Wilson Jermaine Heredia
Heredia was born and raised in Brooklyn. Despite his strong acting and music talents, he originally studied medicine and considered going into advertising. But strong influences from his musically inclined mother and father - even though they weren't in showbiz - helped convince him to perform. Developing his interest in acting on the side, legend has it that Heredia was working in a railway station when he saw an ad for auditions for the musical "Rent," and responded because he could use the money. The gamble paid off, and Heredia landed the part of Angel, a character who most epitomized the play's story of young artists forming their identities and suffering from AIDS in New York City's East Village. Heredia won the 1996 Tony Award for best actor in a musical. He went on to play the character in the London stage version, and then in director Chris Columbus' 2005 film adaptation. Heredia first appeared on film in 1998's "Went to Coney Island on a Mission From God Be Back By Five," along with Jon Cryer and Ione Sky. He appeared next in the J l Schumacher film "Flawless" in 1999, and showed up in guest spots on "Spin City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." He was set to appear in director Robert Altman's 2006 release, "Descent," where he rejoins Tracie Thoms, his co-star from the film version of "Rent." He also appeared in the films "Nailed," scheduled for release in 2006, and "Johnny Was" in 2005, for which he was also a producer.