- Photo Name
- Talent Name
- Jimmy Smits
Equally at home on screen or stage, Jimmy Smits has etched a string of memorable performances that have earned him more than 40 award nominations as well as critical acclaim. One of the most versatile actors of his generation, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor, activist, philanthropist, producer and entrepreneur continues to take on new and diverse challenges, adding to a storied career that spans nearly 40 years.
Smits has enjoyed an exemplary career in stage, film and television. He received six consecutive Emmy nominations, winning in 1990 for his role as Victor Sifuentes on the multi-award-winning drama “L.A. Law.” He received a Golden Globe Award and five consecutive Emmy nominations for his role as Bobby Simone on the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning drama “NYPD Blue,” and he earned an Emmy nomination for his guest star arc in season three of Showtime’s hit series “Dexter.” Additionally, he received an ALMA Award and an Imagen Award for his performance on “The West Wing,” has four Golden Globe nominations and 11 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, receiving the honor in 1995 for “NYPD Blue.” His highly touted departure from the groundbreaking cop drama also won the Humanitas Award.
In 2019, Smits starred in the series “Bluff City Law” as a Memphis civil rights lawyer. Prior to that, he appeared in a season-long guest arc opposite Viola Davis on “How to Get Away with Murder,” and co-starred in both “24: Legacy” and Baz Luhrmann’s music-driven drama series “The Get Down.” Additional notable TV credits include a recurring role opposite Andy Samberg on the comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine;” a role in the final three seasons of the critically acclaimed drama “Sons of Anarchy;” “Outlaw,” which he also executive produced; the award-winning TV adaptation of “Lackawanna Blues;” the documentary series “Latin Music USA,” which he narrated; and “Cane” on the Network, a drama Smits both starred in and co-executive produced through his El Sendero Productions company.
Smits’ filmography includes Jon M. Chu’s critically acclaimed feature film “In the Heights,” “Mother and Child,” directed by Rodrigo Garcia and starring Annette Bening and Samuel L. Jackson; such early works as Peter Hyams’ “Running Scared” with Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal; John Schlesinger’s “The Believers;” “Old Gringo” with Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda; Blake Edwards’ comedy “Switch;” the critically acclaimed “My Family/Mi Familia,” directed by Gregory Nava, for which he received an IFP Spirit Award nomination; Carlos Ávila’s “Price of Glory,” George Lucas’ “Star Wars: Episode II–Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Episode III–Revenge of the Sith;” Gareth Edwards’ “Star Wars: Rogue One;” Robin Swicord’s “The Jane Austen Book Club” and “El Traspatio (Backyard),” directed by Carlos Carrera.
Smits began his acting career in the New York theater and returns often. He participated in numerous play readings throughout the pandemic, including the New Normal Rep online theater production of Nilo Cruz’s “Two Sisters and a Piano.” In December 2012, he appeared in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s hit play “Motherf**ker with the Hat” at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, on Broadway in the critically acclaimed hit “God of Carnage” and originated the role of the lector in Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics” in 2004. Besides work in regional theatre, he is most proud of his longtime connection with the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theatre, where he obtained his Actor’s Equity card, worked on numerous plays and readings over the years, both downtown and at The Delacorte, and served for a time on the board.
Smits has involved himself in various charitable organizations over the years, such as Stand Up 2 Cancer, the Los Angeles Free Clinic, Homeboys, St. Jude’s Hospital for Children and more. He has consistently been a strong advocate for education and co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) in 1997, along with actors Esai Morales and Sonia Braga and Washington attorney Felix Sanchez, to promote Hispanic talent in the performing arts. The organization offers graduate scholarships and cash grants at prominent colleges and universities that expand career opportunities and increase access for Hispanic artists and professionals while fostering the emergence of new Hispanic talent.
Smits’ birthday is July 9.