Edward James Olmos


February 24, 1947
Los Angeles, California
Miami Vice Role
Detective Lieutenant Martin Castillo
Miami Vice Director
Actor/Voice artist
Years active
Kaija Keel (1971-1992)
Lorraine Bracco (1994-2002)
Lymari Nadal (2002-present)

Edward James "Eddie" Olmos (born February 24, 1947) is an actor and director. His most memorable roles are as Gaff in Blade Runner (with Brion James), Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice, Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver (with Lou Diamond Phillips and Rosana DeSoto), the head of the Quintanilla family in the film Selena, and as Commander William Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series.

Early lifeEdit

Olmos was born Edward Olmos in Los Angeles, California, He grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player and became the Golden State batting champion. In his teen years, he turned to rock and roll, and became the lead singer for a band he named Pacific Ocean. He graduated from Montebello High School in 1964. For several years Pacific Ocean played various clubs in and around Los Angeles and released a record in 1968. At the same time, he attended classes at East Los Angeles College and California State University, including courses in acting.


1960s through early 1980sEdit

In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Olmos branched out from music into acting, appearing in many small productions, until his big break portraying the narrator, called "El Pachuco", in the play Zoot Suit, which dramatized the World War II-era rioting in California brought about by the tensions between Mexican-Americans and local police. The play moved to Broadway, and Olmos received a Tony nomination for his portrayal as El Pachuco. He subsequently took the role to the movie version in 1981. He guest-starred in many police dramas in the 1970s-80s including Kojak, CHiPs, Starsky & Hutch (starring David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, and Antonio Fargas), The Blue Knight, Police Woman, Hawaii Five-O, and Hill Street Blues (where Anthony Yerkovich and Dick Wolf served as writers).

After his first major movie appearance in Blade Runner, a role that has remained one of his most iconic despite it's relatively minor nature (and a role Olmos reprised in the 2017 movie Blade Runner 2049), Leonard Nimoy pursued Olmos for the role of the Klingon Commmander, Kruge, in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Paramount Studios, however, ultimately decided upon Christopher Lloyd, although Olmos was later offered the role of the U.S.S. Enterprise captain in the second Star Trek television series, The Next Generation, but he turned the part down.

Miami ViceEdit

2005 miami vice season 1 001

Edward James Olmos as Castillo

In 1984, Olmos was cast as Lt. Martin Castillo in the NBC series Miami Vice, joining the show six episodes into its first season after his predecessor, Gregory Sierra, requested to be written out of the production. His portrayal of Castillo, the brooding, mysterious, taciturn leader of the Metro-Dade Organized Crime Bureau, is arguably his most famous acting credit, and the part quickly made Olmos into a huge star. For his performance as Castillo, he won two Golden Globes and one Emmy, all in the Best Supporting Actor category.

From the start, Olmos had complete creative control over his character, including his attire (black tie and jacket, white shirt), his office (cleared desk, no clutter), his mannerisms (his angry staredown) and his vocal patterns (low mumbling, a choice that often caused headaches for the show's sound engineers). He also made his directorial debut on Miami Vice, taking the helm for the episode "Bushido". During the third season hiatus, he was cast as the real-life math teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, a part that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

After ViceEdit


Edward James Olmos as Adama

After Miami Vice was cancelled in 1989, Olmos directed the film American Me in 1992, then starred as the Quintanilla patriarch in 1997's Selena. He then returned to television as a Supreme Court Justice in two episodes of acclaimed political drama The West Wing. In 2003 Olmos returned to sci-fi with the lead role of Commander (later Admiral) William Adama in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series, a part that once again generated significant acclaim for his acting and won him several awards. The show's executive producers, Ron Moore and David Eick, later stated that they had considered Olmos "the perfect person for this role" when first developing the show, although they doubted they would ever "get an actor that big". During his time on Battlestar Galactica, Olmos also directed four episodes, as well as the final Galactica TV movie, The Plan. Olmos has repeatedly stated that his work on Galactica is among the most enjoyable he has ever done. In 2013 he appeared in the feature film 2 Guns (with Bill Paxton), and in 2015 appeared in the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a 2016 TV reboot of the movie Urban Cowboy, the 2017 animated film Coco and the 2019 film A Dog's Way Home (his most recent movie appearance), then returned to episodic TV in the cable series Mayans M.C. (with Tony Plana).

Personal lifeEdit

In 1971, Olmos married Kaija Keel, the daughter of actor Howard Keel (who appeared in many 1950s musicals). They had two children, Bodie and Mico, before divorcing in 1992. Olmos also has three adopted children: Michael D., Brandon and Tamiko. He married actress Lorraine Bracco (who appeared in several episodes of Dick Wolf's Law & Order series) in 1994, but she filed for divorce in January 2002 after five years of separation. He is currently married to actress Lymari Nadal, 30 years his junior.

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