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Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos

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American Me DVD Award-winning actor Edward James Olmos does double duty starring in his... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Edward Olmos Died:
Born: February 24, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: East Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: actor, writer, singer, director, producer, composer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though widely recognized for his film and television career, actor Edward James Olmos also spent a great deal of time working for social and political causes, particularly as they have affected his native Latino heritage. Though he struggled early on in his acting career, taking bit parts in various guest spots on popular television shows in the 1970s, Olmos made the most of his success once he found it. Starting with his Tony-nominated performance in "Zoot Suit" (1978), Olmos developed into a highly-acclaimed and sought-after performer whose ability to convey both ambiguity and gravitas was widely recognized. He became a household name with his first regular series role, playing Lieutenant Martin Castillo on the cultural phenomenon "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-89), but then languished for a large chunk of his career taking roles in largely unseen or under-appreciated feature and television projects. Occasionally, he reminded audiences of his unique talents with lauded performances in "Stand and Deliver" (1988) or "Selena" (1997), but largely remained waiting in the wings for his next significant role. It arrived in the unlikely form of Admiral William Adama on "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi Channel,...

Though widely recognized for his film and television career, actor Edward James Olmos also spent a great deal of time working for social and political causes, particularly as they have affected his native Latino heritage. Though he struggled early on in his acting career, taking bit parts in various guest spots on popular television shows in the 1970s, Olmos made the most of his success once he found it. Starting with his Tony-nominated performance in "Zoot Suit" (1978), Olmos developed into a highly-acclaimed and sought-after performer whose ability to convey both ambiguity and gravitas was widely recognized. He became a household name with his first regular series role, playing Lieutenant Martin Castillo on the cultural phenomenon "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-89), but then languished for a large chunk of his career taking roles in largely unseen or under-appreciated feature and television projects. Occasionally, he reminded audiences of his unique talents with lauded performances in "Stand and Deliver" (1988) or "Selena" (1997), but largely remained waiting in the wings for his next significant role. It arrived in the unlikely form of Admiral William Adama on "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi Channel, 2004-09), a show that Olmos felt was one of the best projects he had ever been involved with. His resurgence on television led to big screen roles in "Splinter" (2007), "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" (2008) and "The Green Hornet" (2011), proving that Olmos had staying power in both mediums.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  American Me (1992) Director
3.
  Walkout (2006)

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Machete Kills (2013)
2.
 Go For Sisters (2013)
3.
 Two Guns (2013)
4.
7.
 Splinter (2007)
8.
 In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) Rafael Leonid Trujillo
9.
 Road to El Dorado, The (2000) Voice Of Chief
10.
 Gossip (2000)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Family moved from Los Angeles to Montebello, CA in the mid-1950s
:
Began entertainment career as founder and singer with rock band, Eddie James and the Pacific Ocean
:
Began appearing on TV in early 1970s
:
Appeared in experimental theater productions in Los Angeles
1975:
Film debut in "Aloha, Bobby and Rose"
1978:
First major stage role as El Pachuco in musical "Zoot Suit" with the Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; made Broadway debut when production transferred to Broadway (1979)
1981:
Reprised his role in film version of "Zoot Suit"
:
Co-founded YOY Productions with director Robert M Young
1983:
Associate produced first film, "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" (also starred and composed and adapted music)
:
Turned down five film offers and instead nearly bankrupted himself by traveling through the Southwest with a copy of "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez," renting theaters at his own expense to get audiences to see the film
1984:
Breakthrough role as police Lieutenant Martin Castillo in Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" (NBC)
1988:
Portrayed real-life math teacher, Jaime Escalante in the film, "Stand and Deliver"; first film as co-producer; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor
1992:
Made directorial debut (also produced and starred) with "American Me"
1994:
Portrayed Jose Menendez, in the CBS TV movie "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills"
1994:
Co-starred with Raul Julia in "The Burning Season," an HBO movie based on the true story of a Brazilian rubber tapper who leads his people in protest against government and developers
1995:
Starred in Gregory Nava's film, "My Family/Mi Familia" about three generations of a Mexican-American family
1997:
Portrayed Abraham Quintanilla in Gregory Nava's "Selena" based on the true story of the Texas born tejano singer
1999:
Had a recurring role as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Mendoza, in the NBC drama "The West Wing"
2001:
Played Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the movie "In the Time of the Butterflies"
2002:
Starred as a recently widowed father in the PBS series "American Family"
2003:
Cast as Admiral William Adama on the cult hit remake of "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci-fi channel)
2004:
Reprised role of Admiral William Adama for the series, "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi Channel)
2006:
Co-produced, directed, and played the bit part of Julian Nava in the HBO movie "Walkout" about the 1968 Chicano Blowouts; earned a nomination from the Directors Guild of America
2007:
Co-starred in his son, Michael D. Olmos' directorial debut, the gangster film "Splinter"
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Education

