Laz Alonso readily comes to mind when questions are asked about individuals whose first career paths led them into another career. With a flair for acting right from his childhood, Alonso pursued a brief career as a businessman on Wall Street before he diverted and went fully into acting. He has since grown his acting career with notable roles in hit movies like Avatar and Fast & Furious.
Alonso made a name for himself, getting named by Variety Magazine as one the Top Ten Actors to watch out for in 2009. For his acting, he got awarded a 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. He is also an advocate for the empowerment of single mothers.
Quick Facts About Laz Alonso
The actor was born and named Lazaro Alonso on March 25, 1974, in Washington, D.C. Born to Afro-Cuban parents, he is of mixed heritage and is also bilingual in English and Spanish. Alonso’s father passed away when he was very young, leading to his mother raising him singlehandedly. At a young age, he already had a passion for acting, spending a good part of his childhood entertaining family and friends with his imitations and mimicry. Though specific details aren’t available, Alonso did grow up in Washington, D.C. and attended school there. He attended the prestigious Howard University School of Business and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.
Wall Street Career
Once done with Howard University, Laz Alonso moved to New York so he could try his hands at the corporate world. With his knowledge of business administration and marketing, he decided to work as an investment banker on Wall Street. Alonso joined Merrill Lynch, an investing and wealth management division of Bank of America. While he earned an attractive salary as an investment banker, his work hours were rather daunting for him; going as far as 90 hours per week. This left him with little or no time to focus on himself.
After a stint at Merrill Lynch, Alonso left the firm and opened up his own marketing firm alongside some of his friends. With his own firm, he was able to control his work hours more. This enabled him to put more effort into his acting career. Alonso took theater training, which he credits for his ability to take on different types of roles. Backed by his training and ability to determine his own work hours, Laz Alonso started appearing in off-Broadway theater productions.
Transition To Acting
Alonso started appearing in TV commercials and music videos, even earning himself an Emmy Award for his role in Budweiser’s ‘Wassup’ ads. He appeared in the music videos for Toni Braxton’s Hit the Freeway and Aaliyah’s Miss You. Laz went a step further and joined the BET network as a VJ in 2000, becoming the host for the show A.M @ BET.
His acting chops would finally be put to work when he co-starred (in a minor role) alongside Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan in the 2000 romantic drama Disappearing Acts. Next, Laz Alonso was cast as Richard in the 2001 comedy, 30 Years to Life. Alonso went a bit meta in his role as the BET Announcer in Chris Rock’s 2001 fantasy-comedy Down to Earth. Alonso has also had supporting roles in the movies G (2002), Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003), Jarhead (2005), This Christmas (2007), Stomp the Yard (2007), Miracle at St. Anna (2008), and Down for Life (2010). He also made guest appearances in TV shows like Bones, CSI: Miami, The Practice, The Unit, Bones, and Eyes. He also provided the voice of the Na’vi Tsu’tey in the 2009 James Cameron sci-fi movie, Avatar.
One of his most prominent roles was his being cast as main antagonist Fenix Calderon in the fourth installment of the Fast & Furious movie franchise. Named Fast & Furious, the fourth movie was released in 2009 and serves as a direct sequel to the franchise’s first installment, The Fast and the Furious (2001). Laz Alonso also gained prominence as Deputy US Marshal Charlie Duchamp in the A&E crime thriller series Breakout Kings. As of 2019, he has been part of the main cast in the Amazon Prime original superhero series, The Boys, taking up the role of MM/Mother’s Milk.
Alonso’s Life Outside His Career
While Laz Alonso has not shied away from showing his acting chops on and off stage, the actor has managed to keep things sealed on his private life. It’s not surprising that tabloids try to get the details of his past relationships as he has been romantically linked to Olivia Longott, Bria Myles, Teairra Mari, and Malika Sherawat. As it stands, none of the people involved in the rumors commented on them. Laz Alonso did, however, he is in a long-term relationship with Claudia Jordan, who is former Miss Teen USA 1990. Alonso is a devout Christian and shuffles his time between New York City and Los Angeles.