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List of Stateside Puerto Ricans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of Puerto Ricans in the continental United States and Hawaii, including people born in the US proper of Puerto Rican descent and Puerto Ricans who live in the US proper. Since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US, it is easier to migrate to the US proper from Puerto Rico than from anywhere else in Latin America. Currently, more than 5.5 million Puerto Ricans and their descendants live in the US proper, significantly more than the population of Puerto Rico itself. The following list contains notable members of the Puerto Rican community.

Television show hosts


Actors and actresses

Directors, producer and screenwriters of films, theater and TV

Singers and musicians

Alphabetized by surname

Tito Puente, singer
Gilberto Santa Rosa
Gilberto Santa Rosa


  • Hoax – alternative rock band, including Frantz N. Cesar of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent
  • Kane & Abel – rap duo of twin brothers Daniel and David Garcia; of African American and Puerto Rican descent
  • Nina Sky – twin sister singers; American of Puerto Rican parents[104]
  • Sweet Sensation – Puerto Rican female freestyle-dance music trio of New York
  • TKA – Latin freestyle trio, prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s
  • Wisin & Yandel – Puerto Rican group

Models and dancers


  • Nelson Erazo – American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name "Homicide"; of Puerto Rican descent
  • Justin Fargas – American football running back; free agent in the NFL; son of Antonio Fargas
  • Sunny Garcia – American professional surfer
  • Ernie Gonzalez  – American professional golfer of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent.
  • Herbert Lewis Hardwick, aka "Cocoa Kid" (1914–1966) – boxer, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012; born in Puerto Rico; Puerto Rican mother, African American father[117]
  • James "Chico" Hernandez – American Sambo athlete; a seven-time member of the USA National Team
  • Oscar Hernandez – musician, musical arranger and American producer; of Puerto Rican descent[68]
  • Shawn Hernandez – American professional wrestler, better known by his ring names "Hotstuff Hernandez" and "Hernandez"; of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent
  • Reggie Jackson – nicknamed "Mr. October" for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the New York Yankees; former American Major League Baseball right fielder; father was Martinez Jackson, half Puerto Rican[118]
  • Butch Lee – NBA player; born in Puerto Rico, raised in New York
  • Michael Lowell – Puerto Rican Major League Baseball third baseman for the Boston Red Sox; Puerto Rican born, American raised[119]
  • Edgar Martínez – nicknamed "Gar" and "Papi"; former Major League Baseball third baseman and designated hitter
  • Vanessa Martínez – Puerto Rican swimmer, represented Puerto Rico at the 2003 Pan American Games
  • Denise Masino – American professional female bodybuilder from the U.S.
  • Carlos Ortiz – Puerto Rican three-time world boxing champion, twice in the lightweight division and once in the junior welterweights
  • Sam Parrilla (1943–1994) – left fielder and pinch-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1970; played in the minor leagues 1963–1972; father of actress Lana Parrilla
  • Travis Pastrana – American motorsports competitor and stunt performer
  • Orlando Perez – American footballer of C.D. Chivas USA
  • Rico Ramos – American super bantamweight boxer and current WBA world super bantamweight champion
  • Ramón Rivas – Puerto Rican professional basketball player; born in New York, of Puerto Rican descent
  • Jorge Rivera – American mixed martial artist; featured on The Ultimate Fighter 4; of Puerto Rican descent; born in Massachusetts; lived in Puerto Rico for a short time as a child[120]
  • Ron Rivera – American football player and head coach[121]
  • Chi Chi Rodriguez – Puerto Rican professional golfer
  • John Ruiz – former American professional boxer[122]
  • Daniel Santiago – professional American basketball player; of Puerto Rican descent
  • Lisa Marie Varon – American professional wrestler, bodybuilder and fitness competitor; of Puerto Rican and Turkish descent


