Perez Hilton Biography


Home > Notables > H > Hilton, Perez > Biography


Birth Name: Perez Hilton
Born: 03/23/1978
Birth Place: Miami, Florida, USA


Born on March 23, 1978 in Miami FL to Cuban parents, Perez Hilton - born Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. - attended the all-male Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami. He graduated in 1996 and moved to New York City, where he attended New York University. He graduated in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in drama and spent his first few post-graduate years working as a media relations assistant for gay rights organization GLAAD, as well as freelancing for a variety of gay publications. He moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue acting, but did not find much success until 2004, when he gave up his acting aspirations to start his own blog, PageSixSixSix.com. Adopting the non de plume, "Perez Hilton" - a take-off on socialite-turned-celebrity Paris Hilton - he began his fateful celebrity-battering odyssey. Within six months, the blog was so popular that Hilton re-launched it as a full-fledged website, PerezHilton.com. He not only keyed in on the climate of celebrity worship, but added a dollop of acid to the mix by writing witty, sometimes mean-spirited captions on the latest celebrity images.

While his site continued to attract staggering amounts of traffic, Hilton was often derided for irresponsible reporting and copyright infringement. An openly gay man himself, Hilton was criticized in 2006 for partially "outing" former 'N Sync member Lance Bass on his blog before the singer had a chance to make the decision for himself. Several lawsuits were filed against Hilton and his site as well, ranging from the Sony Corporation, who sued him for posting unauthorized Britney Spears songs, to Universal Studios, who sued him for posting an illegally obtained topless photo of Jennifer Aniston. In his biggest lawsuit, photo agency X-17Online filed a lawsuit against Hilton in federal court on Nov. 20, 2006, seeking $7.5 million in damages for copyright infringement. Hilton shot back that his use of their photos fell under the "Fair Use" exception to the Copyright Act. Eventually other online photo agencies backed up X17, and Hilton lost his host site. Down but not for long, Hilton was quickly back up with new host and never again used X17 photographs. Although he managed to settle his myriad of lawsuits and returned to bashing celebrities unabated, his website, not surprisingly, was now being referred to as "The most hated site on the Internet."

Despite the lawsuits and the inevitable backlash by studios and celebrity publicists, the site's popularity soon spilled over into other avenues. The media-savvy Hilton began showing up on news and talk shows to offer catty commentary. Not surprisingly, he was soon offered his own television show. "What Perez Sez" (VH1, 2007), a six-part series, hosted by the blogger. He co-hosted the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards, and appeared on a variety of reality television shows - including "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" (Bravo, 2005- ), "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" (MTV, 2008- ) and "Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 2007- ) - dishing gossip and courting outrage in equal measure. He also became a near-constant presence at red carpet events. In 2008, he also began hosting his own syndicated radio show, "Radio Perez," and appeared in various television series and films, including "Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild" (2008) and on the reality show he helped make a sensation, "The Hills" (MTV, 2006- ). Besides this exhausting array of guest appearances on television, Hilton continued to maintain PerezHilton.com on a daily basis with very little outside help, save a few family members put on the payroll.

Although he largely abandoned his acting aspirations after the site took off, Hilton ultimately found bigger fame as a provocateur; among some of his better claims were that Fidel Castro was dead and Michael Jackson's rush to the hospital (where he eventually was declared dead) on June 25, 2009 was a "publicity stunt." In 2009, Perez finally became a household name outside of the blogosphere when he appeared as a judge in the Miss USA pageant. Hilton sparked a firestorm of debate when he asked the Californian contestant her views on same-sex marriage. Her frank answer upset Hilton, and he later retaliated on his site with a volley of angry words. Not long after that scandal, Hilton found himself in the news a second time when he hosted the MuchMusic Awards in Toronto. After Hilton got into an altercation with Black Eyed Peas manager Polo Molina at an after party, he claimed the man assaulted him after a verbal exchange, during which the gay Hilton reportedly called Molina "a fag." As expected, Hilton received a scolding from GLAAD and other gay and lesbian organizations. In June 2009, Hilton filed a civil lawsuit against Polina, seeking $25,000 for "battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress." In case anyone might question it, Hilton also live-blogged his injuries that night.