María Canals Barrera

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María Canals Barrera
File:Maria Canals Barrera 2010.jpg
Barrera in 2007
Born María Pilar Canals
(1966-09-28) September 28, 1966 (age 55)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater University of Miami (Florida)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) David Barrera
(m. 1999–present; 2 children)
Children 2

María Canals Barrera (born María Pilar Canals; September 28, 1966) is an American actress best known for her roles on television.

Canals Barrera co-starred in a number of short-lived sitcoms, worked as a voice actress, and appeared in several films. She is best known for her role as Theresa Russo in the Disney Channel family sitcom, Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012). She played the role of Connie Torres in Camp Rock (2008) and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010) and co-starred as Lala Pinedo in Larry Crowne (2011). As a voice actress, she is known as Shayera Hol/Hawkgirl in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. She also voiced the character of Sunset in the Disney Channel show, The Proud Family.

In 2014, Canals Barrera began starring as Daniela in the ABC comedy series, Cristela. She was set to co-star as Hilda in the ABC comedy-drama series Members Only; however, it got cancelled by ABC before its premiere.

Early life

Canals was born and raised in Miami, Florida to Cuban parents of Spanish (Catalan) descent.[1][2] Barrera also speaks Spanish and took drama classes in junior high.[3] She graduated from University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida with a degree in theater.[2]


In early years, Canals Barrera has worked extensively in theater in both Miami and Los Angeles. In 1992 she began starring on Telemundo Spanish-language telenovela Marielena. She later had the recurring role in the short-lived 1993 Fox comedy-drama series, Key West. In 1996 she was nominated for an Ovation Award for her performance in the stage play Changes of Heart.[2] During 1990s, Canals also guest starred in a number of television series, such as 21 Jump Street, Murder, She Wrote, Almost Perfect, and Caroline in the City. Her first regular role was on the short-lived NBC sitcom, The Tony Danza Show in 1997.

Canals Barrera at the 2010 Imagen Foundation Awards

In early 2000s, Canals Barrera had supporting roles in films America's Sweethearts, The Master of Disguise and Imagining Argentina. She has gained much recognition with comic book fans in recent years for her role as Hawkgirl/Shayera Hol on Bruce Timm's Justice League (2001-04) and Justice League Unlimited (2005-06) series. She also had a recurring role in Static Shock as Shelly Sandoval, a news reporter, and in Danny Phantom as Danny Fenton/Phantom's high school crush, Paulina. She also performed the voice of Mercedes "Meche" Colomar in the 1998 video game Grim Fandango. Canals also played incidental characters in two episodes on the TV series The Boondocks ("Grandad's Fight" and "Home Alone").

From 2007 to 2012, Canals Barrera co-starred as Theresa Russo, the mother of lead character, in the Disney Channel family sitcom, Wizards of Waverly Place. She also co-starred in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, a 2009 Disney Channel Original movie based on series. Canals Barrera also appeared in the Disney Channel Original Movies Camp Rock (2008) and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010), alongside Demi Lovato in the role of her mother, Connie Torres. In 2011 she appeared opposite Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne.

In 2014, Canals Barrera was cast as Hilda, the house manager of the country club where most of the action takes place, in the ABC soapy comedy-drama series, Members Only created by Susannah Grant.[4] Later in that year she joined the cast of ABC comedy series, Cristela, as Cristela Alonzo's character sister.[5]

