Rosario Dawson

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3 mins read

Rosario Isabel Dawson was born May 9, 1979 and is an American actress. 

She was born in New York City. Her mother, Isabel Celeste, is of Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican ancestry. Isabel was 16 or 17 years old when Rosario was born; she never married Rosario’s biological father, Patrick C. Harris. When Rosario was a year old, her mother married Greg Dawson, a construction worker.

Isabel and Greg moved into a reclaimed building on 544 East 13th Street after being approved as members of an affordable housing plan. The family later moved to Texas.

As a child, Dawson made a brief appearance on Sesame Street. At the age of 15, she was discovered on her front-porch step by photographer Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, where Korine lauded her 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 RentHe Got Game, and Men in Black II.

In 1998, 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 next to last year before the new millennium. The following 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 introduction and a brief interlude towards the end.

In 2001, she appeared in the movie Josie and the Pussycats as band member Valerie Brown.

Dawson starred as Naturelle Rivera, 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. 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. It was her first appearance on stage.

In the film adaptation of the popular musical Rent in 2005, she played the exotic dancer Mimi Marquez, replacing Daphne Rubin-Vega, who was pregnant and unable to play the part. She also appeared in the adaptation of the graphic novel Sin City.

She starred as Becky in 2006’s Clerks II. In May of the same year, Dawson, an avid comic book fan, co-created and co-wrote the comic-book miniseries Occult Crimes Taskforce. She was at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con to promote the comic. She co-starred with former Rent alumna Tracie Thoms in the Quentin Tarantino throwback movie Death Proof in 2007, part of the Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse. She teamed up with friend Talia Lugacy, whom she met at the Lee Strasberg Academy, to produce and star in Descent. In July 2007, Dawson presented at the American leg of Live Earth.

In 2008, Dawson starred with Will Smith in Seven Pounds and in Eagle Eye, produced by Steven Spielberg. Beginning in August, she starred in Gemini Division, an online science-fiction series. In the computer-animated series Afterworld, she voiced Officer Delondre Baines. Later in 2009, Dawson voiced Artemis of Bana-Mighdall in the animated film Wonder Woman.

In 2009, Dawson performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. In 2009, Dawson also voiced the character of Velvet Von Black in Rob Zombie’s animated feature, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. 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 movies Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, as Persephone, and Unstoppable, as railway yardmaster Connie. In 2013, she played Apple’s mother in the independent film Gimme Shelter. The following year, she reprised her role as Gail in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. In 2015, she played Claire Temple in the Netflix web television series Daredevil, a role which she reprised in Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Dawson’s likeness was also used in the Jessica Jones tie-in comic as her character on both shows. Dawson has continued this role in 2017 in Iron Fist and The Defenders. In 2018, she played the female lead role in the Netflix movie, Krystal. In 2020, she replaced Ashley Eckstein as the Star Wars character Ahsoka Tano in the second season of The Mandalorian on Disney+. She will also reprise the role in the spinoff limited series, Ahsoka.

Dawson is involved with the Lower East Side Girls Club and supports other charities such as environmental group Global Cool, One Campaign, Operation USA, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the International Rescue Committee, Voto Latino, and Stay Close.org, a poster and public service advertising campaign for PFLAG, where she is featured with her uncle Frank Jump. She has participated in the Vagina Monologues (she refers to her vagina as “The General”) and serves on the board for V-Day, a global nonprofit movement that raises funds for women’s antiviolence groups through benefits of this play.

In October 2008, Dawson became a spokeswoman for TripAdvisor.com’s philanthropy program, More Than Footprints, 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. In 2012, Dawson partnered with SodaStream International in launching the first annual Unbottle the World Day, a campaign conceived in an effort to raise awareness to the impact of cans and plastic bottles on the environment.