Carlos Armando Ponce, Jr. (born September 4, 1972) is a Puerto Rican actor, singer, composer and television personality. Ponce began his acting career by participating in Spanish language soap operas for Televisa and Telemundo. Ponce continued to expand his acting career by participating in various American television series. He did not limit himself solely to a career in television. Ponce, who is also a singer, is also active in the American movie industry as a character actor.
Ponce was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. His parents, Carlos Ponce, Sr. and Esther Freyre, emigrated from Cuba after the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro. After his birth, the family moved to Humacao where Ponce was raised. As a child, he would actively participate in his school's plays and at home he would often put on a show for the family where he would sing the latest tunes. "Carlitos", as he is known in Puerto Rico, started to appear in television commercials at the age of six. He attended high school in Humacao and was a member of the school's drama club.
In 1986, the Ponce family moved to Miami, Florida and Ponce continued to participate in his school's productions. He was named the best student actor of the southern region of the United States.
In 1990, Ponce participated in the Southeastern Theatre Conference and competed for the chance to win a scholarship. He won and enrolled in the New World School of the Arts conservatory. However, the Spanish-language television station Univision offered Ponce the opportunity to host a show called Hablando (Talking). This was his first serious television debut and after his debut he gave up his university studies.
After the show came to its end, Ponce went to Mexico to visit a friend. While there he visited the Televisa television station. The talent director of the station met Ponce and offered Ponce his first role in a soap opera: Guadalupe, starring Adela Noriega and Eduardo Yáñez. He participated in another soap opera for Televisa, Sentimientos Ajenos, in which he played the main character. Ponce also sang the theme song for the production. He received the "Actor Revelation of 1997 Award" by Eres magazine and named "Best Actor" by TV y Novelas magazine (both are Mexican publications).
In between productions, Ponce returned to Miami and Univision hired him as the host of a new show, Control. He hosted the show for three years and won an "ACE Award".
In 2003, Ponce joined Entertainment Tonight as a correspondent. He also hosted An Entertainment Tonight Event — Celebrity Weddings Unveiled, a CBS primetime special. Ponce hosted the 2006 Miss Universe pageant in Los Angeles, with Shandi Finnessey, Nancy O'Dell and Carson Kressley. In 2007, he starred in the Telemundo NBC Universal telenovela Dame Chocolate (Give Me Chocolate) alongside Génesis Rodríguez and Karla Monroig.
In 1998, Emilio Estefan signed Ponce to a record contract. His first album was entitled Carlos Ponce, and included three of his own compositions. The album reached the #1 spot in the Latin Billboards for nine weeks in the Hispanic community of the United States. It also reached the #1 spot in Central America and South America. He was Awarded a Double Platinum Award for the sales which his album generated.
On the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks Carlos Ponce reached the number-one spot three times with "Rezo" (I Pray), "Decir Adiós" (Say Good-Bye) and "Escúchame" (Listen to Me).