Personal life

In 1990, Canals married actor David Barrera.[2] She lives with her husband and their two daughters, Bridget and Madeleine in Los Angeles, California, while a large percentage of her extended family lives in Miami, FL.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Cop and a Half Mrs. Bobo #2
1993 Harlan & Merleen Carmen Television film
1995 My Family Young Irene
2001 America's Sweethearts Adinah
2002 Bad Boy Woman at bar
2002 The Master of Disguise Sophia
2003 Imagining Argentina Esme Palomares
2003 Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico Sofia Otero Voice role
2005 The Proud Family Movie Sunset Boulevardez Voice role
2008 Camp Rock Connie Torres Television film
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Theresa Russo Television film
2010 Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam Connie Torres Television film
2011 Larry Crowne Lala Pinedo
2012 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part One Ellen Yindel Voice role
2013 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part Two Ellen Yindel Voice role
2013 Night of the Hipsters Barbara Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1990 21 Jump Street Rosina Episode: "La Bizca"
1991 Super Force Lori Wechsler 2 episodes
1992–1993 Corte Tropical Adrianita[citation needed]
1992–94 Marielena Nancy Recurring role
1993 Key West Fig Recurring role, 5 episodes
1994 Viper Carla Episode: "Wheels of Fire"
1994 Murder, She Wrote Carmen Episode: "Wheel of Death"
1995 Almost Perfect Carmen Episode: "You Like Me, You Really Like Me"
1996 Goode Behavior Denise Episode: "Goode Feelings"
1997–98 The Tony Danza Show Carmen Cruz Series regular 7 episodes
1998 Caroline in the City Maria Episode: "Caroline and the Toothbrush"
1998 Veronica's Closet Dannie Episode: "Veronica's a Partner Now"
1999 Beggars and Choosers Yolanda Recurring role
2000–03 Static Shock Shelly Sandoval, Hawkgirl Voice, 14 episodes
2000 That's Life Episode: "Bad Hair Week"
2001 Popular Candy Box Episode: "Fire in the Hole"
2001 The Brothers García Ms. Azteca Episode: "Love Is Very... Confusing"
2001–05 The Proud Family Sunset Boulevardez Voice, 19 episodes
2001–04 Justice League Hawkgirl, Livewire Voice, 43 episodes
2002 American Family Christy Recurring role, 5 episodes
2003 Miss Match Store Manager Episode: "Santa, Baby"
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm Dalilah the Hygienist 2 episodes
2004–07 Danny Phantom Paulina Voice, 15 episodes
2005–06 Justice League Unlimited Hawkgirl, Fire Voice, 9 episodes
2005–07 The Boondocks Spanish TV Reporter / Costa Rican Woman Voice, 2 episodes
2006 George Lopez Claudia Episode: "A Funeral Brings George to His Niece"
2006 Handy Manny Peggy Salazar Voice, "Supremoguy/Tool Talk"
2007 The Loop Agent Denise Episode: "Yeah, Presents"
2007–12 Wizards of Waverly Place Theresa Russo Series regular, 106 episodes
2009 Special Agent Oso Voice Role Episode: "Octo-Puzzle/One Suitcase Is Now Enough"
2011 Generator Rex Valentina Episode: "Outpost"
2012 Pound Puppies Dr. Trudy Voice, 3 episodes
2013 The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex Theresa Russo Television special
2014 Baby Daddy Carol Beltran Episode: "Bonnie's Unreal Estate"
2014 Gang Related Marciela Acosta 2 episodes
2014–2015 Cristela Daniela Series regular
2015 Members Only Hilda Series regular, cancelled

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Grim Fandango Mercedes 'Meche' Colomar Voice
2011 Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds She-Hulk Voice
2011 Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 She-Hulk Voice
2015 Infinite Crisis Hawkgirl Voice

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1998 Ovation Award[2] "Outstanding Actress" Changes of Heart Nominated
1998 ALMA Award[6] "Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series" The Tony Danza Show Nominated
2002 ALMA Award[6] "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Series" The Brothers Garcia Won
2008 ALMA Award[6] "Outstanding Female Performance in a Comedy Television Series" Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2008 Imagen Award[6] "Best Supporting Actress- Television" Nominated
2009 Imagen Award[6] "Best Supporting Actress/Television" Nominated
2009 ALMA Award[6] "Actress in Television - Comedy" Nominated
2010 Imagen Award[6] "Best Supporting Actress - Television" Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Won
2011 Imagen Award[6] "Best Supporting Actress - Television" Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2011 ALMA Award[6] "Favorite TV Actress - Supporting Role" Won


  1. Twitter - Maria Canals-Barrera.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Maria Canals Barrera Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 12 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "411 Movies Interview: Maria Canals Barrera". 18 October 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "'Wizards of Waverly Place's' Maria Canals-Barrera Joins Susannah Grant's ABC Series". Variety. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "ABC Medianet". Retrieved 12 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 "Awards for Maria Canals-Barrera". Retrieved 26 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links