Jimmy Smits

Born: July 9, 1955

Jimmy Smits grew up in Brooklyn, New York, though he spent a lot of time with family members in Puerto Rico when he was a teenager. Smits is of Puerto Rican descent on his mother's side. His father came from Dutch Guiana, now Surinam. As a teenager,Smits became very interested in theater. At Brooklyn's Thomas Jefferson High, he quit the football team in order to spend more time acting in school plays and musicals. Jimmy's parents encouraged him to attend college.

At Brooklyn college he majored in theater and earned his bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1980 and an Masters in Fine Arts from Cornell University in 1982. Jimmy worked as a union labor organizer during his college years as a way to help the community.

Smits helped found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries.

Learn more about Jimmy at the following websites:

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