Wanda De Jesus Biography

Wanda De Jesus De Jesus
( 1958 - )
May 22, 2017
First published on:February 23, 2017

Facts of Wanda De Jesus Biography

Date of Birth: 1958 August 26
Age: 60 years old
occupation Actress
networth $10 million
ethnicity Hispanic
nationality American
religion Christian
spouse Partner: Jimmy Smits (1986–)
education Attended The Leonard Davis Center
place_of_birth Manhattan, New York, U.S.
View more / View Less Facts of Wanda De Jesus Biography

Wanda De Jesus is an Imagen Award-winning American actress, famous for portraying the role of Santana Andrade in NBC's original soap opera Santa Barbara.

Early Life

Wanda De Jesus was born on August 26, 1958, to parents of diverse descent in Manhattan, New York, U.S. Her mother was a nurse in Puerto Rico before she came to the United States. At the age of 13, the native New Yorker was accepted to the High School of Performing Arts. The school, the model for the TV show Fame, but with a heavier curriculum, holds many memories for the actress.

After graduating with a B.F.A. degree from The Leonard Davis Center for Performing Arts, part of City College of New York, she did a lot of theater. She got turned on to acting by watching Peter O'Toole do 'The Lion in Winter' when she was a kid. It was the actress' work at the Public Theater that ultimately took her to Broadway. The play ran for about six months at The Public and a year on Broadway with Robert De Niro.

baby Wanda De Jesus baby Young Wanda De Jesus (Source: Pinterest)

Television Career

While appearing on Broadway, DeJesus got her first taste of daytime the role of Gomez,  on television soap opera series "Another World" in 1986.  It was created by Irna Phillips and  William J. Bell. Which and was produced by Procter & Gamble Productions at NBC Studios.

Then, she became the star in the nighttime series "Mariah," played the role Leda Cervantes in 1987. That shot up in Toronto and had a life for about seven months. It got good reviews.  When Mariah was canceled, DeJesus kept herself busy with episodic work and theater.

Following years, she featured legal drama series "L.A. Law", where she played Ms. Santiago. The series reflected the social and cultural ideologies of the 1980s and early 1990s.  Many of the cases featured on the show dealt with hot topic issues such as capital punishment, abortion, racism, gay rights, homophobia, sexual harassment, AIDS, and domestic violence.

Wanda De Jesus with LA: Law & Order co-star Terrence Howard (Source: Premiere)

In 1988, she made her appearance on two series The Pursuit of Happiness as Mrs. Lopez and Tales from the Darkside as a Telephone (voice). Some episodes of the series were written by or adapted from the works of famous authors. Stephen King's short stories "Word Processor of the Gods" and "Sorry, Right Number" were amongst them.

Notable series Santa Barbara

She made her main notable role as the fourth actress to portray Santana Andrade in NBC's soap opera "Santa Barbara" from 1991-1992. The series won 24 Daytime Emmy Awards and was nominated 30 times for the same award. The show also won 18 Soap Opera Digest Awards and won various other awards. Santa Barbara aired in over 40 countries around the world. It became the longest-running television series in Russia. The series was created by Bridget Dobson and Jerome Dobson.

Wanda De Jesus, a scene from Santa Barbara
Source: Santa Barbara Blog

In 2003,  she won  Imagen Award in the category of Best Actress in a Television Film "the Almost a Woman." The film was directed by Betty Kaplan, which was based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Puerto Rican writer Esmeralda Santiago. This movie is about a young woman named Esmeralda and her family move to New York from a rural area of Puerto Rico.

Wanda De Jesus showing Imagen Award
Source: Purepeople

From 2002-2003, she had a recurring role on the CBS crime series "CSI: Miami," where she played the role as MDPD Detective Adelle Sevilla. In 2006, BBC News published an article stating that CSI: Miami was the world's most popular television series, featuring in more countries' top ten rankings for 2005 than any other series.

CSI: Miami - Publicity still of Kim Delaney & Wanda De Jesus (left)
Source: Movie Stills Database

Other TV Shows

She also appeared in numerous TV Shows such as Singer & Sons(1990), Equal Justice (1991), Civil Wars(1992), Live Shot(1995), Spider-Man(1996),Nash Bridges(1997),Vengeance Unlimited (1998), Sons of Anarchy(2012), Letter Never Sent (2015) and many more.

On June 14, 2010, she made her appearance on "All My Children" as Iris Blanco, the mayor of Pine Valley.  Agnes Nixon created the series. All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictional suburb of Philadelphia, which is modeled on the actual Philadelphia suburb of Rosemont.

In 2010, De Jesus was cast as the head of the police squad on "Law & Order: Los Angeles," but the role which had already been changed significantly before De Jesus joined. The role was changed again and reshot with a different actress after two episodes had been filmed.  The series was created and produced by Dick Wolf and developed by Blake Masters.

Film Career

In 1990, she debuted in the police action comedy film named "Downtown." Richard Benjamin served as a director. At the same year, she featured in the cyberpunk action film "RoboCop 2" as  Estevez, directed by  Irvin Kershner. She played a role, Luisa Diaz along with her co-stars  Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan and Gabriel Damon.

In 2000, she landed in a role of Jackie in the film "Once in the Life." Where Laurence Fishburne, served as a director, writer. Fishburne adapted the script from his own play, Riff-Raff.  She appeared in the science fiction action horror film "Ghosts of Mars", where she played a minor role

In 2001, she appeared in the sci-fi action horror film "Ghosts of Mars," where she played a small role Akooshay in 2001. She appeared along with Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall, and Joanna Cassidy.

Breakthrough role: Illegal Tender

In 2007, she made her breakthrough role in the film "Illegal Tender." She appeared alongside Rick Gonzalez and Dania Ramirez. She played Millie De Leon, for which she was nominated for Imagen Awards. The film was directed and written by Franc, Reyes and produced by John Singleton.

Wanda De Jesus and Rick Gonzalez in "Illegal Tender."
Source: Fandango

This gorgeous actress has appeared numerous films such as The Glass Shield (1994), Captain Nuke and the Bomber Boys (1995), Executive Power (1997), Time to Pay(1999), Blood Work(2002), The Ministers(2009), Water & Power(20013).

Personal Life: Husband, Ethnicity, Net Worth

She has been in a relationship with Jimmy Smits, an American actor, who played attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s legal drama L.A. Law. The couple has been living together since 1986. They met in New York and worked has together on Cuba. Jesus loves to work with him, and she knows the feeling is mutual. She was the lady when Jimmy first started L.A. Law & Order, where she used to help him with certain scenes.

Jimmy Smits and Wanda De Jesus
Source: FamousFix

Jesus holds an American nationality and belongs to Hispanic ethnicity. This 5'4" actress accumulated a great net worth of $10 million from the movies and TV shows in which she starred in. Both Jesus and her partner Jimmy Smits, who is still not her husband, has a combined net worth of around $20 million.

May 22, 2017
First published on:February 23, 2017
by admdoo

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