Sara Elena Ramirez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsaɾa raˈmiɾez]; born August 31, 1975) is a Mexican-American singer/songwriter and actress. She is known for her role as Dr. Callie Torres in the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (2006–present), and as the original Lady of the Lake in the 2005 Broadway musical Spamalot, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Ramirez was born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, in the northwestern coast of the Pacific coast of Mexico. Her father was Mexican and her mother was of Mexican and Irish-American descent. When Ramirez was eight years old, her mother took her to Tierrasanta, in San Diego, California, where they settled. After completing the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego, California, Ramirez attended and graduated from the Juilliard School (B.F.A. ’97, drama) in New York City, where she refined her skills as an actress. Ramirez speaks both Spanish and English fluently.
She debuted on Broadway playing Wahzinak in Paul Simon’s The Capeman (1998). In 1999, she appeared in The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm (1999) and received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for her role. She has also appeared in A Class Act (2001) and Dreamgirls (2001), and in 2002 she performed in The Vagina Monologues with Tovah Feldshuh and Suzanne Berths.
In 1998, she played the voice of Lammy in the video game UmJammer Lammy, a spin-off of PaRappa the Rapper, both on Sony’s PlayStation console. She later reprised her role as Lammy in the PlayStation 2 video game sequel PaRappa the Rapper 2, and has a smaller role, unlike the game that preceded it.
In 2004, Ramirez was cast as the Lady of the Lake in the Eric Idle/John Du Prez musical Spamalot, based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 to widespread acclaim, and Ramirez in particular was singled out for her performance, winning several awards including the 2005 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Following her success on Broadway, Ramirez joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy in a recurring role as Dr. Calliope ‘Callie’ Torres in the show’s second season. For the third season she became a series regular. On a special Grey’s Anatomy-themed episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she revealed that top executives from ABC loved her performance in Spamalot so much that they offered her a role in any ABC show she wanted. She picked Grey’s, of which she was a fan. Ramirez provided a cappella vocals in the song “Silent Night” for the soundtrack of the show’s sixth season episode “Holidaze,” airing November 19, 2009. On December 21, 2009, this version of the song was released as a single on iTunes. Ramirez’s voice was also showcased in the musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Ep. 718 “Song Beneath the Song”, which aired March 31, 2011. Her solo music debut was an extended play released on March 27, 2011 through the iTunes Store. It included three original songs, as well as a recording of “The Story”, performed on the musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
On June 17, 2011, Ramirez and longtime partner, Ryan DeBolt, a business analyst at TIMEC, got engaged in Paris, France. They were married on July 4, 2012 in a private beachside ceremony in New York.