Playing the sensitive, sexually ambivalent high school student Rickie Vasquez in the critically acclaimed "My So-Called Life" (ABC, 1994-95), Cruz was frequently found in the girls' room hanging out and applying makeup with his pals. Rickie's painful "coming out" process was a major series subplot which culminated in the final episode. Creator and co-executive producer Winnie Holzman utilized incidents from the openly gay performer's life for teleplays.
A snazzy dancer with a beautiful singing voice, Cruz previously performed around the country with the Young Americans as well as in featured shows at Disney theme parks. He made his TV debut in a minor recurring role in the short-lived high school sitcom "Great Scott!" (Fox, 1992). During and after the run of "My So-Called Life", Cruz appeared on TV and radio shows and at public events as an advocate for gay teens. He made his feature debut with a small part in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995) as Joaquin, an intimate of Bob Hoskins' J. Edgar Hoover.