Birth Name: John Alberto Leguizamo Peláez
Place of Birth: Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Date of Birth: July 22, 1960
Ethnicity: Colombian [Spanish, Indigenous, Basque, distant African and Jewish]
John Leguizamo is a Colombian-born American actor, stand-up comedian, film producer, playwright, and screenwriter. His many roles include the films Super Mario Bros., To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Executive Decision, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Spawn, Summer of Sam, Moulin Rouge!, Collateral Damage, Ice Age, Land of the Dead, John Wick, The Menu, and Violent Night, television’s The Kill Point, Bloodline, and When They See Us, and one-man shows on stage.
John was born in Bogotá, Colombia, the son of Luz Marina Peláez and Alberto Rudolfo Leguizamo. John’s family moved to New York City in the 1960s, living in Queens. He is married to costumer Justine Maurer, with whom he has two children.
Over the years, John had stated that he has Puerto Rican, Italian, Lebanese, and/or other ancestry. These statements are not accurate. John at least has no significant ancestry from these communities.
A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2022) stated that John’s genetic ancestry is:
*59.4% European-Majority Spanish
*3.1% Middle Eastern/North African
*2.9% Sub-Saharan African
His mtDNA is of the Indigenous Americas.
Genetically, he was found to have a common ancestor with actor David Duchovny, through shared Jewish ancestry; John’s mother has a small amount of Jewish heritage.
John’s paternal grandfather Martín Vargas Cualla (the son of Nicolas Vargas Villegas and Elisa Cualla Ricaurte). Martín was born in Bogota, Cundinamarca, Colombia. He was a wealthy landowner. Elisa was the daughter of Higinio Cualla, who was Mayor of Bogotá, from 1884 to 1900, and helped modernize the city.
John’s paternal grandmother was named María Emilia Leguizamo. María Emilia was born in Orocué, Casanare, Colombia.
John’s maternal grandfather was named Alfonso Espitia Flerro.
John’s maternal grandmother was María Waldina Peláez Pérez (the daughter of Juan Crisóstomo Peláez Chica and Leonilde Pérez Quesada). Juan was the son of Juan Crisóstomo Peláez Gallego and María Waldina/Ubaldina Londoño/Chica Idárraga. Through this line, John’s seventh great-grandfather was Corregidor Sancho Londoño Zapata, a local administrator for the Spanish crown, who was the richest person in the province of Rio Negro at the time of his death.