Edward James Olmos, the 1992 Hispanic Heritage Awards Honoree for Performing Arts, is truly an icon for his generation and the generations that have followed. Because of his ability to be compassionate for others, he can adapt to a number of challenging roles making him one of the most well rounded actors of our time.
Mr. Olmos grew up wanting to be a baseball player but found himself playing music at local bars in Los Angeles instead. Later, he branched out to acting and landed a leading role in the play Zoot Suit, which dramatized the World War II era riots in Southern California. Zoot Suit successfully moved to Broadway and earned him a Tony nomination for his leading role as El Pachuco. The play then became a movie and, once again, Olmos played the leading character.
His career reached new heights when he started to take a variety of roles in films. His career in show business did not stop him from being socially responsible. In 1998, he founded Latino Public Broadcasting and currently serves as its Chairman. Latino Public Broadcasting funds programming to public television which focuses diversifying perspective on television and on issues affecting Hispanic Americans. Remaining deeply involved with his community, Mr. Olmos continues to break ground and challenge stereotypes with films like The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.
Mr. Olmos still invests much of his time in charitable causes. He often visits juvenile detention centers to speak to at-risk teens and he has also been an international ambassador for United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund.