Cote de Pablo
- November 12, 1979 (age 41)
- Actor, Singer
- Francisco de Pablo, Maria Olga Fernandez
María José de Pablo Fernández, better known as Coté de Pablo (born November 12, 1979), is a Chilean-American actress and singer. Born in Santiago, Chile, she moved to the United States at the age of ten, where she studied acting.
De Pablo co-hosted episodes of the Latin American talk show Control with former Entertainment Tonight host, Carlos Ponce, at the age of 15 before attending Carnegie Mellon University to study music and theatre. After appearing in a number of small television roles, she was cast to portray main character Ziva David in the CBS television series NCIS in 2005. De Pablo won an ALMA Award for the role in 2011, and NCIS became the most watched television program in the United States during Season 10 (2012–13).
She performed a portion of Tom Waits' song "Temptation" for a 2008 episode of NCIS. Outside of the series, she has acted as a vocalist for songs in Roberto Pitre's Vivo En Vida CD.
De Pablo was born in Santiago, Chile, to Francisco de Pablo and María Olga Fernández. She has a younger sister, Andrea, and a brother, Francisco, who works as a disc jockey. When de Pablo was ten years old, her mother, María Olga Fernández, took a job in Miami, Florida, at a Spanish language television network. There, de Pablo attended Arvida Middle School and New World School of the Arts where she studied Musical Theatre. In the Fifth Grade, she found many people could not properly pronounce her first name of "María José," so she asked them to call her "Coté," a common Chilean nickname for "María José." De Pablo attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she studied Music and Theater and appeared in several plays, including And the World Goes 'Round, The House of Bernarda Alba, Indiscretions, The Fantasticks, and A Little Night Music. She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater.
Cote de Pablo first began working in the Entertainment industry at age 15 when she hosted some episodes of the talk show Control (1994-95) on Univision, alongside former Entertainment Tonight host, Carlos Ponce.
After graduation, she moved to New York City to find work as an actress, working as a waitress in an Indian restaurant in Manhattan and an Italian eatery in Brooklyn to support herself. She picked up parts in the New York City Public Theater, on the TV show All My Children, and in commercials. De Pablo played the role of Marguerite Cisneros in The Jury (broadcast on the Fox Network). The show was short-lived, screening only ten one-hour episodes. In 2005, De Pablo was about to make her Broadway debut in The Mambo Kings as Dolores Fuentes, but the show closed after a short trial run in San Francisco.
Cote de Pablo is primarily known for her portrayal of Ziva David, an Israeli Mossad officer turned NCIS agent, in the police procedural drama NCIS. She had sent in a videotape audition while waiting for The Mambo Kings to move forward and was asked to fly to Los Angeles for a screen test two days after it was cancelled. Network executives arranged for her to act alongside series regular Michael Weatherly to test for chemistry during her second audition; he went offscript by brushing her hair back and commenting, "You remind me of Salma Hayek". De Pablo's response to Weatherly was to stay in character and she "dismissed him completely". Afterwards, producer Donald Bellisario met with her as she was waiting for a cab to take her back to the airport, telling her she had landed the part.
De Pablo described the character as "someone completely different from anyone else on the show because she's been around men all her life; she's used to men of authority. She's not afraid of men."
In 2006, she won an Imagen Award at the Imagen Foundation Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Television for NCIS. In 2008 and 2009, she was nominated for the same award. Also in 2008 and 2009, she was nominated for an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series for NCIS. In 2011, de Pablo was nominated once again for an Imagen Award, but this time it was for Best Actress in Television, not Supporting Actress. She won the 2011 ALMA Award for Favorite Television Actress-Leading Role in Drama.
On July 10, 2013, it was reported by CBS that de Pablo would be leaving NCIS for undisclosed reasons, although she remained on long enough to conclude her character Ziva David's storyline at the beginning of season 11. De Pablo later told Cindy Elavsky that Ziva could come back because she did not die.
De Pablo was in a long-term relationship with actor Diego Serrano, but they were reported as having broken up in June 2015. As a consequence of kickboxing during scenes, de Pablo was injured several times on NCIS, including injuring her neck and back. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.