David Zayas used to dream of being an actor like so many of us during childhood. We all know that he made his dreams become reality, but what most of us have no idea is that his road to the acting career was problematic and turbulent in many ways. Unlike the rest of Dexter’s crew, David was the actual member of New York’s police department. After quitting his job as a police officer he played Enrique Morales, the infamous inmate on HBO’s Oz, as well as his most notable role, Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter. His life was a collection of many small stories that at the end made out the large novel which we can look at today and rethink the glamorous life of one of our favourite characters.
At first glance, David Zayas looks just like another guy that you befriend on your bachelor party night in Valencia, but just as you stop for a moment to hear his story, things start to unfold in unpredicted direction. Not many of us know how hard today’s star use to struggle in his early age.
The dream of becoming a star of tv screens was born when David was 13. He went to the movies with his cousins to watch Al Pacino during mid-seventies and the glamour he witnessed on big screen magnetized his mind forever.
“I sat in the front row and my cousins all went to the back and they had their girlfriends and I was by myself in the front row,” Zayas says. “I was fascinated. This was the art that was attractive to me.”
He stated many times that these nights at the cinema planted a seed in his mind about his future acting career, but he was rethinking that idea for another two decades.
David grew up in the Bronx. His dad was a sanitation man and living in a very blue-collar type of family was everything but luxurious.
He stated many times how he remembers exactly the night he said to his father how he wants to become an actor.
“He looked at me like I was thinking outside of the reality of where we were at, and I respected my father. He was a good man, he was a good father, so I kind of like, really just put it in the back of my head. I really didn’t pursue it much.”
Instead, Zayas joined the Air Force when he was 19. He later became a police officer with the New York City Police Department. Those were the years when the crack epidemic was ruling over NY city and a lot of violence used to happen around every corner. David was in his late 20′ and everything but satisfied with his at the time job and future. While his job was exciting, Zayas admits he didn’t love it. He felt burnt out completely and he was constantly rethinking his life.
“I went to an acting school while I was still a cop,” Zayas says. “The moment I was involved in that world, it electrified me and I realized that it was something that I wanted to do.”
Practising his audition lines with his colleague during night patrols he capt practising and one night he went to audition for a small part in TV Series pilot called The Beat.
Coincidentally, there were casting directors sitting in the audience the night of his performance. And before you know it, not only that they were satisfied with his performance but they offered him an opportunity to act as Enrique Morales in the famous HBO’s series Oz.
And from that night on, the world had a new acting persona that wins us over us with his cheerful attitude and frightening eyes when needed.