A first-rate character actress, Wanda De Jesús specialized in portraying strong woman whose time on screen might have been limited but whose impact was not. Born Aug. 26, 1958 in Manhattan, Wanda De Jesús graduated from the city's famed High School of Performing Arts. Breaking into the world of Broadway and New York theater, De Jesús soon made her screen debut on the soap opera "Another World" (NBC, 1964-1999) before landing a series regular gig on the prison drama "Mariah" (ABC, 1987). After a supporting role as a tough police officer in "RoboCop 2" (1990), she stepped into the role of Santana Andrade on the soap "Santa Barbara" (NBC, 1984-1993), but left after a year, landing another regular role on the drama "Live Shot" (UPN, 1995-96). A steadily working journeywoman actress, De Jesús balanced film roles in projects like "Flawless" (1999), "Ghosts of Mars" (2001) and "Blood Work" (2002) with a season-long stint as a detective on "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002-2012) and Imagen Award-winning work in "Almost a Woman" (PBS, 2006) and Imagen-nominated work in "Illegal Tender" (2007). After a long-running role on "All My Children" (ABC, 1970-2011), De Jesús dazzled in a juicy arc on "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 2008-14) as the formidable Carla, the forceful lover and right-hand woman to gangbanger Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits). Adding a fun twist for viewers in the know was the fact that De Jesús and Smits had been a real-life couple since 1986, and the two frequently worked together on the stage.
By Jonathan Riggs