East Los Angeles College: Los Angeles , California - 1964 - 1966
California State University, Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California - 1966 - 1968

Notes

In August 2001, Olmos was sentenced to 20 days in a federal prison for trespassing on US Navy land on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. At the time, the actor was protesting the Navy's use of the island for war games.

Reflecting on his early days while discussing his 1991 film, "American Me", Olmos noted, "It makes me cry and overwhelms and humbles me, what people have given at this point in my life. This is my life, my barrio. I've given my life and soul to it ... I want to show that there's a cancer in this subculture of the gangs. They'll say, 'You've taken away our manhood with this movie.' I say to them, 'Either you treat the cancer or it'll eat you alive.'" --From Los Angeles Times Calendar, September 1, 1991.

Olmos speaks on average 150 times a year in schools, detention homes, juvenile halls, migrant work camps, prisons, and American Indian reservations.

Telly Savalas once called Olmos a prima donna when, as a bit player on an episode of TV's "Kojak", Olmos refused to say the line "A Puerto Rican bartender wouldn't speak to a cop."

Producer-writer Floyd Mutrux, a friend of Olmos and a collaborator on "American Me", mused to Los Angeles Times Calendar (September 1, 1991): "Eddie is Eddie. We're friends. Good friends. But he gets those ideas, like, 'I could be governor of California, man. I'm the most visible Hispanic in America.' That's why he didn't like getting divorced. It put a kink in those plans. I tell him, 'Eddie, your picture is on the cover of Time magazine. But you know what? A week after it's out, the magazine is on the bottom of a bird cage.' Then we laugh. Hollywood's a bubble. The laughter is what brings us back to reality."

Steve Valdivia, executive director of Community Youth Gang Services in Los Angeles, recalled the December Season of Peace meeting in 1986: "We asked a number of the gangs, mostly Latino, not to kill each other from Thanksgiving to January 1. Eddie Olmos was just someone we knew from 'Miami Vice'. But the grief, introspection and seriousness of his character was something we looked up to. He had a presence. A few days before the dinner, I got a crazy idea. I called the studio. They said he was in Miami. Five people later, I got Olmos. He said, 'What is this?' 'It's big,' I said. In 48 hours, he was on a plane. When he came into the dinner, there was a deadly silence. He hit 'em between the eyes. He gave himself as an example of how you can make it. We were all crying. At the end, the kids all sang 'Silent Night'. Olmos has a mission. It goes back to before he was born. The thing is, he does it from the heart. The heart does not lie." --From Los Angeles Times, September 1, 1991.

Olmos was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1992)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Kaija Olmos. Daughter of 1950s musical film star Howard Keel; married c. 1972; filed for divorce 1991.
wife:
Lorraine Bracco. Actor. Met in 1990 while co-starring in "Talent for the Game"; married January 28, 1994; separated in February 1997, although Bracco claimed in a 1999 interview that they were enjoying a "long distance" marriage; she filed for divorce in January 2002; he counterfiled in L.A. in March 2002.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Eleanor Olmos. Met Olmos's father during a visit to Mexico City in the days of WWII; separated.
father:
Pedro Olmos. Pharmaceutical distributor, later slaughterhouse worker and welder. One of thirteen children; started pharmaceutical business at age 14; later jobs held after he crossed US-Mexico border in 1945 to marry Olmos's mother.
brother:
Peter Olmos. Older.
sister:
Eleanor Olmos. Younger.
son:
Mico Olmos. Born in July 1972.
son:
Bodie Olmos. Born in August 1975.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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