Daphne Rubin-Vega

Actor, Singer, Songwriter
Daphne Rubin-Vega may have spent the better part of her career playing tough and emotionally complex characters in feature films and on television, but the true measure of her success was playing the passionate yet ... Read more »
Born: 11/18/1969 in Panama City, Panamá, PA


Actor (14)

Emoticon;) 2014 (Movie)

Ana (Actor)

Smash 2013 (Tv Show)


Union Square 2012 (Movie)

Sara (Actor)

Jack Goes Boating 2010 (Movie)

Lucy (Actor)

Gone to the Dogs 2009 (Movie)


Rachel Getting Married 2008 (Movie)


Sex and the City 2008 (Movie)

Baby Voiced Woman (Actor)

Life on the Ledge 2004 (Movie)

Trisha (Actor)

Virgin 2004 (Movie)

Frances (Actor)

Flawless 1999 (Movie)

Tia (Actor)

Skeleton Woman 1999 (Movie)

Olya (Actor)

Wild Things 1998 (Movie)

Gloria Perez (Actor)

I Like It Like That 1994 (Movie)

Modeling School Director (Actor)


Daphne Rubin-Vega may have spent the better part of her career playing tough and emotionally complex characters in feature films and on television, but the true measure of her success was playing the passionate yet vulnerable HIV-infected dancer in the smash Broadway musical "Rent" (1996). The contemporary musical juggernaut, which followed a group of impoverished musicians and artists battling the coming wave of gentrification in New York City's bleak Lower East Side, reenergized the Great White Way, attracting a new generation of theatergoers, and grossed more than $280 million since its Broadway debut. It also paved the way for a then-relatively unknown actress like Rubin-Vega to make her mark on and off the stage, as well as to start the wheels in motion for the talented actress to pursue a long and successful onscreen career.

Daphne Rubin-Vega was born on Nov. 18, 1969 in Panama City, Panama. Her father passed away when she was two, and she was sent to Washington, D.C to live with an aunt. At nine, she moved to Manhattan's Greenwich Village to live with her mother and two older brothers, up until the time her mother died in 1979. As a teen, Rubin-Vega began to rebel and was eventually kicked out of the house by her stepfather. Friends in the music industry started taking her along to recording sessions. Soon after, she began writing her own songs and found work as a studio singer. In the late 1980s, Rubin-Vega formed the pop trio, Pajama Party, which released one hit single, "Yo No Sé" in 1988. While she did not set out to pursue musical theater, her agent persuaded her to audition for a 1994 workshop for a new stage musical created by the acclaimed composer and playwright, Jonathan Larson. Rubin-Vega so impressed Larson during the workshop that he inevitably offered her a plum role in the Broadway production of "Rent" (1996), one of the biggest cult phenomena in pop culture. Sadly, its creator died two and a half weeks before the show opened in February 1996 due to an aortic aneurysm.

A rock version of Puccini's opera "La Bohème" (1896), the musical "Rent" told the story of a group of disenfranchised youth and impoverished musicians struggling to survive in New York's Lower East Side under the shadow of AIDS. Rubin-Vega played Mimi Marquez, an HIV-infected club dancer who lived in the apartment below her love interest, Roger Davis (Adam Pascal), an ex-junkie who was once a successful musician, and Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp), a nerdy documentary filmmaker and the show's narrator. Rubin-Vega lit up the stage as the show's feisty yet vulnerable heroine who drew audiences inside her volatile relationship with Roger, while showcasing her vocal range with the heart-wrenching ballad "Without You" and the rock-tinged "Out Tonight." Following its Broadway debut, "Rent" went on to win four Tony Awards - including Best Musical - and the Pulitzer Prize, as well as earning Rubin-Vega a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in 1996. The musical also transformed its mostly unknown cast into stars, and led to hundreds of variations staged across America. A movie version of "Rent" was released in 2005 that featured many of the original cast reprising their roles. Rubin-Vega, however, turned down the opportunity because of a pregnancy, so Rosario Dawson played the part of Mimi.

After she starred in one of Broadway's most popular musicals, Rubin-Vega turned her attention toward film and television. She played a detective investigating a possible rape case in the erotic thriller "Wild Things" (1998), and starred as a dancer in love with Robert De Niro's character in Joel Schumacher's comedy-drama "Flawless" (1999). Rubin-Vega also had a cameo in the film adaptation of the hit TV series "Sex and the City" (2008), where she played a baby-voiced woman talking to Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in a restroom. In 2010, she surprised critics with a raw and poignant performance as the sexually adventurous half of a bickering couple in Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial film debut, "Jack Goes Boating," based on Bob Glaudini's 2007 play. A story of love, betrayal, and friendship, Rubin-Vega's honest portrayal of a woman trying desperately to keep her marriage from disintegrating while encouraging another couple to take their relationship to the next level earned her a 2011 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Female Lead nomination.


Tom Costanzo


Luca Costanzo

Born in 2005

Daphne Rubin

Died in February 1979

Leonard Rubin

Reportedly kicked Rubin-Vega out of the house when she was a teenager

Jose Vega

Died c. 1970 when Rubin-Vega was two years old



Nominated for the 2011 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female ("Jack Goes Boating")


Nominated for the 2011 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female


Re-teamed with Philip Seymour Hoffman for the film version of "Jack Goes Boating"; Hoffman also made his directorial debut


Starred alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman in the play "Jack Goes Boating" at The Public Theater


Starred with Phylicia Rashad in a musical version of Federico García Lorca's "The House of Bernarda Alba" at Lincoln Center


Played the role of Fantine in the Broadway revival of the popular musical, "Les Misérables"


Released her second full-length album of original songs titled, Redemption Songs


Cast in the film, "Virgin," about a teenager who believes she is carrying the child of God


Starred opposite Jimmy Smits in "Anna in the Tropics"; earned a Tony nomination for her role


Starred in the off-Broadway play "Two Sisters and a Piano" at Joseph Papp Public Theater


Returned to Broadway as co-star of "The Rocky Horror Show"


Co-starred with Robert De Niro in "Flawless"


Had first major screen role as a detecvtive in "Wild Things"


Earned a Tony nomination for her role as Mimi in Broadway's "Rent"


Had first solo hit, "I Found It"


Appeared in Randy Newman's stage musical "Faust" at the La Jolla Playhouse


Originated the role of Mimi for the workshop production of "Rent"; reprised role both off-Broadway and on Broadway


Feature debut, had a bit role in "I Like It Like That"

Began her musical career as the lead singer for the Latin freestyle group Pajama Party

At age nine, moved to NYC's Greenwich Village with mother and brothers

As a teenager, began finding work as a session singer

Born in Panama

Bonus Trivia


Rubin-Vega did not participate in the film adaptation of Rent, as she was pregnant at the time of the movie's casting and filming. The role was subsequently given to Rosario Dawson.