|Born||in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico|
|Height||6' (1.83 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Oliver Rayón was born just east of Mexico City, in the colonial city of Puebla, the historic, cultural, and economic capital of the state of Puebla, México. He was four years old when his single mother brought him to Southern California. He grew up first in Bellflower, and later Santa Ana, California. Oliver loved sports and played Pop Warner Football and National Junior Basketball. But music was unquestionably his first love. He sang in the choir throughout elementary school and junior high school, and won recognition as a soloist. In high school show choir, he learned about musical theater productions and ventured to audition. His first acting roles were in "Guys and Dolls" and "Babes in Arms". He went beyond school productions to perform in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", and played Vittorio Vidal in "Sweet Charity". All indicators seemed to point to a future in the performing arts. By the end of high school, Oliver decided on a different course. He had a talent for math and science. His inquisitive side was captivated by avionics and the promise of flight. He logically joined the Air Force ROTC to become an electrical engineer and pilot.
Performing to engage an audience proved to be Oliver's clear calling. He inevitably left the Air Force ROTC. While attending Orange Coast College (OCC), he rekindled his love of performing and ultimately set his goals firmly on acting. Being quickly cast in several college theater productions affirmed his decision. He was first cast as Estaban in the one-act play "Lynette at 3 a.m.", partly by virtue of his reputation as an actor in high school, and also because he was bilingual in Spanish and English. He was invited to audition and was simultaneously cast in two additional one-act plays. He went on to play Montano in an OCC production of William Shakespeare's "Othello", and reveled in his favorite role as Herb in an OCC production of the musical "Godspell".
A new era of acting began for Oliver at California State University, Long Beach. Hugh O'Gorman introduced him to the Michael Chekhov Technique, and helped him begin to act with specificity and focus. The high point of his training at CSULB, and indeed his entire early career, was working under the direction of Anne D'Zmura in a production of Mary Zimmerman's "Metamorphoses" (Fall 2006). Each cast member played multiple parts. Oliver played Zeus, Erysichthon, Cinyras, and others. Coaching from William Francis McGuire in voice, diction, and text exploration was invaluable to his performance in the play and beyond. Working with D'Zmura gave him insight into the art of directing, and vision for a career beyond acting. Oliver added the role of Shalva, the Adjutant in Bertolt Brecht's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" to his list of CSULB theater credits (Fall 2007). Rounding out his college training, Philip Charles MacKenzie helped him to strengthen his grasp of technique and craft and translate it to an on-camera environment. His college career ended with a BA in Theater Arts from CSULB (June 2007).
Oliver's artistic and professional standards were largely shaped by his training at The Actors Center in New York City (Summer 2006). The intensive schedule and rigorous work cemented his commitment to the craft of acting. The instructors were all masters in their fields of specialization. Oliver studied Fitzmaurice Voicework with Grace Zandarski, Balinese mask work with Per Brahe, movement with Felix Ivanov, and scene study with Scott Freeman, who guided him towards a realistic acting style that he now considers to be second nature. Acting ideally gives Oliver opportunities to tell stories that deeply impact audiences. As a student of filmmaking, he counts John Cassavetes, Guillermo del Toro, Pedro Almodóvar, Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Quinn, Meryl Streep, and Daniel Day-Lewis among his many influences. He learned piano as an adult and makes music in his spare time.
Adaptable to acting on stage, television, and film, Oliver's credits reflect his commitment to versatility and craft. Some of his early roles were on local-market TV shows [The Heartbreak Cafe (1997), Secretos (2004)]. Followed quickly by star billing in short films that became a part of the film festival circuit [Good Day LA (2007), Lawnchairs & Grappling Hooks (2008), Vlad & Antoinette (2008), New Filmmaking (2009)]. Along with a stint as a recurring character on the Univision telenovela No Me Hallo (2011). His latest TV appearances have come on the long-running daytime soaps General Hospital (1963), Days of Our Lives (1965), The Bold and the Beautiful (1987), the crime drama spin-off Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (2016) and the comedy Workaholics (2011).
Fluency in two languages gives him depth and authenticity in his personal and professional roles. Being multi-ethnic (Mexican, Spanish, German) lends credibility to the diversity of characters he plays. He has convincingly played the Latin romantic with a passion for the paranormal [Paranormal Incident (2011)], the all-American assistant left in charge of a frightening turn-of-events [Reality Terror Night (2013)], and an Italian heavy infected by mutated creatures [Stem Cell (2009)], among others.
His principal role in the star-studded play revival "La Victima", in the company with esteemed actors Lupe Ontiveros, Sal Lopez and Geoffrey Rivas under the skillful direction of José Luis Valenzuela, was his first foray into professional theater. Other high points in his diverse stage career include the touring production of the passion play "Viva Cristo Rey," directed by Ángel Durán & the immersive theatrical experience "Accomplice: San Diego" written and directed by Tom Salamon for the prestigious La Jolla Playhouse.
Oliver continues to add leading and supporting roles in a range of independent feature films like In Transit (2018), Spermicide (2014) and Mega Summer Hit: A Slam Dunkumentary (2014). He also appears in a number of films that were in rotation on the SyFy Channel, including War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave (2008), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), 2010: Moby Dick (2010) and Silent Venom (2009).
His most prominent work came alongside the venerable Lin Shaye in the indie thriller, Room for Rent (2019), written by Stuart Flack and directed by Tommy Stovall. And most notably in Doc Holliday's Revenge (2014), a Western feature film by Lionsgate & Rapid Hearts Pictures starring Tom Berenger and Eric Roberts, where he played the infamous Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz. Oliver's acting endeavors have recently led him to produce his own content where he collaborated with collegemates Thomas Kellogg, Kyle Newacheck and Ryan Max O'Melia to co-create the dramatic web-series Studio City Kings (2016).
- IMDb Mini Biography By: E. Pennington