Who is Jimmy Smits?

American actor Jimmy L. Smits was born in New York City USA, on 9 July 1955, making his zodiac sign Cancer. He has 62 acting credits, and is perhaps still known best for portraying Senator Bail Organa in the 2005 action adventure fantasy movie “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”, which starred Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen, and was written and directed by George Lucas. It follows Anakin who’s been lured by Chancellor Palpatine now that Obi-Wan’s not around, and the movie won 27 of its 91 award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Makeup.

Jimmy’s ethnicity is Puerto Rican, and he spends most of his spare time there.

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Education and early life

Jimmy was raised in Brooklyn, New York City alongside his sisters Diana and Yvonne, by their Puerto Rican mother Emilina (nee Pola) who died aged 85 in 2015, and Surinamese father Cornelis Leendert Smits, who was 86 when he died in 2015.

Jimmy and his family moved to Puerto Rico when he was 10, but moved back to New York City a couple of years later; Jimmy didn’t speak Spanish until the move to Puerto Rico, and has revealed that it was ‘traumatic’ to attend a Spanish-only school.

He studied at Thomas Jefferson High School and was an athlete during his four years there; Jimmy matriculated in 1973 and then enrolled at Brooklyn College, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1977.

He enrolled at Cornell University in 1980, and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1982.

Roles in TV series

Jimmy’s debut TV series appearance was in the 1980 musical “A Capitol Fourth”, and the first half of the ‘80s saw him appear in an episode or two of the romantic drama “Ryan’s Hope”, the crime action “Miami Vice” and the romantic mystery “All My Children”.

From 1986 through 1992, he starred as Victor Sifuentes in the drama “L. A. Law”, which also starred Corbin Bernsen and Jill Eikenberry, and was created by Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher. It follows the people working as a major law company in Los Angeles, California and it won 45 of its 192 award nominations.

From 1994 through 2004, Jimmy portrayed the lead character Detective Bobby Simone in 90 episodes of the crime mystery “NYPD Blue”, which also starred Dennis Franz and Gordon Clapp, and was created by David Milch and Steven Bochco. It follows a group of detectives as they’re investigating homicides in Los Angeles, and the series won 88 of its 291 award nominations. The remainder of the decade saw Jimmy appear in the drama “The West Wing”, another drama “Cane” and the biographical historical documentary “American Experience”.

From 2012 through 2014, he played Nero Padilla in the critically acclaimed crime thriller “Sons of Anarchy”, which starred Katey Sagal and Charlie Hunnam, and was created by Kurt Sutter. It follows a member of an outlaw motorcycle club as he’s raising his child, the series aired from 2008 through 2014, and won 11 of the 67 awards for which it was nominated.

Jimmy’s three most recent TV series roles have been portraying Elijah Strait in 10 episodes of the 2019 drama “Bluff City Law”, Senator Bail Organa in three episodes of the 2022 action adventure mini-series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and Assistant Chief John Suarez in 21 episodes of the 2023 crime mystery “East New York”.

Roles in movies

Jimmy’s debut film role was playing 2nd Policeman in the 1986 drama “Rockabye”, and some of his following roles were in 1986, the action crime comedy “Running Scared” and the sports drama “Hotshot”, then 1987 crime horror “The Believers”.

What marked the ‘80s for him was perhaps playing Arroyo in the 1989 historical romantic adventure “Old Gringo”, which starred Jane Fonda and Gregory Peck, and was directed by Luis Puenzo. It follows Harriet Winslow who’s come to teach in Mexico, and has now been kidnapped by General Tomas Arroyo.

The first half of the ’90 saw Jimmy appear in thw 1991 fantasy comedy “Switch” and the thriller “Fires Within”, and the 1992 drama “The Broken Cord”. The year 1995 saw him star as Jimmy in the drama “My Family”, which also starred Esai Morales and Edward James Olmos, and was written and directed by Gregory Nava. It follows a man who moved from Mexico to Los Angeles in the 1920s, and then married and had many children; the film won three of its eight award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Make-up. The remainder of the ’90s saw Jimmy appear in the 1996 action thriller “Marshal Law”, the 1997 crime thriller “Murder in Mind”, and the 2000 mystery thriller “The Million Dollar Hotel”.

He had only a couple of film roles in the 2000s, and the most popular amongst these was perhaps the 2009 romantic drama “Mother and Child”, which starred Naomi Watts and Annette Bening, and was written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia. It follows the lives of three women, and the movie won four of its 16 award nominations.

Some of Jimmy’s most recent film roles have been in the 2017 drama “Who We Are Now”, the 2020 crime action “The Tax Collector” and the 2021 romantic musical “In the Heights”.

Other credits

Jimmy received special thanks for the 2005 documentary movie “’NYPD Blue’: A Final Tribute”, the 2007 crime thriller movie “Illegal Tender” and the 2009 documentary film “Crude”.

He has three producing credits: all 13 episodes of the 2007 drama series “Cane”, two episodes of the 2010 drama series “Outlaw”, and all 10 episodes of the 2019 drama series “Bluff City Law”.

Some of Jimmy’s recent talk-show appearances have been in “The Talk”, “The Late Late Show with James Corden”, and “CBS Mornings”.

Awards and nominations

Jimmy’s won 14 of his 59 award nominations. Some of his wins include a 1990 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, for “L. A. Law”, a 1996 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama for “NYPD Blue”, and a 1999 ALMA Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Television Series, also for “NYPD Blue”.

Jimmy was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 2 June 2021.

Love life and wife

Jimmy prefers not to speak about his love life in public, but we still know about two women whom he’s been with. He and American non-celebrity woman Barbara Smits married in a private ceremony on 10 June 1980, but were together for 10 years prior to marrying; Barbara gave birth to their daughter Taina Smits in 1973 when Jimmy was 18, and their son Joaquin Smits followed in 1983. Their divorce was finalized on 22 June 1987 – Barbara passed away on 16 April 2010.

Since 1986, Jimmy’s been in a relationship with American actress Wanda De Jesus; she has 59 acting credits and is perhaps still known best for portraying Graciella Rivers in the 2002 crime action movie “Blood Work”.

There are no other women whom Jimmy’s perhaps been with, that we know about; he’s in a long-term relationship with Wanda De Jesus as of August 2023, and has two children with his late wife Barbara Smits.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Jimmy initially rejected the offer to star in the series “NYPD Blue”, and it was only after one of the other actors departed from the series that he agreed to take his place.

Many people mistakenly believe that Jimmy’s real name is James.

Jimmy’s a co-owner of the club The Conga Room in Los Angeles, with other co-owners being Brad Gluckstein, Paul Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.

He’s portrayed an attorney in four TV series, including “Bluff City Law”, “Dexter” and “L. A. Law”.

Over 6,000 people are following Jimmy on Instagram today; he’s posted only 25 pictures, and most feature him acting.

He’s a philanthropist and often donates money to Puerto Rican charity organizations.

One of Jimmy’s favorite actors is Benicio del Toro, and some of his favorite movies include “Sicario”, “Traffic” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Jimmy’s age is 68. He has brown eyes and black hair, is 6ft 3ins (1.91m) tall and weighs around 195lbs (89kgs).

Jimmy’s net worth’s been estimated at over $12 million, as of August 2023.

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