(born May 9, 1979) is an American actress
. Her career got started as a tiny dancer in the broadway musical Tiny Pete, but is perhaps best known for her roles in the films Sin City
, Clerks II
, He Got Game
, and most recently as a lead character in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof
Dawson was born in New York City
, the daughter of Isabel, a Bronx
-born professional vocalist, and Greg Dawson, a construction worker. The two are now divorced
. Dawson's mother is of Puerto Rican
descent while her father is of Irish
and Native American
Dawson grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side and has a brother named Clay. She and her family squatted in an abandoned building during most of her childhood. While attending school, she had aspirations of becoming a marine biologist.
Although showing no interest in acting as a child, Rosario was discovered on her front porch step by photographer Larry Clark
and Harmony Korine
, where Harmony lauded her with praise as being perfect for a part he had written in his screenplay that would become the 1995 controversial film Kids
. Since then Dawson's films have varied; ranging from independent films
, to highly successful big budget blockbusters
, and large scale box office bombs
. Among her successes are Rent
, He Got Game
, appearing briefly topless while working opposite professional basketball player Ray Allen
, and Men in Black II
, which saw her sharing the screen with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones
; among her failures are The Adventures of Pluto Nash
(which was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards
) and the live-action film adaptation of Josie and the Pussycats
In 1999, Dawson teamed up with Prince for the re-release of his 1980s hit "1999". The new remixed version featured the actress in an introductory voice over, offering commentary on the state of the world in the year before the Millennium. The same year she appeared in The Chemical Brothers' video for the song "Out of Control" from the album Surrender. She is also featured on the track "She Lives In My Lap" from the second disc of the OutKast album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, during which she speaks the intro and a brief interlude towards the end.
In 2004, Dawson appeared in Oliver Stone's Alexander as the bride of Alexander the Great, which also featured her in a fully nude scene. In August-September 2005, Dawson appeared on stage as Julia in the Public Theatre revival of Galt MacDermot's 1971 musical Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
She starred in the film adaptation of the popular musical Rent, where she played the exotic dancer Mimi Marquez, replacing the original Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega, who was pregnant at the time of filming and wasn't able to play the part. She also appeared in the adaptation of the graphic novel Sin City, where she played the prostitute-dominatrix, Gail. She will appear in Sin City's sequel in 2008.
In 2005, Dawson appeared in a graphically violent scene in the Rob Zombie film The Devil's Rejects. Though the scene was cut from the final film, it is available in the deleted scenes on the DVD release. In 2006's Clerks II, Dawson starred as Becky, the crush-turned-wife of Dante Hicks. As she mentioned in the making of documentary, Back to the Well, the donkey show sequence was what made her decide to appear in the movie. In May of the same year, Dawson, an avid comic book fan, co-created the comic book miniseries Occult Crimes Taskforce. She was at the 2007 Comic-Con to promote her new comic book miniseries.
In 2007, Dawson co-starred with former Rent alum Tracie Thoms in the Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's throwback movie Death Proof.
In 2007, Dawson teamed up with friend Talia Lugacy, whom she met at the Lee Strasberg Academy, to produce and star in Descent. On July 7, 2007 Dawson presented at the American leg of Live Earth.
On June 26, 2008, it was announced that Dawson will play Artemis in the upcoming animated Wonder Woman film.
Starting on August 18, 2008 Dawson starred in Gemini Division, an online-based TV series.
Dawson dated former Sex and the City
star Jason Lewis
for two years. They lived together in Los Angeles
until they separated in November 2006. She has also been rumored to have dated Dawson's Creek
star Joshua Jackson
Dawson is involved with the Lower East Side Girls Club and supports other charities such as environmental group Global Cool, the ONE Campaign, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Stay Close.org (a poster and public service ad campaign for PFLAG where she is featured with her uncle Frank Jump), International Rescue Committee, Voto Latino, and she participated in the Vagina Monologues. She attended both the Democratic National Convention as well as the Republican National Convention in 2008.
- *2006, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Rent) Nominated
- *2004, Rising Star Award Won
- * 2006, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Rent) Nominated
- *2006, Best Actress (Rent) Nominated
- *2006, Best Ensemble (Rent) Nominated
- *2006, Best Supporting Actress (Sin City) Nominated
- *2003, Best Supporting Actress (25th Hour) Nominated
- *2000, Best Actress (Light It Up) Nominated
- *2006, Best Song (Rent) "Seasons of Love" Nominated
- *2006, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Rent) Nominated
- *2000, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Light It Up) Nominated
- *2006, Best Kiss (Sin City) Nominated