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Barack Obama campaigns in Kissimmee, Florida
Actor Jimmy Smits speaks at a campaign rally for democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama at Oceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida on October 29, 2008. (UPI Photo/Michael Bush)
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Jimmy Smits (born July 9, 1955) is an American actor. Smits is perhaps best known for his roles as attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s legal drama L.A. Law, as NYPD Detective Bobby Simone on the 1990s police drama NYPD Blue, and as U.S. Congressman (and later President of the United States) Matt Santos on The West Wing. He is also notable for his portrayal of Bail Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Miguel Prado in Dexter. In the fall of 2010, he starred in NBC's short-lived series Outlaw, about a U.S. Supreme Court justice who leaves the bench to return to practicing law.

Smits was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Cornelius Smits, was a Surinamese immigrant of Dutch descent who managed a screen-printing factory. His mother, Emilina, was a Puerto Rican who worked as a nurse. Smits was raised in a strict devout Roman Catholic family. "Jimmy" is actually the name on his birth certificate, rather than "Jim" or "James." He has two sisters, Yvonne and Diana. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood and spent time in Puerto Rico during his childhood. Smits earned a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1980 and an MFA from Cornell University in 1982. Though born in New York, Smits has deep Puerto Rican roots and frequently visits the island. In 2001, he was arrested for his participation in protests against U.S. Navy bombing practices on the Puerto Rican offshore island of Vieques.

A notable early role played by Smits was that of Eddie Rivera in the series premiere of Miami Vice. In the episode, he was Sonny Crockett's original partner, only to be shortly killed off in a sting gone wrong. He played Victor Sifuentes in the first five seasons of the long-running legal drama L.A. Law.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jimmy Smits."
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