. She also appeared in the
adaptation of the graphic novel Sin City, co-directed by Robert Rodriguez
and Frank Miller where she played Gail, a prostitute-dominatrix. Also in
that year, she appeared in a graphically violent scene in the Rob Zombie
film The Devil's Rejects. Though the scene was cut from the final film, it
is available in the deleted scenes on the DVD release.
She starred as Becky in 2006's Clerks II, and mentioned in Back to the
Well, the making-of documentary, that the donkey show sequence was what
made her decide to take the role. In May of the same year, Dawson, an avid
comic book fan, co-created the comic book miniseries Occult Crimes
Taskforce. She was at the 2007 Comic-Con to promote the comic. She
co-starred with former Rent alum Tracie Thoms in the Quentin Tarantino
throwback movie Death Proof in 2007, part of the Tarantino/Robert
Rodriguez double feature Grind House. She teamed up with friend Talia
Lugacy, whom she met at the Lee Strasberg Academy, to produce and star in
Descent. On July 7, 2007, Dawson presented at the American leg of Live
In 2008, Dawson starred with Will Smith in Seven Pounds and in the Steven
Spielberg produced Eagle Eye. Beginning in August, she starred in Gemini
Division, an online-based TV series. In the computer animated series
Afterworld she voiced the character Officer Delondre Baines. On January
17, 2009, Dawson hosted Saturday Night Live. Later in the year, she voiced
the character of Artemis in the animated Wonder Woman film.
For the Kasabian album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, she is featured
singing on the track, "West Ryder Silver Bullet."
In 2010, she starred in the movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The
Lightning Thief as Persephone.
Dawson dated former Sex and the City star Jason Lewis for two years. They
lived together in Los Angeles until they separated in November 2006. She
has also been rumored to have dated Dawson's Creek star Joshua Jackson. In
December 2008, Dawson confirmed on the Tonight Show that she had been
dating an international DJ that she met at a French cafe.
Dawson is involved with the Lower East Side Girls Club and supports other
charities such as environmental group Global Cool, the ONE Campaign,
Oxfam, Amnesty International, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians
and Gays, Stay Close.org (a poster and public service ad campaign for
PFLAG where she is featured with her uncle Frank Jump), International
Rescue Committee, and Voto Latino, and she participated in the Vagina
Monologues. She attended both the Democratic National Convention as well
as the Republican National Convention in 2008. In October 2008, Dawson
became a spokesman for TripAdvisor.com’s philanthropy program, More Than
Footprints, involving Conservation International, Doctors Without Borders,
National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Save The
Children. Also in October 2008, she lent her voice to the RESPECT!
Campaign, a movement aimed at preventing domestic violence. She recorded a
voice message for the Giverespect.org Web site stressing the importance of
respect in helping stop domestic violence.