LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 12TH, 2016
This award has been rightfully earned by a proud Puerto Rican who has been a bona fide artist when taking it beyond her home and performing in a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof as only a Puerto Rican can shine. She received a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey Dance School and ultimately went on to become a professional in theatrical productions of Dreamgirls, Into the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing and La Lupe. Her most memorable role in film has been alongside Rita Moreno in I Like it Like That. But her most notable roles that have made her a household name across the U.S. were in television as Maria LaGuerta on Showtime’s Dexter, Detective Nina Moreno on Fox’s New York Undercover, and Dr. Gloria Nathan on HBO’s Oz, and Elena on ABC’s Ugly Betty. And on most Thursday night’s you can see her on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. This award is given because she has worked tirelessly yielding an illustrious career over the last 30 years and has never forgotten she is Puerto Rican, as she has also supported this Festival from its inception as it celebrates its sixth anniversary this year. This award is bestowed upon Luna Vélez because of her vast work in film, television, and theater, but more importantly because she models, past and present, what it means to champion and represent Latino culture through the arts.
Luna (Lauren) Velez can currently be seen as Soraya Hargrove (the new President of Middleton University) on ABC’s hit drama, “How to Get Away With Murder,” opposite Emmy-winner Viola Davis.
Veléz is best known for her work as the sexy and ambitious Captain Maria Laguerta on Showtime’s Emmy award-winning series, Dexter. Veléz has earned several awards for her riveting dramatic work on the hit series, including four Alma Award nominations, and 1 win for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, and along with her Dexter cast mates, she’s been nominated for four consecutive Screen Actor’s Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Veléz was also recognized for her gut-wrenching performance as Dr. Gloria Nathan on HBO’s critically acclaimed show, Oz, as well as for her portrayal of Det. Nina Moreno in the classic television series, New York Undercover. Her breakout role was a star-is-born turn in the film, I Like It Like That, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Lead Actress. Other career highlights include working with the likes of Al Pacino in City Hall and Meryl Streep in the presentation of the play Seven for the Women in the World Conference. A pioneer for Latina (and Afro-Latina actresses), Veléz has broken down barriers and opened doors for some of today’s biggest Latina TV stars.