Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - Personal » Miguel Piñero: 1946-1988: Playwright, Poet, Actor Biography - Discovery Of Talent, Success As An Actor, A New Audience

Miguel Piñero: 1946-1988: Playwright, Poet, Actor - Success As An Actor

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In addition to his achievements as a playwright and poet, Piñero also found some success as an actor. Like his writing, acting was a talent that he discovered while in prison. Piñero acted in his own plays. He also acted in other films, including a small role in a film about a drug kingpin, Alphabet City, in 1984 and another small part in an unconventional romantic comedy, Almost You, in 1985. Neither film was a critical hit. Piñero's other film credits included Times Square (1980). Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981), Breathless (1983), Exposed (1983). Deal of the Century (1983). and The Pick-Up Artist (1987). In most of these films, Piñero was little more than a walk-on, often playing a stereotyped low-life criminal-type—the sort of people that he knew well and wrote about most often. On television, Piñero's roles were similar to his own life. He appeared on Miami Vice, Baretta, and Kojak, always playing roles that echoed his own marginalized experiences with criminals, drug dealers, and prostitutes.

Piñero's work in both theater and on film reflected the world in which he lived and with which he was most familiar. The subjects he wrote about, as well as the characters that he played, were most often living on the edge, oftentimes criminals, and were almost always involved with drugs. The world of seedy streets and poor, often ethnically divided neighborhoods, provided both the background and the inhabitants for Piñero's plays. Even in the characters that he played in film and on television, Piñero seemed to be typecast, playing the same people whose lives he portrayed in his plays.

But it was equally clear that this was the world he personally inhabited and the one with which he most closely identified. Even when given the opportunity to create his own world, via his plays, Piñero chose to write about the world where he lived. Even after his release from prison, and perhaps in spite of the success that Short Eyes brought to him, Piñero continued in much the same way as before his success. While he continued to work with inmates and write, he also continued to have problems with the police. In 1977 he was arrested for using obscene language in a confrontation with a subway attendant, and in 1978 he was arrested for grand larceny, and then arrested again in 1983 for heroin possession. In spite of success and the extra money that his success brought, Piñero was never able to leave his past completely behind him. Even as he lay dying, he wrote about his own intimate world, but with illness, the topic moved in another direction. When he died in June of 1988, Piñero was writing a new play about an intensive care unit in a hospital. As was the case with his earlier plays, Piñero was once again living what he was writing: Every Form of Refuge Has Its Price could have been the story of the hospital in which Piñero lay dying of cirrhosis.


Miguel Piñero: 1946-1988: Playwright, Poet, Actor - A New Audience [next] [back] Miguel Piñero: 1946-1988: Playwright, Poet, Actor - Discovery Of Talent

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