Rosanna DeSoto

Rosanna DeSoto (born September 2, 1950)[2] is an American actress who has performed in films and television. She is best known for her roles in Stand and Deliver, for which she won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female,[3][4] and in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as Azetbur, the daughter of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon.[5][6]

Rosanna DeSoto
Born (1950-09-02) September 2, 1950
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Jonathan Taplin (1974—1978)
David S. Ward (1980—present)

Her other film roles include La Bamba (1987) as Ritchie Valens' mother Connie Valenzuela;[7] and Family Business (1989) as the wife of Vito McMullen (Dustin Hoffman).[8]

DeSoto's first television role was in the series A.E.S. Hudson Street (1978) as Nurse Rosa Santiago.[9] She starred in the short-lived series The Redd Foxx Show (1986).[10] She has made guest appearances on many television series, including Cannon, Kung Fu, Barnaby Jones, Barney Miller, Melrose Place, Murder, She Wrote, The Bold and the Beautiful and Law & Order.

Early life and education

DeSoto was born in San Jose, California on September 2, 1950.[1][2][4][11] Both of her parents were Mexican immigrants from Michoacán. DeSoto had four brothers and four sisters, making her one of nine siblings. She spent her early years handpicking fruit, particularly apples.[4]

DeSoto graduated from San Jose State University, double majoring in Spanish literature and drama. During her tenure at SJSU, DeSoto rehearsed and performed with the Light Opera Company.[4]


DeSoto made her film debut in 1979 with The In-Laws.[4] She appeared opposite Nick Nolte and Debra Winger in Cannery Row (1982).[4] DeSoto won the Golden Eagle Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982).[4] In 1986, she appeared opposite Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in About Last Night, playing Mrs. Lyons.[1][4] That same year, she portrayed waitress Diana Olmos in the short-lived sitcom, The Redd Foxx Show.[10][12][13][14]

In 1987, DeSoto appeared in the biographic film La Bamba. In that film, she portrayed Connie Valenzuela, the mother of Ritchie Valens, played by Lou Diamond Phillips.[1][4][6][7] The next year, DeSoto collaborated with Phillips again in the 1988 biopic Stand and Deliver, where she portrayed Fabiola Escalante, the wife of Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos).[1][4] Her performance garnered her an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.[3][4]

In 1989, she played the wife of Dustin Hoffman's character in Family Business.[1][4][8] That same year, she landed the principal role in Face of the Enemy.[4] She also played Azetbur in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).[4][5][6] DeSoto portrayed Linda in The 24 Hour Woman (1999).[1] She has also acted in the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful.[6]

DeSoto wrote and appeared in “A Woman in Progress/Canto de Oro, Cuento de Mujer” that was produced by the Intar Theater group in New York in 2005.[6]

Personal life

From 1974 to 1978, DeSoto was married to Jonathan Taplin. They have one daughter, Daniela (born June 1976).[4][15][16]

DeSoto has been married to David S. Ward since September 20, 1980.[17] They have a daughter, Sylvana Ward Durrett (born 1981).[4][6][18]

DeSoto is also the aunt of Ken Ramoz, who appeared in such films as Gettysburg (1993) and Getting Even with Dad (1994).[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1979The In-LawsEvita
1982The Ballad of Gregorio CortezCarlota Muñoz
1982Cannery RowEllen Sedgewick
1986About Last Night...Mrs. Lyons
1987La BambaConnie Valenzuela
1988Stand and DeliverFabiola Escalante
1989Family BusinessElaine McMullen
1989Face of the EnemyNelioufar Mobbasser
1991San Juan StoryOlga TorresShort
1991Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered CountryAzetbur
1999The 24 Hour WomanLinda
2000Mambo CaféCarmen
2001Wooly BoysMartinez
2005Once Upon a WeddingSonia


Year Title Role Notes
1972CannonElena Duran1 episode
1973The Mod SquadDolores1 episode
1973Kung FuKiona1 episode
1975-1979Barney MillerMiss del Fuego/Elena Elezando/Teresa Tasco4 episodes
1975Harry OEdwina1 episode
1975McMillan & WifeKatina1 episode
1976The Streets of San FranciscoAngie1 episode
1978A.E.S. Hudson StreetNurse Rosa SantiagoRegular; 5 episodes
1978RhodaReceptionist1 episode
1978The White ShadowSpanish Teacher1 episode
1979AngieNurse Alonzo1 episode
1979Lou GrantAngela Cariaga1 episode
1979ParisMarisa Gomez1 episode
1978Three Hundred Miles for StephanieLydia
1982American PlayhouseCarlota Muñoz1 episode
1983Condo1 episode
1983Women of San QuentinAdela Reynosa
1985Punky BrewsterRita J. Sanchez2 episodes
1985-1987Miami ViceErendira/Maria Lupe Cruz2 episodes
1986The Redd Foxx ShowDiana OlmosRegular; 7 episodes
1986Joe BashMaria1 episode
1988-1996Murder She WroteConsuela Schaeffer/Maria Galvan/Iza Decalde3 episodes
1992Melrose PlaceDelia Saldana2 episodes
1992Child of RageDoris
1992Law & OrderMrs. Ortega1 episode
1993Quantum LeapFiddler1 episode
1995Picture WindowsLayla1 episode
1995Kissing MirandaCarmen Ortega1 episode
1996Walker, Texas RangerCora Reynolds1 episode
1997InvasionNancy Ochoa
1998Thicker Than BloodSeñora
2000Chicago HopeLulu1 episode
2001Strong MedicineDr. Elena Gomez1 episode
2001The Bold and the BeautifulLiliana Dominguez6 episodes


  1. Rosanna DeSoto
  3. Stand and Deliver awards and nominations at The New York Times
  4. Telgen, Diane (1993). Notable Hispanic American Women. VNR AG. ISBN 9780810375789.
  5. Maslin, Janet (6 December 1991). "Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country (1991) Review/Film; Aging Trekkers to the Rescue One Last Time. Really". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  6. "Sylvana Soto-Ward, Adam Durrett". The New York Times. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  7. Longsdorf, Amy (18 October 2014). "'Days' a strong addition to 'X-Men' franchise". Courier-Post. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  8. Canby, Vincent (15 December 1989). "Family Business (1989) Review/Film; 'Family Business,' a 3-Generation Caper". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  9. Leszczak, Bob (1993). Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide. McFarland. ISBN 9780786493050.
  10. "Redd Foxx Is Back". Jet. 10 February 1986. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  11. Berumen, Frank Javier Garcia (2014). Latino Image Makers in Hollywood: Performers, Filmmakers and Films Since the 1960s. McFarland. ISBN 9781476614113.
  12. "New Black Shows Make Debut in TV's Mid-Season Changes". Jet. 27 January 1986. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  13. Margulies, Lee (17 January 1986). "Tv Review : Redd Foxx In New Show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  14. "National Report: Foxx Felled By a Heart Attack Taping TV Show; Calls for Wife and Dies". Jet. 28 October 1991. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  15. Jonathan Taplin overview at Turner Classic Movies
  16. Rosanna DeSoto overview at Turner Classic Movies
  17. David S. Ward biography at
  18. "Sylvana Ward Durrett and Daniela Taplin Lundberg's Birthday Party". Vogue. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  19. "TAEM interview with screenwriter Ken Ramoz". December 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
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