  • Salvador Agrón, aka "The Capeman" (1943–1986) – Puerto Rican gang member who murdered two teenagers in a Hell's Kitchen park in 1959
  • Ariel Castro – former school bus driver who kidnapped, raped, and tortured three women in Cleveland, Ohio and held them captive for a decade
  • Raymond Márquez, aka "Spanish Raymond" – reputed American gangster; parents are from Puerto Rico[123]
  • José Padilla, aka Abdullah al-Muhajir or Muhajir Abdullah – American convicted of aiding terrorists
  • Joshua Rosa – American convicted murderer in the state of Florida; parents are Puerto Rican


Mari Carmen Aponte
Mari Carmen Aponte



Judges and law enforcement

  • Jose Báez – criminal defense attorney; notable for his defense of accused child murderer Casey Anthony
  • José A. Cabranes – judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; formerly a practicing lawyer, government official, and law teacher; first Puerto Rican appointed to a federal judgeship in the continental US
  • Albert Díaz – American judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; parents are Puerto Rican[138]
  • Dora Irizarry – Puerto Rican federal judge in New York
  • Irma Lozada – first female police officer to die in action in New York[142]
  • José Meléndez-Pérez – Puerto Rican-born U.S. Customs and Border Protection Inspector at Orlando International Airport who became a key figure for the 9/11 Commission when he refused entry to an alleged terrorist prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks
  • Carmen Ortiz – prosecutor attorney, Boston, Massachusetts; American born
  • Juan Pérez-Giménez – Puerto Rican born, U.S. federal judge in senior status
  • Roberto A. Rivera-Soto – Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court; American born, Puerto Rican raised
  • Vanessa Ruiz – Puerto Rican associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest court for the District of Columbia[143]
  • Benito Romano – first American of Puerto Rican heritage to hold the US Attorney's post in New York on an interim basis
  • Joe Sánchez – American highly decorated former New York City police officer; author whose books give an insight as to the corruption within the department; parents are Puerto Rican[144]
  • Sonia Maria Sotomayor – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S. since August 2009; the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice[145]
  • Edgardo Ramos – United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York since 2011.
  • Edwin Torres – New York state supreme court judge and author; parents are Puerto Rican[146]
  • Juan R. Torruella – Puerto Rican jurist; currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; first and to date only Hispanic to serve in that court


