Jimmy Smits (Actor) - NYPD Blue, LA Law
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Updated: 1/19/22

Name: Jimmy Smits

Birth Name: Jimmy L. Smits

Born: July 9, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Claim To Fame: Jimmy Smits is an American actor best known for playing attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s legal drama L.A. Law, NYPD Detective Bobby Simone on the 1990s police drama NYPD Blue, and memorable recurring roles on The West Wing, Sons of Anarchy, and Dexter.

Family Life: Smits was married to high school sweetheart, Barbara Smits, from 1981 until 1987. They have two children together, Taina and Joaquin. Since 1986, he has been in a relationship with actress Wanda De Jesus.

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Info: Smits's father, Cornelis Leendert Smits (1929-2015), was from Paramaribo, Suriname, and was of Dutch descent. Smits's mother, Emilina (1930-2015), was Puerto Rican, born in Peñuelas.

He and his two sisters, Yvonne and Diana.

At ten years old, he began living in Puerto Rico for a couple of years. Until then, he did not speak Spanish.

Smits was raised in a strict, devout Roman Catholic family. He identifies as Puerto Rican and frequently visits Puerto Rico.

Graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School.

Earned a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1980.

Received a MFA from Cornell University in 1982.

He's a regular stage performed at the Hangar Theatre, Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival, on Broadway, and at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Smits helped found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Artsy to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications, and entertainment industries.

He's an advocate for diagnostic colorectal screening and has appeared in a public service commercial.

In 2010, he filmed a PSA for Detroit Non-Profit Cass Community Social Services and also served as the Honorary Chair of their 6th Annual "Catch the Fireworks With Cass" event.

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Trivia: One of Smits's early roles was as Sonny Crockett's original partner on the first episode of Miami Vice in 1984, where he falls victim to a car bomb in the episode's first five minutes - SPOILER ALERT!

In 1986, Smits played Victor Sifuentes in the first five seasons of the NBC television Steven Bochco legal drama L.A. Law, for which he was nominated for six Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, winning in 1990.

In 1991, he Was named as "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival.

Turned down the offer to play a character named Flinn on NYPD Blue (1993). The character in question was later renamed Detective John Kelly, played by David Caruso. Ironically, after Caruso's departure from the series in 1994, Smits accepted the role of Detective Bobby Simone (Detective Kelly's successor).

He received several Emmy nominations for his performance on the series and was reunited with his former co-star Dennis Franz at the 2016 Emmy Awards presentation. He won the ALMA award twice.

Honored by the Congressional Award in Washington, D.C. with the 1997 Horizon Award. The Horizon Award is a special recognition from the Joint Leadership of the United States Congress and the Congressional Award Board of Directors. The Horizon Award is presented to individuals from the private sectors who have contributed to expanding opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions, and who have set exceptional examples for young people through their successes in life.

In 1999, Smits received the HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).

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) and the spinoff movie Rogue One (2016).

Smits played the role of Congressman Matt Santos of Houston, Texas, in the final two seasons of the NBC television drama The West Wing. His character eventually ran for and won the U.S. presidency.

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.

Is a partner in "The Conga Room" club in Los Angeles, California with Jennifer Lopez, Paul Rodriguez and Brad Gluckstein as partners.

On June 4, 2021, he was awarded the 2,696th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Where Are They Now: In 2021, Smits played Kevin Rosario in the musical film In the Heights. Smits has always been a staple of television dramas and I think it won't be long until we see him on the screen again. I've always been a fans of his and look forward to his next project, whatever it may be.


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