Born in New York City to Cuban parents of Spanish descent, Nestor Carbonell was raised in Caracas, Venezuela before eventually moving back to the United States to attend a private boarding school. His father, a business executive, was very active in the Cuban community and his parents raised him as a Roman Catholic. His great-grandfather, José Manuel Cortina y Garcia, was one of Cuba's most outstanding diplomats and his cousin is former professional baseball player Rafael Palmeiro.
After attending Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts—where, conveniently enough, future Lost co-star Matthew Fox was also going to school—Nestor enrolled in Harvard University, where he received his B.A. in English in the late '80s.
Nestor's first role was a small part on Law & Order in 1991, after which he spent the '90s working almost exclusively in television—everything from Melrose Place to Good Advice and a four-season recurring role on Suddenly Susan. His one brief role on the big screen during this time was as Max in the short film Garage Sale.
At the turn of the century, Nestor starred alongside Casey Affleck on his one (and only) produced feature as a writer: the independent comedy Attention Shoppers. This return to the world of film would lead to a flood of work in the early years of the 21st century, including small parts in New Suits, The Laramie Project and Manhood. He also continued to work in television with a small, recurring role on Resurrection Blvd. and a wide variety of appearances on shows like Ally McBeal and Scrubs.
Throughout the 2000s, Nestor could be seen on all manner of television programs: he played Batmanuel on the live-action, televised adaptation of The Tick, appeared briefly on shows as diverse as Monk, House and Day Break and has had recurring roles on Strong Medicine, Cold Case and as the voice of Señor Senior Jr. on the animated show Kim Possible.
Eventually, he would get his big break as Richard Alpert in the third season of Lost; a part he would play for the rest of the series' run, and for which he would become most famously known. This led to a large influx of work both in and out of the television industry, including roles in Smokin' Aces, a starring role in the short-lived series Cane and finally, Anthony Garcia, the mayor of Gotham City in The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
In recent years, he's worked non-stop on television, playing Sheriff Alex Romero on Bates Motel (2013-2017), Raymond Navaro on State of Affairs (2014-2015), Kai Lucero on Midnight, Texas (2018) and Yanko Flores on the critically acclaimed Apple TV+ series, The Morning Show (2019-2020), alongside Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
Nestor is known for his incredibly dark eyelashes, which give him the appearance of constantly wearing makeup. He has frequently gone on record as saying that this is not the case, often poking fun at himself for it. In reality, it has sometimes been necessary for the actor to wear concealer in order to lighten the natural appearance of his eyelashes.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Noah's Ark: The New Beginning (2010)
Killer Movie (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Smokin' Aces (2006)
The Lost City (2005)
The Laramie Project (2002)
New Suits (2001)
Jack the Dog (2001)
Aqua Dulce (2001)
Attention Shoppers (2000)
Garage Sale (1996)