Jimmy Smits is an American actor famous for his roles as attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s drama L.A. Law, in 19990s police drama as an NYPD Detective on NYPD Blue, and on the 1999-2006 political drama The West Wing as Matt Santos. He was also a cast member of Sons of Anarchy from 2012-2014 as Nero Padilla.
Jimmy was born in Brooklyn, New York to Cornelis Leendert Smits and Emilina on July 9, 1955. He was brought up in a working-class along with his two sisters, Yvonne and Diana. Smits spent most of his childhood in Puerto Rico. Smits attended Thomas Jefferson High school and later enrolled in Brooklyn College from where he got his bachelor's degree in 1980. He then went to Cornell University and got his MFA in 1982. In his youth, Smits was an athlete.
Being raised in a Roman Catholic, he is identified as Puerto Rican. Smits frequently visits Puerto Rico. In 2001, Smits participated in a protest against U.S. Navy Bombing practices on the Puerto Rican offshore island and was arrested.
Smits has acted in numerous shows in the mid-1980s at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York. His roles include Max in Cabaret, Paul in Loose Ends, and the lead role in Ppudd’nhead Wilson. He has also participated in the Public Theater’s New York Shakespeare Festival where he played in Twelfth Night as Duke Orsino in 2002, and in 2004 in Much Ado about Nothing as Benedick.
In 2003 Smits played in the Broadway production, Anna in the Tropics, which was performed at the Royale Theater. He also appeared in God of Carnage opposite Christine Lahti, Annie Potts, and Ken Stott from November 2009 to February 2010. Smits also played in The Motherfucker with the Hat from December 2012 to March 2013 at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
In 1984, Smits played the role of Eddie Rivera in the two-hour series premiere of Miami Vice. Smits played the role of Victor Sifuentes in the NBC Television legal drama L.A. Law. He then played in the film My Family alongside Edward James Olmos and Jennifer Lopez.
Smits' most acclaimed roles were on the ABC television program NYPD Blue as detective Bobby Simone, in which he starred from 1994 to 1998. He received two ALMA award and many Emmy awards nomination. For his Excellence, he received HOLA award in 1999 from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.
Smits was scheduled to host the 2001 Grammy Awards although due to the terrorist attacks and in respect to the victims the show got canceled. He announced the winners through a non-televised press conference.
Smits than appeared in movies following Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) as Senator Bail Organa. He made his appearance in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008). He then starred in the final two season of drama The West Wing as Congressman Matt Santos.
Smits then played the role of Miguel Prado in Dexter as an attorney. He even got nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
Smits then appeared in Sons of Anarchy as Nero Padilla portraying a high-level pimp who refers to himself as a companionator. In 2016, he starred in Netflix series The Get Down, a musical drama TV series. The same year Smits returned to Rouge One: A Star Wars Story as Senator Bail Organa.
Smits was married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara Smits in 1981. The couple had two children Taina (B. 1973) and Joaquin (B. 1983). They got divorced in 1987 after 6 years of togetherness.
Smits has been in a relationship with Wanda De Jesus, an American actress, who played the role of Santana Andrade in Santa Barbara. The two started dating since 1986, and are living together in Los Angeles.
Being a private person Jimmy has not opened much about his personal life or has left any hints on getting married to his long-term girlfriend. Except for his relationship with Barbara and Wanda, there is no information regarding his past affairs, girlfriends, relationship, wife or marriage.
Smits was arrested for assaulting an officer in 1987 after police answered a call for help from his home. He and his girlfriend De Jesus were arrested for battery on three officers. Smits was fined $150 and was sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation whereas, Wanda was fined $250, 75 hours of community service and was sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation.
Jimmy stands 6 feet 3 inches tall in height. His nationality is American and ethnicity is mixed. The L.A. Law star has managed to make a net worth of $25 million. Although Jimmy does not have a fixed salary it is estimated that Jimmy earns $150 thousand per episode from every show he stars in. We believe his earning will grow in near future.
He has won Saturn Award for Dexter, a Primetime Emmy for L.A. Law, A Screen Actors Guild Award for NYPD Blue following with a Golden Globe and Satellite Award. Smits invested in The Conga Room, a Los Angeles dance club along with Paul Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. Smits helped co-found The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts in 1997. For his community work, he was honored with the Ackerman Leadership Award in 2015 and has won three American Latino Media Arts Awards.