Melissa Fumero (née Gallo; born August 19, 1982) is an American actress. From the age of ten, she aspired to become an actress and attended New York University, from which she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama. +more She made her professional debut in 2004, recurring as Adriana Cramer in the soap opera One Life to Live. Following several minor roles, Fumero had her first main role in the Fox (later NBC) comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine as Amy Santiago, a role she played from 2013 to 2021. Since this breakthrough, Fumero has voiced Melissa Tarleton in the critically acclaimed animated series M. O. D. O. K. (2021) and is set to star in Netflix's upcoming series Blockbuster. She is married to actor and former model David Fumero, with whom she has two sons.

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Early life

Melissa Gallo was born on August 19, 1982, in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Cubans who moved to the United States as teenagers. +more Gallo grew up in Guttenberg and moved to Lyndhurst at age six. As of 2014, her mother was a stay-at-home mom and former hairdresser, while her father taught math and worked at a jewelry store. When at home, she and her family spoke Spanish, but her parents stopped forcing her and her brother to do so after he encountered issues at school.

As a child, Gallo enjoyed creating and performing plays; as a result, she began taking dance lessons. Gallo expressed interest in acting after seeing Broadway's The Secret Garden at the age of ten. +more Her parents subsequently sent her to acting classes. Gallo enjoyed theater lessons, since she and her classmates were focused on performing well rather than their physical appearances. She remained enrolled in dance and acting classes until her graduation. When she received the acceptance letter for New York University (NYU)-her "dream school"-Gallo believed she would be unable to attend due to the cost. To ensure she could attend, her parents emptied their savings, took out many loans, and had Gallo live at home initially, although she moved to New York City at nineteen. In 2003, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama.

Career

2004-2012: One Life to Live and other roles

When she began working in the entertainment business, Gallo felt ostracized. She was only able to audition for certain roles. +more Hours after her final exam at NYU, she booked the role of Adriana Cramer on soap opera One Life to Live (OLTL), which she described as "the biggest redeeming moment". Amanda Cortinas had portrayed the character but departed the series due to "her story line never [getting] off the ground". Gallo joined the series on January 20, 2004. She reprised her role in two 2005 episodes of All My Children. In January 2008, her contract with OLTL expired; Fumero was set to leave the show shortly after, but stayed until June 11, with her final scenes being filmed in May. Fumero returned to One Life to Live for several stints from September 2008 to January 2011.

In 2008, she starred in Tiny Dancer, playing Ati, a seventeen-year-old who is persuaded to dance. For the role, Fumero learnt the character's Spanish Harlem accent-a task she found difficult-and extensively trained in stretching and yoga to do the modern and contemporary dance. +more After One Life to Live, Fumero expressed interest in performing comedy and booked a role in Important Things with Demetri Martin for Comedy Central in 2009. The following years, she played roles on The CW's Gossip Girl, USA Network's Royal Pains, and CBS's The Mentalist and CSI: NY.

2013-2020: breakthrough with Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Fumero's first starring role and breakthrough came in 2013, when she was cast in Fox's untitled comedy pilot as the female lead opposite Andy Samberg. The show was later revealed to be titled Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which follows a group of New York Police Department detectives in Brooklyn's fictional 99th precinct. +more Fumero portrays the rule-following, competitive Amy Santiago. To prepare, she and Brooklyn cast received police and firearm training. Fumero is one of the two Latina regular cast members, the other being Stephanie Beatriz (who portrays Rosa Diaz). This casting was described as groundbreaking by Fumero, though the two feared one of them would get fired. As a result, they tried to make their appearances as distinct from one another as possible; for example, Fumero's character has straight hair, while Beatriz's has wavy hair. Due to her lack of experience with comedy, Fumero usually was nervous-a trait the writers incorporated into Amy's personality. On September 17, 2013, Brooklyn Nine-Nine pilot aired, garnering over six million viewers and positive reviews. The A. V. Club praised the contrasts between Samberg and Fumero's acting styles, calling her "a real find". Reviews of the first season were also positive, and it received 5. 2 million total viewers.

