Renee Victor is a Texas-born actress best known for her extraordinary role as the wisecracking, feisty Lupita in the landmark television series Weeds (2005-2012). She received considerable acclaim for her role as the quick-witted, fearless nanny hurling clever barbs at unsuspecting characters, avoiding any hint of a stereotype. Before and since, Renée remains an indelible presence for her pageant of other widely diverse and memorable character roles in motion pictures, television, theater and radio. Whether comedy or drama, Renée carefully pursues the challenge of roles that exude bravura, honesty, and a keen attention to authenticity. Renée has worked alongside many of Hollywood's elite including, 'Robert Duvall', Walter Matthau, Andy Garcia, Christopher Walken, 'William Hurt', Josh Brolin, Gena Rowlands, Mary-Louise Parker, Scarlett Johansson and many more. In addition to acting, Renée has also garnered a wealth of accolades in other performing arts disciplines including singing, dancing, choreography, voice-over, interpreter-translator, television program hosting and segment producer. Early Years Renée was born in San Antonio, Texas. Both parents were working professionals and raised their children in a traditional Catholic family environment. From grammar school studies through high school she attended San Antonio's prestigious all-girls St. Teresa's, St. Mary's and Divine Providence Academies. She excelled academically as an honor student, was class president numerous times and was voted "Most Talented" student throughout high school. Although she excelled academically, she had already exhibited an early interest in performing and pursued these studies throughout her education. Her dancing debut in the San Antonio production in the opera "Carmen" at the age of 10 set her future and it appears to have been a prophetic start. Early Career Renée's professional career as a singer/dancer began in Las Vegas at the Stardust Hotel and her subsequent acclaimed work throughout the celebrated Nevada circuit was a preamble to her succeeding stage-work in Europe, Latin America, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Renée's international success as a performer led to repeated contracts around the world, setting the stage for more critically-acclaimed television appearances, cabaret engagements, commercials and finally a stint hosting her own popular television musical-variety show in Australia. Expanding Horizons After her Australia and New Zealand successes Renée returned to Los Angeles and hosted KTLA's popular talk show, "Pacesetters." At the same time, she continued singing in local venues and was a popular choice for a wide range of choreography assignments. Other surprisingly diverse career paths include translator-interpreter at the 1984 L.A. Olympics at the International Broadcasting Center; translating and adapting a program for the California Museum of Science and Industry on AIDS; also translating the "The Nutcracker Suite" into Spanish for the BBC of London. She was also segment producer for the _"Paul Rodriguez Show" _; narrated "The Art of the Pacific Rim-Meso American Art" for the L.A. County Museum of Art; and "La Ofrenda: The Day of the Dead," a Women in Films entry at the Los Angeles Film Festival. While journalist/reporter for Pacifica Radio KPFK she produced and hosted a special on world acclaimed award-winning novelist 'Carlos Fuentes'. Other credits include vocals for commercial jingles for RC Cola, Hoffy Hot Dogs and Twin Dragon Chinese Cookies. An unforgettable moment in her singing career was when she hired famed Latin jazz pianist Eddie Cano ("A Taste of Honey") as her accompanist for a six-month period. Renée: "This was a very special moment in my singing experience." Acting Film Renée then set her sights on acting and she soon began landing some very choice roles. Notable parts include the Hispanic-Evangelical interpreter in the critically acclaimed __The Apostle (2003)_, holding her own side-by-side with one of America's greatest actors. Impressed with her work in The Apostle, Robert Duvall subsequently cast Renee in two of his other films including Assassination Tango (2002) and A Night in Old Mexico (2013). Renée has always chosen her roles with care and her instincts were right in Libertad (1996). For her title role in portraying the strong family matriarch battling to keep her fractured family together, Renée received Best Actress Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Director Miguel Najera said: "Without Renée's magnificent performance in my first film, Libertad, it would not have received the accolades that it did. Her portrayal of Libertad, a strong, independent woman tempered with tenderness, personified how the Mexican female spirit survived in a man's world. Her presence filled the screen and the hearts of all those fortunate enough to witness how effortlessly she moved them from laughter to tears to triumph." On the heels of her third season on "Weeds," Renée was cast as "Mommie" in the indie feature Hollywood Familia (2006). Director-Producer Frank Aragon: "We have a wonderful performance from Renée, whose portrayal of "Mommie" is one of those magical moments when actress and character fuse absolutely. She deftly balances the humor and drama in an astonishing tour de force. Renée unleashes a colorful, quirky persona that tickles the funny bone of anyone who recalls a grandmother steeped in cultural rites and practices 'white magic' behind closed doors. Renée not only steals the show, she steals your heart." Other film roles include the superstitious grandmother in Paramount's 2014 release Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) in which she breaks up the horror with a key, much-needed comic relief scene. The Lighting Bug's Lair weekly acknowledged her all-Spanish performance as "rewarding" and "pitch