‘Just a Puerto Rican kid from Brooklyn’ Jimmy Smits receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jimmy Smits has finally made his mark in Hollywood — on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On Wednesday, the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actor was recognized with the 2,696th star on the iconic Los Angeles landmark at 6100 Hollywood Blvd., near Gower St.

With a career spanning 30 years and including a wide range of roles in highly acclaimed television shows, the veteran Latino thespian took part in the virtual ceremony, where revered television director Paris Barclay and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda sang his praises.

“What a blessed man I am. I’m just a Puerto Rican kid from Brooklyn, who was determined to follow his dream and chase passion,” Smits, 65, said as he fought back tears during his acceptance speech. “Today is honestly beyond anything that I could’ve envisioned.”

After making his television debut in a 1983 episode of the ABC soap opera “Ryan’s Hope,” Smits made his prime-time debut in the pilot of “Miami Vice,” portraying the partner of Detective Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) who was killed by a car bomb in the episode’s first five minutes.

He gained notoriety for his role in the popular 1980s TV ratings juggernaut “L.A. Law,” for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.

As one of the prominent leading actors of Hispanic descent on television, the Thomas Jefferson High School alum, Brooklyn College and Cornell University grad went onto win praise for his roles in acclaimed dramas “NYPD Blue,” “The West Wing” and “Sons of Anarchy.”

He also appeared in “Dexter,” “24: Legacy” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”

“My goal as an actor has been to interpret and to bring into life fully-rounded characters with thought provoking stories, hopefully, that reflect the American experience,” said Smits. “So does it matter that I’m Hispanic, Latino, Latinx? You bet it does,” he said.

“My heritage informs all my characters, no matter who they are. And believe me, I’m very proud to be someone who continues in the tradition of actors like Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quinn, Rita Moreno, Raul Julia. I think that what’s driven me from the beginning of my professional career through these days is an ongoing visualization and realization of a dream,” Smits added before mentioning his latest project, the Scott Sanders-produced movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical “In The Heights.”

“It’s a musical about joy, about never giving up, about overcoming the odds and it focuses on something that so many can relate, the hope of a better life.”

Smits also appeared in several big screen films, including “My Family/Mi Familia,” Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and “Old Gringo” with Gregory Peck, whose star is near Smits’ at Hollywood and Gower in Hollywood.

He recalled being “in awe” with Peck, who “imparted wisdom about life as an artist and the responsibility that comes with it.” Smits shared how Peck helped to “set me on the right path and treated me as an equal. And that’s why today’s tribute is even more significant.”

“The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to be [honor] one of the hardest working actors in show business,” Walk of Fame producer Ana Martinez offered. “The fact that we placed his star near the star of his favorite actor and co-star Gregory Peck makes this ceremony even sweeter. We are proud to add Jimmy Smits to our Walk of Fame family.”

“I honestly cannot imagine a bigger honor,” Smits said.

A longtime advocate for bringing more Latinos in front of and behind the cameras, he co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, which fosters Hispanic talent and career opportunities in the media and entertainment industries.

Alongside Jennifer Lopez, Paul Rodriguez, Sheila E. and will.i.am, the married father of two is an investor in the Conga Room, a Los Angeles dance club and live event venue that opened in 1998.

Smits can also currently be seen in the New Normal Rep online theater production of Nilo Cruz’s “Two Sisters and a Piano.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting