Maria is most commonly known for her starring role as the mortal mother of three teenage wizards, in the Emmy Award-winning series "Wizards of Waverly Place." The show aired it’s series finale on January 6th, 2012 to an audience of 9.8 million, the series’ number one telecast ever. In August of last year, Maria hosted the 26th annual Imagen Awards, illuminating the audience with her charismatic charm. Shortly after, she took home the 2011 NCLR Alma Award for Favorite TV Actress in a Supporting Role.
Maria reprised her role in the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie "Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie," for which she won an Imagen award for Best Supporting Actress – Television in 2010.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Canals-Barrera has also starred as Mitchie's mom, Connie Torres, in the Disney Channel Original Movies "Camp Rock" and "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam."
A 2002 Alma Award-winner for her role in the television series "Brothers Garcia," Canals-Barrera starred in the Telemundo series "Marielena" and "Corte Tropical" for Univision. She was the Female Lead on "The Tony Danza Show," and she's had guest-starring roles on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "George Lopez," "The Loop," "Popular," "Veronica's Closet," "Caroline in the City" and "Almost Perfect," as well as recurring roles in "Beggars & Choosers" for Showtime and the critically acclaimed PBS series "American Family." Canals-Barrera is also the voice of "Hawkgirl" in the animated series "The Justice League" and was the voice of "Sunset Boulevardez" in Disney Channel's acclaimed series "The Proud Family."
On the big screen, Maria most recently appeared in Universal Pictures’, "Larry Crowne," directed by Tom Hanks and starring Hanks and Julia Roberts. She can also be seen in "Master of Disguise" and "My Family / Mi Familia," with Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits and Esai Morales.
On stage, Canals-Barrera appeared at the Mark Taper Forum in "Changes of Heart" for which she received an Ovation Award nomination. Her other stage work include roles in "Chilean Holiday," "Hedda Gabler," "A Touch of the Poet," "Mixed Blessings," "The House of Blue Leaves" and "The Glass Menagerie."
When Maria isn’t acting you can find her in Los Angeles where she resides with her husband and two children, playing the part of a real mom.