Date of Birth: July 9, 1955
Better known for his TV work than his film credits, Jimmy Smits was born to a silk-screen plant manager in Brooklyn, NY. The son of a Puerto Rican mother and a Surinam father, Smits went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, where he soon gave up football to concentrate on drama. After high school, Smits majored in education at Brooklyn College. He decided to further his studies in acting and went to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY to major in theater.
In New York, he worked as a community organizer while waiting for his big break. His excellent work in off-Broadway productions led to his being cast in several movie and TV projects, most notably the two-hour pilot for Miami Vice (1984).
In 1986, Smits was signed to play novice attorney Victor Sifuentes on the weekly NBC series L.A. Law, a role which would win him a fervent fan following as well as an Emmy.
He eventually left the series to pursue a film career, but by 1994 was back on the small screen in such cable-TV productions as The Cisco Kid and Solomon and Sheba.
While filming the latter production in Morocco, Smits was asked by the producers of the TV series NYPD Blue to replace actor David Caruso. In the fall of 1994, Smits made his NYPD Blue bow in the role of detective Bobby Simone, and soon became immensely popular with the viewers. Smits also garnered a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television series in 1995, and shared a 1994 Screen Actors Guild Award with the cast.
His film career has ploughed through hit and miss movies. One of his more successful movies was Switch (1991), in which his chauvinistic best friend is given a second chance and returns to the world of the living, only to be pursued by Smits' character, Walter Stone. When Smits landed the role of Senator Bail Organa in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), it was a big boost to his film career.
Married in 1975, Smits enjoyed a union that lasted nine years in which he fathered two children, daughter Taina and son Joaquin. His love interest since 1986 has been actress Wanda De Jesus.