Emilio Cruz (1938-2004) was an African American artist, playwright, and novelist of Cuban descent. He was born in the Bronx and spent much of his life in New York. He taught at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1970s and was active in the Chicago art scene. In the 1980s he returned to New York where he continued to exhibit. He later taught at Pratt Institute and New York University. His two plays Homeostasis: Once More the Scorpion and The Absence Held Fast to Its Presence were first performed in New York in 1981, and later in Europe as part of the World Theater Festival.
Throughout his career, Cruz received a number of honors and awards, including a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Emilio Cruz died in 2004.