Maria Canals-Barrera

Maria Pilar Canals-Barrera (née Canals; born September 28, 1966) is an American actress. Canals-Barrera co-starred in a number of short-lived sitcoms and has appeared in several films.

Maria Canals-Barrera
Maria Canals Barrera 2, 2007.jpg
Canals-Barrera in 2007
Maria Pilar Canals

(1966-09-28) September 28, 1966 (age 54)
Other namesMaria Canals Barrera
Alma materUniversity of Miami (Florida)
Years active1990–present
(m. 1999)

She is best known for her role as Theresa Russo in the Disney Channel family sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place (2007–2013). She also 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). From 2014–15, Canals-Barrera starred as Daniela in the ABC comedy series Cristela.

She is known as Shayera Hol/Hawkgirl in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. She also voiced Sunset Boulevardez in the Disney Channel show The Proud Family and Paulina in the Nickelodeon show Danny Phantom.

Early lifeEdit

Canals-Barrera was born and raised in Miami, Florida, to Cuban parents of Catalan descent.[1] Canals-Barrera also speaks Spanish and took drama classes in junior high.[2]


In her early years, Canals-Barrera 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. During the 1990s, Canals-Barrera 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-Barrera 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 Alex Russo (Selena Gomez), 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.[3] However, it got cancelled by the network before its premiere. Later in that year she joined the cast of ABC comedy series Cristela, as Cristela Alonzo's character sister.[4]

On August 27, 2018, it was revealed by TVLine that Canals-Barrera was cast as the mother of Fernando Hernandez-Guerrero-Fernandez-Guerrero on the Netflix series Fuller House.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Barrera has been married to actor David Barrera since 1999, with whom she has two daughters.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Cop and a Half Mrs. Bobo #2
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) Direct to video
2011 Larry Crowne Lala Pinedo
2012 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 Ellen Yindel (voice) Direct to video
2013 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 2
2013 Night of the Hipsters Barbara Short film
2016 God's Not Dead 2 Catherine Thawley
2017 Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Bianca Reyes / Titan's Computer (Voice) Direct to video
2019 Sweet Inspirations Bonnie


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]
1992–1994 Marielena Nancy Recurring role
1993 Harlan & Merleen Carmen Television film
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"
1997–1998 The Tony Danza Show Carmen Cruz Main role, 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
2000–2003 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 Clifford the Big Red Dog Teresa (voice) Episode: Dino Clifford
2001–2005 The Proud Family Sunset Boulevardez (voice) 19 episodes
2001–2004 Justice League Hawkgirl, Livewire (voices) Main role, 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
2004–2007 Danny Phantom Paulina 15 episodes
Recurring role (Season 1–2)
2005–2006 Justice League Unlimited Hawkgirl, Fire (voices) Recurring role, 11 episodes
2005 The Proud Family Movie Sunset Boulevardez (voice) Television film
2005–2007 The Boondocks Spanish TV Reporter / Costa Rican Woman (voices) 2 episodes
2006 George Lopez Claudia Episode: "A Funeral Brings George to His Niece"
2006 Handy Manny Peggy Salazar (voice) Episode: "Supremoguy/Tool Talk"
2007 The Loop Agent Denise Episode: "Yeah, Presents"
2007–2012 Wizards of Waverly Place Theresa Russo Main role, 84 episodes
2008 Camp Rock Connie Torres Television film
2009 Special Agent Oso Additional voice Episode: "Octo-Puzzle/One Suitcase Is Now Enough"
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Theresa Russo Television film
2010 Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam Connie Torres Television film
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
2014–15 Cristela Daniela Main role, 22 episodes
2015 Members Only Hilda Main role; unaired television series
2016 Ultimate Spider-Man Rio Morales (voice) 3 episodes
2016 A Bronx Life Angela Television film
2016 Last Man Standing Sheryl Episode: "Where There's Smoke, There's Ire"
2016 The Big Bang Theory Issabella Episode: "The Brain Bowl Incubation"
2017 Vixen: The Movie Dr. Vargas (voice) Television film
2017 Triangle Alice
2018 The Wedding Do Over Irene Anderson Television film
2018 Knight Squad Saffron Episode: "Parent Teacher Knight"
2018 Young & Hungry Marisol Episode: "Young & Mexico, Part 1"
2018 Fuller House Nadia Episode: "Perfect Sons"

Video gamesEdit

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 nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result Refs
1998 Ovation Award Outstanding Actress Changes of Heart Nominated
1998 ALMA Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series The Tony Danza Show Nominated
2002 ALMA Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Series The Brothers Garcia Won
2008 ALMA Award Outstanding Female Performance in a Comedy Television Series Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2008 Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress – Television Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2009 Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress/Television Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2009 ALMA Award Actress in Television – Comedy Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2010 Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress – Television Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Won
2011 Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress – Television Wizards of Waverly Place Nominated
2011 ALMA Award Favorite TV Actress – Supporting Role Wizards of Waverly Place Won
2013 Behind the Voice Actors Awards Best Vocal Ensemble in a TV Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or Theatrical Short Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Shared with cast) Nominated
2014 Behind the Voice Actors Awards Best Vocal Ensemble in a TV Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or Theatrical Short Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (Shared with cast) Nominated
2015 Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress – Television Cristela Nominated


  1. ^ "Maria Canals-Barrera on Twitter". Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "411 Movies Interview: Maria Canals-Barrera". October 18, 2007. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "'Wizards of Waverly Place's' Maria Canals-Barrera Joins Susannah Grant's ABC Series". Variety. March 25, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "ABC Medianet". Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Swift, Andy (August 27, 2018). "Fuller House Is Expanding [Spoiler]'s Family Tree in Season 4". TVLine. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "Maria Canals-Barrera on Twitter". Retrieved November 2, 2018.

External linksEdit