Smits in 2010
July 9, 1955 |
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Known for||LA Law
The West Wing
Sons of Anarchy
|Spouse(s)||Barbara Smits (1981–1987)|
|Partner(s)||Wanda De Jesus (1986–present)|
Jimmy Smits (born July 9, 1955) is an American actor. Smits played attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s legal drama L.A. Law, NYPD Detective Bobby Simone on the 1990s police drama NYPD Blue, and Matt Santos on the 1999-2006 serial political drama The West Wing. He also appeared as Bail Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and ADA Miguel Prado in Dexter. In 2012, he joined the main cast of Sons of Anarchy as high-level pimp Nero Padilla.
His father, Cornelis Leendert Smits, was from Paramaribo, Suriname and was of Dutch descent. Smits' mother, Emilina (née Pola), was Puerto Rican, born in Peñuelas. He has two sisters, Yvonne and Diana, grew up in a working-class neighborhood, and spent time in Puerto Rico during his childhood.
Though born in New York, Smits has deep Puerto Rican roots and frequently visits the island. In 2001, he was arrested for his participation in protests against U.S. Navy bombing practices on the Puerto Rican offshore island of Vieques.
An early role played by Smits was that of Eddie Rivera in the two-hour series premiere of Miami Vice, in 1984. In the episode, he portrayed Sonny Crockett's original partner, who was killed in a sting gone wrong.
Beginning in 1986, he played Victor Sifuentes in the first five seasons of the long-running legal drama L.A. Law.
Additionally, Smits played a repairman on Pee-wee's Playhouse, and he starred in the multigenerational story of a Chicano family in the film My Family (1995), alongside Edward James Olmos and Jennifer Lopez.
One of Smits' most acclaimed roles was that of Detective Bobby Simone on NYPD Blue, which he starred in from 1994 to 1998. He received several Emmy nominations several for his performance on that television series and won the ALMA award twice.
In 1999, he received the HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).
Smits was to have hosted the 2001 Latin Grammy Awards broadcast on September 11, 2001, but it was called off because of the terrorist attacks that day. He instead hosted a non-televised press conference to announce the winners.
Smits appeared as Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), in which the character becomes Princess Leia's adoptive father. He reappeared as Bail Organa in the game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008).
Smits played the role of Congressman Matt Santos of Houston, Texas, in the final two seasons of the American television drama The West Wing, joining fellow L.A. Law alumnus John Spencer. Smits' character eventually ran for and won the US Presidency in the series.
In Dexter season 3, Smits played the role of Miguel Prado, an assistant district attorney who befriends the title character. Smits was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for the role.
Additionally, he portrayed the character Alex Vega in the CBS TV series Cane, which aired from September 25, 2007, to December 18, 2007, and was subsequently cancelled by the network due to the 2007 Screen Writer's Guild strike.
Smits joined the Sons of Anarchy cast in season 5 as Nero Padilla, a high-level pimp who refers to himself as a "companionator". He builds a relationship with Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) and forms an alliance and mentorship with Gemma's son, the central character Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam).
In the mid-1980s, Smits acted in numerous performances at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York. His roles at the Hangar included Max in the 1982 production of Cabaret and Paul in Loose Ends, the same year. Smits has participated in the Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival, playing the role of Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night in 2002 and Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing in 2004. From November 2009 to February 2010, he appeared opposite Christine Lahti, Annie Potts, and Ken Stott in the critically lauded Broadway play God of Carnage, replacing Jeff Daniels. In December 2012 through March 2013, he appeared in Chicago in The Motherfucker with the Hat, at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Smits was married to high school sweetheart, Barbara Smits, from 1981 until 1987. They have two children, Taina (born in 1973) and Joaquin (born in 1983). Since 1986, Smits has been in a relationship with actress Wanda De Jesus; they live together in Los Angeles.
Smits was arrested in 1987 for assaulting an officer, after police answered a call for help at his home. He and his girlfriend, De Jesus, were arrested for battery on three police officers who responded to the call. The charges were later dropped because of conflicting witness statements. Smits later pled guilty to the misdemeanor of disturbing the peace, and was sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation and a $150 fine. De Jesus pled guilty to misidentifying herself to a police officer and disturbing the peace. She was fined $250 and sentenced to perform 18 months of unsupervised probation and 75 hours of community service.
Charity work and public service
Smits helped found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications, and entertainment industries. He is also an advocate for diagnostic colorectal screening and has appeared in a public service commercial. More recently,[when?] Smits filmed a PSA for Detroit Non-Profit Cass Community Social Services. Smits will act as the Honorary Chair of their 6th Annual "Catch the Fireworks With Cass" event[when?] that takes place during the notable fireworks display in Brooklyn.
Smits has also donated to several other organizations, including the Red Cross, New York Cares, and Stand up to Cancer. In addition, he regularly donates to HIV and AIDS treatment and to help human rights around the world. He also donates for disaster relief whenever a big natural disaster occurs, and he donates for the creative arts.