In May 2014, Fox renewed Brooklyn Nine-Nine for a second season, to air during the 2014-2015 television season. Its premiere, "Undercover", was well-received by critics. +more Reception towards Fumero's performance was positive; Collider lauded her comedic timing, drive, and vulnerability, while Entertainment Weekly found her acting convincing in a scene in which Amy tells Jake (Samberg) that "[n]othing's going to happen" between them romantically. Journalists lauded the rest of the season and deemed the cast "winning". In 2015, Brooklyn cast garnered a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Fumero's personal performance garnered her an Imagen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress; she would later receive three more nominations for her work on the same show in 2016, 2019, and 2022.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine third season premiered in September 2015. Fumero said she found comic acting much easier, having become more familiar with Amy's character; she added that she had "fallen into a real groove and rhythm" with the manner she approached scenes. +more During the season's production, Fumero was pregnant, which led to a storyline in which Amy goes undercover as a pregnant lady. The directors and camera operators also used other methods to hide Fumero's pregnancy, such as having her stand behind things. Of the experience, she said, "I don't recommend it", citing difficulties in memorizing her lines and focusing on a scene. Brooklyn fourth and fifth seasons aired from September 2016 to May 2018. Both were acclaimed by critics, who continued to praise the ensemble.

In May 2018, Fox canceled Brooklyn after five seasons. The news quickly became the subject of social media campaigns for the show to be renewed. +more A day after the cancelation, NBC accepted an offer to air the show for a sixth season. Fumero described the experience as "the most intense and emotional 36 hours of my life". On January 10, 2019, the season debuted to an audience of 3. 6 million, the show's highest ratings in two years. Over its eighteen-episode run, it received 3. 1 million total viewers. Critics also gave unanimous praise. The Hollywood Reporter commented that the season premiere was "a quick and easy reminder of how good Fumero and Samberg are together"; the magazine thought Samberg's smaller moments gave her the chance to be "wonderfully broad". Her performance in the #MeToo-themed episode "He Said, She Said" garnered particular praise: Den of Geek found her phenomenal; TVLine named her their performer of the week, calling her performance "understated yet effective" and commending her "soft-spoken tone[, which] captured the broken spirit of a woman burdened by victimhood, whose self-worth was forever sullied by the actions of a man who had power over her and chose to abuse it".

After Fumero complained about a director, her manager asked whether she was considering directing. Though Fumero dismissed the possibility, her manager had her direct a webisode, which she "ended up really loving". +more She was hesitant to ask NBC to let her direct an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, although she felt more women of color should be directing: "I didn't ask this season, because it was NBC and . we're women, and like, I don't wanna ruffle any feathers and it was like, I can't ask a boy to dance, they have to ask me. " After the network ordered five additional episodes and Joe Lo Truglio and Beatriz told her they were applying, Fumero did so as well. She made her directorial debut in the episode "Return of the King" in 2019. It received mixed reviews, with The A. V. Club stating: "It's interesting to see Amy essentially direct Rosa to bizarre greatness as Melissa Fumero is actually directing this entire oddity of an episode. " For her vocal performance in Disney Junior's Elena of Avalor as Antonia-the titular character's seamstress and, later, the first female member of the royal guard-she earned her fourth Imagen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She later appeared in Brooklyn seventh season and the reboot of 1975 television series One Day at a Time. Fumero thought the latter was "especially huge" since she worked with Gloria Estefan, whose songs she listened to as a child.

2021-present: M.O.D.O.K and Blockbuster

In the animated series +moreD. O. K. _(TV_series)'>M. O. D. O. K. , Fumero voiced Melissa Tarleton, the titular character's 17-year-old daughter who wants to gain his approval as a supervillain. When she auditioned, she was not given any information about the show; once she learned Patton Oswalt would help develop and write the show, Fumero agreed to the role, knowing it was "going to be hilarious". Of the show's premise, Fumero said: "I just thought that take was super fun and fresh to do a show from the point of view of a supervillain, to dive into what his family life could potentially be in this world of villains and supervillains. " The show was released on May 21, 2021, to critical acclaim, with particular praise for its cast. Commenting on Fumero's voice acting, Comic Book Resources asserted she "[brings Melissa] to life with just the right amount of teenaged moodiness".

Brooklyn Nine-Nine eighth and final season began its broadcast on August 12, 2021, with the episodes "The Good Ones" and "The Lake House". Both garnered positive reviews, with The A. +moreV. Club praising Fumero as one of the "comedic centerpieces" of the former. Overall reviews were mostly positive. Fumero compared the experience of leaving Brooklyn to high school graduation:[Y]ou're so proud that you did the thing and you reached this moment, but you're also so sad because deep down, you know all your friends are going to different colleges and you're never going to see them again. It's that mix of really proud and grateful.

