A magnetic Latino actor and activist, Edward James Olmos born February 24, 1947, was raised in the tough 'hood of East Los Angeles and avoided falling in with gangs by pursuing his passions: first baseball and later rock and roll. In the mid-'60s he gigged with bands at night and studied at community college by day. By the '70s, Olmos had added acting to his eclectic résumé. His breakthrough role came in 1978 as the mythical narrator of the historical play Zoot Suit, which earned him a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, as well as a Tony nod when the show moved to Broadway. (Olmos reprised the role in the subsequent 1981 film.)
After a handful of projects, he came to prominence and won an Emmy and a Golden Globe as the police lieutenant Martin Castillo on the immensely popular TV series Miami Vice. Once the show folded, Olmos jumped to features and although he turned in many memorable performances — his Oscar-nominated portrayal of real-life inspirational teacher in Stand and Deliver, a gang member in the prison drama American Me, which Olmos also directed and produced — the small screen remained his medium.
Edward James Olmos did fine work in a slew of TV-movies and miniseries, including the lauded 2003 remake of Battlestar Galactica as the hardened military leader William Adama trying to lead the remnants of the human race to safety. When Battlestar Galactica became a regular series in 2004, he found himself essaying his hippest, most high-profile part since Miami Vice. More recently, in 2011, Olmos starred as a theology professor that mixes religion with homicidal tendencies in the 6th season of Dexter.
Off screen, Edward James Olmos has been married twice, to The Sopranos' actress Lorraine Bracco and currently to Lymari Nadal, that guest starred in the Battlestar Galactica: The Plan movie. Olmos devotes much of his time to humanitarian causes. He was the United States Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF; the national spokesperson for Voter Registration, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the AIDS Awareness Foundation; and sits on the boards of Recruiting New Teachers, Twentieth Century Fund, UCLA Mentoring Program and the National Council on Adoption, among others.