A new face to movie audiences, Efren Ramirez became the center of interest thanks to his scene-stealing performance of Pedro in the 2004 cult favorite Napoleon Dynamite, in which he earned a Teen Choice nomination. Before the breakthrough performance, the American actor of Salvadorian and Mexican descent appeared in small roles in films like Kazaam (1996), Missing Pieces (2000) and Delivering Milo (2001) and in guest roles in such series as “ER” (2003) and “Boston Public” (2000-2001). His more recent and upcoming projects include Walkout (2006, TV), All You’ve Got (2006), Crank (2006), Employee of the Month (2006) and Mickey Fish (2006).
Along with Napoleon Dynamite costar Jon Heder, Ramirez, who appeared in the music video for Ashlee Simpson’s 2005 song “Boyfriend,” has filmed a few commercials to promote the 2005 Utah State Fair. The two appear as their characters from Napoleon Dynamite, Pedro and Napoleon respectively.
As for his private life, the rising star was married to Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Iyari Limón from 1998-1999.
Childhood and Family:
In Los Angeles, California, Efrain Antonion Ramirez, better known as Efren Ramirez, was born on October 2, 1973. He began training as an actor at age 13 with the Theater of Arts, The Complex Theatre and The Tiffany Theatre. Efren was educated at The Laura Henry Studio in Santa Monica, California, and has a twin brother named Carlos, who is a dance instructor in Nashville, Tennessee and is also very active in the EDM Scene. Efren currently studies at The Gloria Gifford Conservatory for Performing Arts.
On October 21, 1998, Efren married Mexican-born actress Iyari Limón (born on July 8, 1976), but divorced in 1999. When not acting, the passionate music lover enjoys DJing, and often tours around the country doing guest spins.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, 13-year-old Efren Ramirez started performing with The Theatre of Arts at The Hollywood Bowl, The Complex Theatre, and The Tiffany Theatre on Sunset Blvd. He went on to train at The Whole Theatre Comp and perform improve at The Whitefire Theatre and The Icehouse in Pasadena.
Ramirez made his first film appearance as a pizza boy in 1994’s comedy Tammy and the T-Rex, starring Denise Richards and Paul Walker, which was followed by small roles in Pauly Shore vehicle Jury Duty (1995, as Pirate Pete’s employee), Touchstone’s Kazaam (1996), which starred Shaquille O’Neal and directed by Paul Michael Glaser, Melting Pot (1997) and the horror/thriller King Cobra (1999). By this period, he also had expanded his career into the small screen with guest appearance in episodes of “Relativity” (ABC, 1996), “Dangerous Minds” (1997), “Nothing Sacred” (1997), “Ryan Caulfield: Year One” (1999) and “Chicken Soup for the Soup” (1999).
After ending up a two year Meisner conservatory program, Ramirez acted with the late James Coburn in the made-for-television movie Missing Pieces (2000), had a small part in the drama film Rave (2000) and was additionally featured as a street hustler in Nick Castle’s Delivering Milo (2001), starring Anton Yelchin and Albert Finney. During 2000-2001, he also landed recurring roles as Amaad Wilkens in the Fox series “Boston Public” and Scrub Patrol in Disney’s “Even Stevens.” The next year saw the actor appear in guest roles in “Judging Amy” and “ER.”
The young actor, however, did not make impact until 2004 with his supporting role of the calm Pedro, unlikely but faithful friend of Jon Heder’s title character in independent comedy Napoleon Dynamite. Helmed by Jared Hess, the film received critical and commercial success. As for Ramirez, he was nominated for a Teen Choice for Movie Chemistry, a nod he shared with costar Jon Heder. The success of Napoleon Dynamite helped set Ramirez’s star on the rise.
Following a small role in the movie Just Hustle (2004) and a series of guest spots on television series, including “Robot Chicken” (2005, provided the voice of Pedro), Ramirez could be seen as Bobby Verdugo, a Chicano student from east LA who struggles for better education in public schools throughout the Chicano movement in 1968 in the HBO gripping drama Walkout (2006). In the Edward James Olmos-directed, the gifted actor costarred opposite Micheal Pena and Alexa Vega. Next, he starred opposite Ciara in the MTV romantic-comedy All You’ve Got (2006) and with Jason Statham and Amy Smart in the thriller Crank (2006), where he was cast as the transvestite Kaylo.
The 33-year-old performer will soon play supporting role Jorge, opposite Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook, in the comedy film Employee of the Month (2006). Also, he is set to star in the upcoming Searching for Mickey Fish (2006), a comedy/drama directed by Don Most. The film also stars Daniel Baldwin, William Mapother and Treat Williams.