perfect, conveying everything the audience wants to know without the need for translation." Television & Radio In addition to her role as Lupita in "Weeds," Renée's other television work includes the recurring role of the heartfelt Florina Lopez in ER (1994). Other performances include the tragic grandmother Regina in TV's Major Crimes (2012), a witch in Lifetime's Series Witches of East End (2013), Children's Hospital (2002), Women's Murder Club (2007), All You've Got (2006), Strong Medicine (2000), Mister Sterling (2003), while her flair for broader comedy as the colorful Consuela Hernandez in House of Payne (2006), adds further evidence of a talent with a very wide range. She has also performed on public radio, KCRW, for the prestigious Los Angeles Theater Classics "The Play's the Thing." About "Weeds" When Renée landed her signature role as "Weeds" irrepressible Lupita, her presence and personality made the producers not only extend her role and gave her character some of the best lines, but her unique delivery made those lines special and memorable. Her spin on only three simple words "the coffee table," was devastating and the critics noticed. "Renée Victor, as Nancy's maid, is the best lippy servant since Rosario on Will & Grace (1998) wrote Terry Morrow of the Scripps Howard News Service. New York Post's TV critic Linda Stasi wrote: "Lastly [and bestly] there's 'Lupita' (Renée Victor) the Botwin's housekeeper ("I'm nobody's maid") who delivers some of the funniest lines on television in the last 10 years. And I mean that!" She later wrote "Thank God Lupita (Renée Victor), who had the best line in all of television last season (the one about the coffee table), is back, and by episode two, she's had two more potentially best lines. The woman's a comic genius and I love her so." Referring to her classic coffee table quip in "Weeds," co-star Kevin Nealon (after her priceless delivery) asked her "What's it like not only delivering the best line in the show but one that's become a TV classic?" Stage After her considerable career as a cabaret singer-dancer, Renée now pursues acting into critically acclaimed roles in several theatrical venues. On her performance at San Jose Repertory Theater's production of "My Visits with MGM," a spotlighted Victor opens the play singing the classic and heartfelt "Valentina," torch style, acapella. Victor's rendition was a special moment setting the entire mood of the play. Judith Green of the Mercury News wrote: "Renee Victor a tiny, joyous, enchanting performer gives Grandmother Marta enough fizz for a magnum of champagne and has a special beauty appropriate to a play that takes place largely in the faded colors of the past. She is also an accomplished dancer, which she puts to good use here to the delight of the audience." On her repeat performance of "My Visits with MGM" at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The Journals' Damien Jacques wrote: "Renée Victor gives Marta Grande an amazing amalgam of warmth, humor, strength and sexiness." In the play "Our Lady of The Tortilla" at the Phoenix Theater, Julie Amparano of the Arizona Republic wrote: "Victor's performance is a highlight. With a surprised naïveté Victor plays Dolores as a Hispanic version of Edith Bunker." Voice-Over Renée is equally acclaimed as a voice-over artist including the English voice of Helena in Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander (1982); Ginger in Federico Fellini's Ginger and Fred (1986); the Spanish voice of the female gargoyle in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996); and the reptilian voices in the 2011 award-winning video game, "Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V." Unquestionably the complex and pivotal character of Abuelita in the highly-anticipated Disney-Pixar release Coco, represents a major step in Renee's voice-over goals. Her Abuelita character provides the necessary dramatic impetus in driving the story forward and giving other characters the needed motivations for their behavior. Numerous media outlets have already generated a pre-release stir, comparing Coco to some of animation's greatest films due to its ability to maintain a mature story line without compromising its entertainment value. It's not surprising that voice-over work of this caliber has been and continues to be a tremendous source of personal and professional satisfaction. Studies Renée has studied at the University of Texas, the American Film Institute, Jackie Cowgill of AADA, Improv with Gary Austin, Shirley Prestia, Kip King as well as studies at the Sydney Conservatory of Music, Columbia School of Broadcasting and the Hollywood Scriptwriter's Institute. Personal Life Renée's attention to her personal wardrobe is an essential consideration, so it's worth more than just a casual "footnote" that Renée has been a shoe model and is well-known for her extraordinary shoe collection and wardrobe. It's no surprise that she is also recognized as one of the best-dressed Latina actresses in Hollywood. The multi-lingual Renée is single, enjoys movies, theater, museums, poetry (especially Pablo Neruda, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz & Michael Hannon), music and. travel. When she isn't giving dance instruction by request and her schedule allows, she continues to study and remains very active in all forms of dance art. It's no additional surprise that long ago her tango friends bestowed her with the title "La Maestra" while those in salsa circles affectionately dubbed her "La Reina." Not to ignore Renée's culinary creativity, it's fascinating to watch how her tiny hands prepare extravagant dishes for small intimate gatherings for friends and family. Her most important and lasting creation though, are daughters Margo and Raquel with whom she enjoys an especially deep relationship.
|December 29, 2017