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Ricky Martin: 1971—: Singer, Actor

Released First Solo Album

By age 17 Martin had outgrown and left Menudo, graduated from high school in Puerto Rico, and moved to New York City. "I did a lot of growing up there," he remarked in People. "In Menudo they told you what silverware to use. Suddenly I was paying my own bills." Four years later Martin moved again, to Mexico City, and renewed his acting career with a role in a telenovela, or Spanish soap opera, titled Alcanzar una Estrella (Reach for a Star). A film adaptation of the series was produced, and for his performance in the big screen version, Martin earned a Heraldo, the Mexican equivalent of an Academy Award, in 1993.

In the meantime Martin signed with Sony and released his first solo album, the Spanish-language Ricky Martin, in 1992, which he co-wrote with fellow Menudo alum Robi Rosa (sometimes credited as Ian Blake), who would become a regular collaborator during the course of Martin's career. The release became a gold record in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Chile, and the United States, and Martin performed a sold-out tour across South America. The popularity of Latin pop music was growing, as was Martin's own popularity. After being named to Billboard Video Awards' Best New Latin Artist of 1993, Martin released his second album, Me Amaras, and shortly afterwards moved to Los Angeles.

Fresh into Hollywood, he appeared in the short-lived NBC comedy Getting By, but it was his singing career that got him cast on the ABC daytime soap General Hospital in 1994. After an executive producer of the popular soap opera saw a tape of Martin in concert, he was asked to play the recurring role of singing bartender Miguel Morez. After his year-long stint in daytime television, Martin performed on Broadway, playing Marius in the musical Les Miserables. At the same time Martin continued to record, and released his third album, A Medio Vivir (Halfway Through Life), in 1995. He further expanded his repertoire by providing the voice of the lead character in the 1997 Spanish-language version of Disney's animated film Hercules, and acting as a celebrity spokesman for tourism in his native Puerto Rico.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - PersonalRicky Martin: 1971—: Singer, Actor Biography - Joined Latin Boy Band Menudo, Released First Solo Album, Unforgettable Grammy Performance, Released English-language Album