  • Domingo Arroyo, Jr. (1971–1993) – U.S. Marine; first Puerto Rican and American serviceman killed in Operation Restore Hope during the Somalian Civil War; his family moved to the US when he was 14, seeking better living conditions
  • Joseph B. Avilés (1897–1990) – served in the U.S. Navy and later in the Coast Guard; in 1925, became the first Hispanic Chief Petty Officer in the US Coast Guard; Puerto Rican, lived in Maryland[147]
  • Rafael Celestino Benítez (1917–1999) – highly decorated submarine commander who led the rescue effort of the crew members of the USS Cochino during the Cold War
  • José M. Cabanillas (1901–1979) – Puerto Rican executive Officer of the USS Texas, which participated in the invasions of North Africa and the Battle of Normandy (D-Day) during World War II; died in Virginia
  • Iván Castro – U.S. Army officer who has continued serving on active duty in the Special Forces despite losing his eyesight; parents are Puerto Rican[148]
  • Richard Carmona – American physician and public health administrator[149]
  • Carmen Contreras-Bozak (born 1919) – first Hispanic to serve in the U.S. Women's Army Corps, where she served as an interpreter and in numerous administrative positions; Puerto Rican; lives in Tampa, Florida[150]
  • Linda García Cubero – former U.S. Air Force officer; of Mexican-American-Puerto Rican descent
  • Rubén A. Cubero – highly decorated member of the U.S. Air Force; first Hispanic graduate of the US Air Force Academy to be named Dean of the Faculty of the academy; parents were Puerto Rican[151]
  • Alberto Díaz, Jr. – first Hispanic Director of the San Diego Naval District and Balboa Naval Hospital; Puerto Rican born and raised
  • Rafael O'Ferrall – United States Army officer; first Hispanic of Puerto Rican descent to become the Deputy Commanding General for the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • Salvador E. Felices (1923–1987) – first Puerto Rican to reach the rank of major general (two-star) in the U.S. Air Force; died in Florida
  • Diego E. Hernández – retired US Navy officer; first Hispanic to be named Vice Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command; Puerto Rican resident of Miami
  • Lester Martínez López, MD, MPH (born 1955) – first Hispanic to head the Army Medical and Research Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland
  • Carlos Lozada (1946–1967) – member of the U.S. Army; one of five Puerto Ricans who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for their actions in combat; Puerto Rican born, raised in New York City
  • Ángel Méndez (1946–1967) – U.S. Marine, posthumously awarded the Navy Cross
  • Virgil Rasmuss Miller (1900–1968) – U.S. Army officer who served as Regimental Commander of the 442d Regimental Combat Team, a unit composed of "Nisei" (second generation Americans of Japanese descent), during World War II[152]
  • Héctor Andrés Negroni – Puerto Rican historian, senior aerospace defense executive, author; first Puerto Rican graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy; lives in Vienna, Virginia[153]
  • Antonia Novello – Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator; US Surgeon General
  • María Inés Ortiz (1967–2007) – first American nurse to die in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom; first Army nurse to die in combat since the Vietnam War; parents were Puerto Rican
  • Evelio Otero, Jr. – former officer in the U.S. Air Force who led the establishment of the first ever US Central Command Headquarters in Qatar
  • Héctor E. Pagán – U.S. Army officer; first Hispanic of Puerto Rican descent to become Deputy Commanding General of the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • José M. Portela – retired officer of the U.S. Air Force; served in the position of Assistant Adjutant General for Air while also serving as commander of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard
  • Marion Frederic Ramírez de Arellano (1913–1980) – submarine commander in the US Navy; first Hispanic submarine commanding officer
  • Frederick Lois Riefkohl (1889–1969) – Puerto Rican officer in the U.S. Navy; first Puerto Rican to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and to be awarded the Navy Cross; lived and died in Florida[154]
  • Rudolph W. Riefkohl (1885–1950) – US Army officer; instrumental in helping the people of Poland overcome the 1919 typhus epidemic[155]
  • Manuel Rivera, Jr. (1959–1991) – first American serviceman of Puerto Rican descent to die in Operation Desert Shield[156]
  • Pedro N. Rivera – retired Puerto Rican US Air Force officer; in 1994 became the first Hispanic medical commander in the Air Force; lives in Alexandria, Virginia[157]
  • Elmelindo Rodrigues Smith (1935–1967) – U.S. Army soldier posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War; of Puerto Rican descent
  • Augusto Rodríguez – Puerto Rican officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War; immigrated to the US in the 1850s[158]
  • Pedro Rodríguez (1912–1999) – earned two Silver Stars within a seven-day period during the Korean War; Puerto Rican; died in Washington, D.C.[159]
  • Fernando E. Rodríguez Vargas (1888–1932) – Puerto Rican odontologist (dentist), scientist and a major in the US Army; discovered the bacteria which causes cavities; died in Washington, D.C.
  • Maritza Sáenz Ryan – U.S. Army officer; head of the Department of Law at the US Military Academy; first woman and first Hispanic West Point graduate to serve as an academic department head; Puerto Rican father, Spanish mother[160]
  • Héctor Santiago-Colón (1942–1968) – one of five Puerto Ricans posthumously presented with the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S.; Puerto Rican from New York[161]
  • Frankie Segarra – first Hispanic to reach the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant in his military occupational specialty, 0451 air delivery specialist; parents were Puerto Rican[162]
  • Frances M. Vega (1983–2003) – first female soldier of Puerto Rican descent to die in a combat zone, in Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Pedro del Valle (1893–1978) – U.S. Marine Corps officer; first Hispanic to reach the rank of lieutenant general; in 1900 his family emigrated to the US and became US citizens[163]
  • Humbert Roque Versace (1937–1965) – American U.S. Army officer of Puerto Rican-Italian descent; awarded the US' highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions while a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War[164]


