Rosario Dawson: Snapshot

Rosario Dawson
Date of Birth
May 09, 1979
Birth Place
New York, N.Y.
A pair of filmmakers found the real thing when they spotted 15-year-old Rosario Dawson laughing hysterically on a Lower East Side stoop, where she squatted in an abandoned building with her family. They quickly cast Dawson in their gritty New York indie, Kids.

The disturbingly real drama scared the hell out of parents and sexually active teens everywhere, opening doors for Dawson, who went on to work with directors Spike Lee and Oliver Stone and actors Denzel Washington and Will Smith. The eco-friendly star, who previously dated Sex and the City's Jason Lewis, returned to her Lower East Side roots as Mimi in 2005's film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent. She's also become a comic book-loving sex symbol with turns in Sin City and Grindhouse.

Rosario Dawson: Five Fun Facts

  1. After appearing nude in 2004's Alexander, Rosario Dawson told PEOPLE, "In 80 years I will be able to look at that and say, 'I had a pretty nice rack back then.'"
  2. In 2005, Rosario Dawson wanted to show off then-boyfriend Jason Lewis to her mom, Isabel. So she popped in a DVD of Lewis on Sex and the City. "I had no idea you saw his butt in half of it," Dawson told PEOPLE. "My mom is like, 'Your boyfriend has a nice butt.' I said, 'That's it. I'm turning this thing off.'"
  3. Rosario Dawson's Josie and the Pussycats character Val was turned into a toy doll. "I did a couple of things to make her look not like me," Dawson told the Chicago Tribune, "because I didn't want her to have an exact replica of my head. That would be a little too weird."
  4. Rosario Dawson's mom kept her daughter in line by licking her. "She'd lick me right across my cheek like a cougar. And it was just so humiliating," she told Esquire in 2006.
  5. In Sin City, Rosario Dawson chomped a piece out of Alexis Bledel's neck for the movie. "It was this little bit of plastic, and the blood is this mixture of dye and sugar," Dawson explained. "It was really good, really tasty."

Rosario Dawson: Biography


Squatting into Home

Dawson – a mix of black, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Native American and Irish – is raised in Manhattan's notorious Lower East Side neighborhood. With her family, the six-year-old moves (or "squats") into an empty building that doesn't have electricity. "I grew up living in a squat. My mother moved us in there because we couldn't afford the rent in the building we were in," Dawson tells the Toronto Sun in 2005. "There was no running water and no plumbing so my mother learned to be a plumber. My dad worked construction so he fixed up our rooms for us."


Rosario Dawson

Laughing on a Stoop

Screenwriter Harmony Korine and director Larry Clark spot a 15-year-old Dawson laughing on a stoop in her neighborhood. They cast the young New Yorker in the gritty, controversial teen drama, Kids (left), opposite Chloe Sevigny. "It was quite a shock to be put in that project," she tells the Chicago Sun-Times in 2001. "It was more of a shock to see it afterward and realize what it was. I don't think I thought about it as much when I was doing it. I was like, OK, this is a cool script. It made waves in the industry, and it definitely opened doors for me."


Rosario Dawson

Teaming with Spike Lee

Dawson appears in Spike Lee's (right) He Got Game, with Denzel Washington. She plays basketball star Jesus' (Ray Allen) girlfriend Lala. "It's an amazing thing to be able to have that one moment where you see your whole life change. Like very drastic," she tells the Knoxville News-Sentinel in 2000. In 2002, she reteams with Lee for The 25th Hour.

Read More on Rosario Dawson's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Richard Phibbs/Corbis

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Kobal Collection/Wireimage; Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Edited by Julia Wang

Rosario Dawson

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