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Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos in 2006
Born Edward Olmos
February 24, 1947 (1947-02-24) (age 63)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Director
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Kaija Keel (1971-1992)
Lorraine Bracco (1994-2002)
Lymari Nadal (2002-present)

Edward James "Eddie" Olmos (born February 24, 1947) is a Mexican American actor and director. Among his most memorable roles are Commander/Admiral William Adama in the Battlestar Galactica re-imagined series, Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice, teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, patriarch Abraham Quintanilla in the film Selena, Detective Gaff in Blade Runner, and narrator El Pachuco in both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit.

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Early life

Olmos was born Edward James Olmos[1] in Los Angeles, California, where he was raised, the son of Eleanor (née Huizar) and Pedro Olmos, who was a welder.[2] His father was a Mexican immigrant and his mother Mexican American.[3] He grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player and became the Golden State batting champion. In his teen years, he turned to rock and roll, and became the lead singer for a band he named Pacific Ocean, so-called because it was to be "the biggest thing on the West Coast".[4] He graduated from Montebello High School in 1964. While at Montebello High School, he lost a race for Student Body President to future California Democratic Party Chair Art Torres. For several years Pacific Ocean played various clubs in and around Los Angeles and released a record in 1968. At the same time, he attended classes at East Los Angeles College, including courses in acting.[5]

Career

In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Olmos branched out from music into acting, appearing in many small productions, until his big break portraying the narrator, called "El Pachuco," in the play Zoot Suit, which dramatized the World War II-era rioting in California brought about by the tensions between Mexican-Americans and local police. (See Zoot Suit Riots.) The play moved to Broadway, and Olmos earned a Tony award nomination. He subsequently took the role to the filmed version in 1981, and appeared in many other films including Wolfen, Blade Runner and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.

From 1984 to 1989, Olmos starred in his biggest role up to that date as the authoritarian police Lieutenant Martin Castillo in the television series Miami Vice opposite Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, for which he was awarded a Golden Globe and an Emmy in 1985. He was contacted about playing the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation when it was in pre-production in 1986, but he declined.[6]

Returning to film, Olmos received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in Stand and Deliver for his portrayal of real-life math teacher, Jaime Escalante. He directed and starred in American Me in 1992, and also starred in My Family/Mi Familia, a multigenerational story of a Chicano family. In 1997 he starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in the film Selena. Olmos played Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the 2001 movie In the Time of the Butterflies. He also had a recurring role as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roberto Mendoza in the NBC drama The West Wing. From 2002 to 2004, he starred as a recently widowed father of a Latino L.A.-family in the PBS drama American Family: Journey of Dreams.

From 2003 to 2009, he starred as Admiral William Adama in the Sci Fi / SyFy Channel's reimagined Battlestar Galactica miniseries and in the television series that followed. He directed four episodes of the show, Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (1.9), Taking a Break from All Your Worries (3.13), Escape Velocity (4.4) and Islanded in a Stream of Stars (4.18). He also directed a television movie of the show, The Plan. Regarding his work on the show, he told CraveOnline, "I'm very grateful for the work that I've been able to do in my life but I can honestly tell you, this is the best usage of television I've ever been a part of to date."[7]

In 2006, he co-produced, directed, and played the bit part of Julian Nava in the HBO movie about the 1968 Chicano Blowouts, Walkout . He also appeared in Snoop Dogg's music video "Vato", featuring B-Real from Cypress Hill. In the series finale of the ABC sitcom George Lopez, titled George Decides to Sta-Local Where It's Familia, he guest-starred as the plant's new multi-millionaire owner. More recently, he has been a spokesperson for Farmers Insurance Group, starring in their Spanish language commercials.

Social Activism

Olmos has often been involved in social activism, especially those affecting the Latino community. During the 1992 Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles, when many people left the city, Olmos went out with a broom and worked to get communities cleaned up and rebuilt. In 1997, Olmos co-founded the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival with Marlene Dermer, George Hernandez and Kirk Whisler. That same year, he co-founded with Kirk Whisler the non-profit organization Latino Literacy Now that has produced 44 Latino Book & Festivals around the USA, attended by over 700,000 people. In 1998, he founded Latino Public Broadcasting and currently serves as its Chairman. Latino Public Broadcasting funds public television programming that focuses on issues affecting Latinos and advocates for diverse perspectives in public television. That same year, he starred in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, a comedy that sought to break Latino stereotypes and transcend the normal stigmas of most Latino-oriented movies.[citation needed] In 1999, Olmos was one of the driving forces that created Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S.1, a book project featuring over 30 award winning photographers, later turned into a Smithsonian traveling exhibition, music CD and HBO special. He also makes frequent appearances at juvenile halls and detention centers to speak to at-risk teenagers. He has also been an international ambassador for UNICEF. In 2001, he was arrested and spent 20 days in prison for taking part in the Navy-Vieques protests against United States Navy target practice bombings of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

On January 5, 2007, he appeared on Puerto Rican Television to blame the Puerto Rican and United States Governments for not cleaning the Island of Vieques after the United States Navy stopped using the island for bombing practice.[citation needed] He also gave $2,300 to New Mexico governor Bill Richardson for his presidential campaign (the maximum amount for the primaries).[8]

Personal life

In 1971, Olmos married Katija Keel, the daughter of actor Howard Keel. They had two children, Bodie and Mico, before divorcing in 1992. Olmos also has three adopted children: Michael D., Brandon and Tamiko. He married actress Lorraine Bracco in 1994, but she filed for divorce in January 2002 after five years of separation.[4] He is currently married to Puerto Rican actress Lymari Nadal, 30 years his junior.

In 1996, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from California State University, Fresno. In 2007, after a seven-year process, he obtained Mexican nationality.[9]

Asteroid 5608 Olmos is named in his honor.

Filmography

Films

Television

References

  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
  2. ^ "Edward James Olmos Biography (1946-)" filmreference.com, accessed 19 October 2009
  3. ^ Velazquez, Gabriela (1 December 2003) "Edward James Olmos: fighting for justice and defying gangsters: on charity boards, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Oscar Nominee" Latino Leaders, accessed 19 October 2009
  4. ^ a b Cast:William Adama, scifi.com, accessed 2 December 2006
  5. ^ Bethel, Kari (2002) "Edward James Olmos" pp. 155-159 In Henderson, Ashyia N. (editor) (2002) Contempoary Hispanic Biography, Volume 1 Gale, Detroit, page 156, ISBN 0-7876-6538-X
  6. ^ 'Battlestar's' last roundup - LA Times
  7. ^ Edward James Olmos: So say we all
  8. ^ Edward Olmos Donations - Huffington Post
  9. ^ [1].

External links








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