Rubén Díaz, Jr.
Rubén Díaz, Jr.
Maurice Ferre
Maurice Ferre
Josie Serrano
Josie Serrano
Gloria Tristani
Gloria Tristani

Visual arts

  • Olga Albizu (1924–2005) – Puerto Rican abstract expressionist painter; emigrated to New York in 1948[177]
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988) – visual artist; African-American of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent[178]
  • David Blaine – American illusionist, magician, and endurance artist; of Puerto Rican-Russian Jewish descent[179]
  • Rafael Ferrer – Puerto Rican artist; 1993 recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts; 2011 recipient of an Annalee and Barnett Newman Foundation Grant
  • Elizabeth Marrero – Puerto Rican performance artist, comedian, known as Macha, the "papi chulo drag king," a character she created in 1999; lives in the US
  • Soraida Martínez – contemporary abstract expressionist artist who creates hard-edge paintings; American of Puerto Rican descent[180]
  • Ralph Ortiz – American artist, educator, and founder of El Museo del Barrio
  • Manuel Rivera-Ortiz – Puerto Rican documentary photographer; lives in the US[181]
  • Joe Shannon – prolific artist with permanent exhibits in multiple museums in the United States[182]
  • Filipo Tirado, aka "Pepe Locuaz" – Puerto Rican puppeteer

Civil rights and activists

Physicians and scientists


  • Nicky Cruz (born 1938) – Christian evangelist; founder of Nicky Cruz Outreach, an evangelistic Christian ministry
  • Alberto Cutié – Puerto Rican Episcopal cleric better known as Padre Alberto; ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1995; became an internationally recognizable name by hosting television and radio programs
  • José Luis de Jesús – founder and leader of Creciendo en Gracia's Christian ministry (Growing In Grace International Ministry, Inc.), based in Miami, Florida
  • Bavi Edna Rivera, aka "Nedi" – American suffragan bishop and Episcopal priest; daughter of the late bishop Victor Manuel Rivera and an Anglo mother[194]
  • Víctor Manuel Rivera (1916–2005) – Puerto Rican born American Episcopalian priest and bishop


  • John Meléndez, aka "Stuttering John" – American television writer and former radio personality
  • Nicholasa Mohr – one of the best known Nuyorican writers[206]
  • Micol Ostow – American author, editor and educator; Jewish-American father, Puerto Rican mother[207]
  • George Pérez – Puerto Rican-American writer and illustrator of comic books; his family moved from Caguas to the New York area in the 1940s[208]
  • Pedro Pietri (1944–2004) – Nuyorican poet and playwright; co-founded the Nuyorican Poets Cafe; Puerto Rican born and American raised[209]
  • Carmen M. Pursifull – former New York City Latin dance and Latin American music figure of the 1950s, and since 1970 in Illinois; English-language free verse poet; of Puerto Rican and Spanish descent[210]
  • Marie Teresa Ríos (1917–1999) – American author of a book which was the basis for the 1960s television sitcom The Flying Nun; of Puerto Rican and Irish descent[citation needed]
  • Ángel Rivero Méndez, wrote Crónica de la guerra hispano-americana en Puerto Rico, which is considered one of the most complete works written in regard to that military action
  • Esmeralda Santiago – Puerto Rican author and former actress known for her novels and memoirs
  • Tony Santiago – Puerto Rican military historian
  • Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, aka Arthur Schomburg (1874–1938) – Puerto Rican historian, writer, and activist in the US who raised awareness of the social contributions made by Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Americans; died in New York; immigrated to New York in 1891[211]
  • Piri Thomas (1928–2011) – writer and American poet; memoir Down These Mean Streets became a best-seller; Puerto Rican mother, Cuban father
  • Edwin Torres – Nuyorican poet
  • Ed Vega (1936–2008) – Puerto Rican novelist and short story writer[212]
  • Irene Vilar – editor, literary agent, author of books dealing with national and generational trauma and women's reproductive rights
  • William Carlos Williams (1883–1963) – American poet, closely associated with modernism and Imagism; of English and Puerto Rican descent[213]


See also


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