In 2022, Fumero was cast in Netflix comedy Blockbuster as Eliza, a devoted mother whose marriage to her teenage boyfriend is experiencing difficulties. The first episode is expected to premiere on November 3, 2022. +more Fumero is reported to be starring in comedy film Bar Fight!. It follows former couple Nina (Fumero) and Allen (Luka Jones), who divided everything within their life after their break-up to prevent drama, except their favorite local bar-which causes a battle between them. The film is set to be released on November 11, 2022. That year, she joined the cast of adult animated television series Digman!, reuniting with Samberg, the voice of the titular character and co-creator of the show.

Public image

Fumero appeared in The Hollywood Reporter "Young Hispanic Hollywood Class of 2013". In 2016, Variety listed her as one of its "10 Latinos to Watch". +more Women's Health included her in a list of "50 Latina and Hispanic Actresses Who Are Changing Hollywood for the Better" in 2021.

Personal life

On the set of One Life to Live, Gallo met actor and former model David Fumero, a fellow Cuban-American who also appears on the show. The two became engaged in late 2006 and married on December 9, 2007, in New Jersey, with Gallo taking Fumero's name. +more They have two sons: Enzo (born March 24, 2016) and Axel (born February 14, 2020).

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2007DescentDorm girlUncredited
2008Tiny DancerAtiCredited as Melissa Gallo
2009I Hope They Serve Beer in HellMelissa
2013The House That Jack BuiltLily
2017DriverXJessica
2019A Stone in the WaterAlex
2022Bar Fight!NinaPost-production

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2004-2011One Life to Live208 episodes
2005All My Children2 episodes
2009Important Things with Demetri MartinAprilEpisode: "Coolness"
2010Gossip GirlZoe5 episodes
2010The MentalistEpisode: "Red Letter"
2011Royal PainsBrookeEpisode: "Pit Stop"
2012CSI: NYEpisode: "The Real McCoy"
2013Men at WorkAprilEpisode: "The New Boss"
2013-2021Brooklyn Nine-NineMain role 153 episodes Directed episode: "Return of the King"
2014Top Chef DuelsHerselfEpisode: "Jen Carroll vs. Nyesha Arrington"
2015, 2019Hollywood Game NightHerself2 episodes
2016Mack & MoxyThe AdmirableEpisode: "A Bop-Topus' Garden"
2017+moreS. _TV_series)'>Hell's KitchenHerselfEpisode: "A Little Slice of Hell"
2018The $100,000 PyramidHerselfEpisode: "Bobby Moynihan vs. Melissa Fumero"
2019-2020One Day at a TimeEstrellita2 episodes
2019America's Got Talent: The ChampionsHerselfEpisode: "The Champions Results Finale"
2019-2020Elena of AvalorAntonia (voice)3 episodes
2020She-Ra and the Princesses of PowerStarla (voice)Episode: "Stranded"
2020Match GameHerselfEpisode: "Shooting Blanks"
2020Big City GreensCantaloupe Sinclair (voice)Episode: "Dolled Up"
2020Room 104EvaEpisode: "Bangs"
2021M. O. D. O. K. Melissa Tarleton (voice)Main role 8 episodes
2021Diary of a Future PresidentMs. Ortega2 episodes
2022Grand CrewN/ADirected episode: "Wine & Hip Hop"
2022Gordita ChroniclesN/ADirected episode: "In America You Get What You Pay For"
2022BlockbusterEliza WalkerPost-production Main role
VelmaSophie (voice)Upcoming TV Series
.

Web

YearTitleRoleNotes
2009Haute & BotheredJo11 episodes
2011Half EmptyJillShort film
2017Mourners, Inc.Episode: "Pilot"
2018Stolen HeartsEricaShort film

Audiobooks

YearTitleRole
2018The Land I Lost (Ghosts of the Shadow Market 7)Narrator

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryWorkResult
2015Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesBrooklyn Nine-NineNominated
2015Imagen AwardsBest Supporting Actress - TelevisionBrooklyn Nine-NineNominated
2016Imagen AwardsBest Supporting Actress - TelevisionBrooklyn Nine-NineNominated
2019Imagen AwardsBest Supporting Actress - TelevisionBrooklyn Nine-NineNominated
2020Imagen AwardsBest Supporting Actress - TelevisionElena of AvalorNominated
2022Imagen AwardsBest Supporting Actress - Comedy (Television)Brooklyn Nine-NineWon

Notes

Living people

People from North Bergen, New Jersey