Edward James Olmos
- Category : Entertainment-Actor-Actress
- Type : ME
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (12,32,36)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Spirit 1
Mexican-American actor and activist. He was the recipient of an Oscar nomination for his role of math teacher Jaime Escalante in "Stand and Deliver," 1988 and a Tony nomination for role of El Pachuco in "Zoot Suit," 1979, playing the same role in the film in 1981. Other films include "Blade Runner," 1982, "The Ballad of Georgio Cortez," 1982, "My Family/Mi Familia," 1994 and "American Me," 1994. UniCef Ambassador to Bosnia and a tireless crusader to end gang violence in America, Olmos spends half of his time visiting prisons, juvenile detention centers, high schools and community halls spreading the gospel of personal redemption.
An East Los Angeles barrio boy, Olmos is the middle of three children of welder Pedro and nurse Eleanor Olmos who couldn't speak English, read or write. At age 13, when his parents divorced, the distraught and delinquent Olmos found his salvation in the game of baseball. "Baseball was the biggest character-building influence in my youth - it taught me self-discipline, determination, perseverance and patience." A star player at 14 for the Dodger's off-season team, he suddenly switched gears and parlayed his talents into music. "I couldn't sing a stitch, but I had a sense of commitment." Teaching himself to play the piano and carry a tune, he formed a band called "Pacific Ocean" and was playing the Sunset Strip within a year. He continued as a club musician until the age of 20, earning his way through East Los Angeles College, 1964-1966 and California State College at Los Angeles, 1966-1968, where he studied psychology, criminology, theater and dance.
After years of bit parts in TV, film and stage, he launched his acting career in 1978 as El Pachuco in "Zoot Suit" In Los Angeles. A steady stream of work followed, with a big break when he was cast in the role of Lieutenant Martin Castillo on the TV series "Miami Vice," 1984. " for which he won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award.
Olmos' strong humanitarian streak has deep roots in his ancestry. His maternal great-grandfather published a radical newsletter that chronicled the plight of the common people of Mexico and Latin America from 1900-1910, when he finally fled to Los Angeles during the Mexican Revolution. His mom was an AIDS nurse who adopted a baby from the nursery who had been abandoned by its mother. Olmos' primary focus is for teenagers, notably gang members, to stay in school.
He met Kaija Keel in 1967. Although he had a furniture moving business at the time while struggling to break into acting, he was able to ease into professional work with the help of his father-in-law, Howard Keel. He and Kaija were married 12/29/71. They had two sons, born 1973 and 1975 and adopted two more before divorcing after 19 years of marriage in April 1990.
He made a second marriage to actress Lorraine Bracco on 1/28/94 in New York City and adopted her two daughters. The polyglot Olmos family made their home in New York and San Fernando Valley, California until 1999, when Bracco and Olmos separated. In March 2002, Olmos, 55, filed to end his marriage to "The Sopranos" co-star Lorraine Bracco, 47.