Jimmy Smits


7/9/1955 (67 years old) Brooklyn, New York, United States

Although this Hispanic hunk's character died quickly in his TV debut on the Miami Vice pilot, Smits parlayed what could have been 15 minutes of fame into a multi-decade career. His five-year stint on L.A. Law as a rags-to-riches lawyer turned Smits into a star, earned him an Emmy and helped pave the way for Latino actors who were sick of only playing criminals. In 1994, he joined the taboo-breaking NYPD Blue as a sensitive detective who wasn't afraid to show his backside. While Smits appeared in a handful of films along the way, including two Star Wars movies, he's most frequently seen on the small screen. In 2004, he signed on to play a Democratic presidential candidate-turned-president-elect on the last two seasons of West Wing. After that series ended, Smits executive-produced and starred on the short-lived CBS drama Cane---a casualty of the 2007-08 writers' strike---which he immediately followed with a Season 3 stint on Showtime's acclaimed Dexter. Smits also devotes his time to a number of charitable causes, including the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, which he co-founded in 1997 to promote Hispanic talent in the performing arts.

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