His main work with Latinos is summarized by these two quotes:
- "I've been very lucky to work on a wide variety of projects, including two long-run and top-10 dramatic television shows. That is why it is so important to offer a helping hand to the next generation of young Latinos coming up behind me.".
- "I am a firm believer in education and have worked very hard to tell young Latinos that they must go to college and that, if possible, they should pursue an advanced degree. I am convinced that education is the great equalizer.".
|1986||Running Scared||Julio Gonzales|
|1987||Hotshot||Stars Team Member|
|1987||The Believers||Tom Lopez|
|1989||Old Gringo||Gen. Tomas Arroyo|
|1990||Vital Signs||Dr. David Redding|
|1993||Gross Misconduct||Justin Thorne|
|1994||The Cisco Kid||Cisco Kid|
|1995||My Family||Jimmy Sanchez|
|1995||The Last Word||Actor (Martin)|
|1997||Murder in Mind||Peter Walker|
|2000||Adventures in Wild California||Narrator|
|2000||The Million Dollar Hotel||Geronimo|
|2000||Price of Glory||Arturo Ortega|
|2000||Bless the Child||Agent John Travis|
|2002||Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||Senator Bail Organa|
|2005||Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith||Senator Bail Organa|
|2007||The Jane Austen Book Club||Daniel Avila|
|2009||Backyard||Mickey Santos||Also known as El Traspatio|
|2010||Mother and Child||Paco|
|1984||Miami Vice||Eddie Rivera||Episode: "Brother's Keeper"|
|1986–1992||L.A. Law||Victor Sifuentes||107 episodes|
|1986||Spenser: For Hire||Hector Valdes||Episode: "In a Safe Place"|
|1986||Rockabye||2nd Policeman||Television movie|
|1987||The Highwayman||Bo Ziker||Television movie|
|1987||Stamp of a Killer||Richard Braden||Television movie|
|1988||Glitz||Vincent Marra||Television movie|
|1988||Mickey's 60th Birthday||Victor Sifuentes||Television movie|
|1989||Pee-wee's Playhouse||Johnny Wilson||Episode: "Conky's Breakdown"|
|1990||Cop Rock||Victor Sifuentes (uncredited)||Episode: "Potts Don't Fail Me Now"|
|1992||The Broken Cord||David Norwell||Television movie|
|1993||The Tommyknockers||Jim 'Gard' Gardner||Television movie|
|1994||The Cisco Kid||Cisco Kid||Television movie|
|1995||Solomon & Sheba||King Solomon||Television movie|
|1994–1998, 2004||NYPD Blue||Det. Bobby Simone||Season 2-6, regular; Season 12, guest; 90 episodes|
|1995||Happily Ever After||Old King Cole||Episode: "Mother Goose"|
|1996||Marshal Law||Jack Coleman||Television movie|
|1997||Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special||Old King Cole||Television movie|
|1997||Happily Ever After||Price Felipe||Episode: "Cinderella"|
|2004–2006||The West Wing||Matt Santos||37 episodes|
|2005||Lackawanna Blues||Ruben Santiago, Sr.||Television movie|
|2007||Cane||Alex Vega||13 episodes|
|2008||Dexter||Miguel Prado||12 episodes|
|2010||Outlaw||Cyrus Garza||8 episodes|
|2012–2014||Sons of Anarchy||Neron 'Nero' Padilla||38 episodes|
|2016||The Get Down||Francisco "Papa Fuerte" Cruz||Upcoming series|
Awards and nominations
- "In Step With: Jimmy Smits". Parade Magazine. January 2, 2005.
- Taking Charge Through Education, by Jimmy Smits
- Jimmy Smits – Redbook
- Gale – Free Resources – Hispanic Heritage – Biographies – Jimmy Smits
- Hernandez, Lee (July 9, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Jimmy Smits on Playing Outlaws: "There Might Be An Ethnicity Thing to It"". Latina. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- Consuelo Lopez Springfield (August 6, 2001). "Navy Must Heed Puerto Ricans: Stop The Bombing". The Puerto Rico Herald. Retrieved December 11, 2006.
- "Jimmy Smits". Biography.com. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- "Jimmy Smits Joins Dexter. Couldn't You Just Die?". TV Guide. June 5, 2008.
- Bill Keveney (1 October 2012). "On 'Sons of Anarchy,' new faces and new fears". USA Today. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Frederick M. Muir, Los Angeles Times, 'L.A. Law' Star Smits Arrested in Alleged Attack on 3 Officers, August 12, 1987
- Associated Press, 'L.A. Law' Star Jimmy Smits Pleads No Contest, November 25, 1987
- "Mission Statement". HispanicArts.org.
- Video on YouTube
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jimmy Smits.|
- Jimmy Smits at the Internet Movie Database
- Jimmy Smits at the TCM Movie Database
- Jimmy Smits at AllMovie
- Jimmy Smits at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jimmy Smits at the Internet Off-Broadway Database