A proud and prolific Latino character actor who honed his craft on stage before embarking on a film and TV career, the Cuba-born, U.S.-raised Plana trained at London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Unfortunately, due to stereotyping, this versatile performer often found himself relegated to playing thugs and military types. In the '90s, Plana took control of his career trajectory by cofounding the East L.A. Classic Theatre and coproducing the Paul Rodriguez movie A Million to Juan
. Effortlessly alternating between the big and small screens, indies and blockbusters, comedies and dramas, Plana broke through as the widowed, Mexican-American patriarch Roberto Santiago in the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd.
, also helming a number of episodes. In 2000, he cowrote and directed the TV-movie The Princess and the Barrio Boy
. In 2006, Plana signed on to the dramedy Ugly Betty
as the title character's loving but stubborn illegal-immigrant father. It was a touching role that endeared him to a whole new set of prime-time viewers. Tony Plana Fast Facts:
- Immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba at a young age.
- Starred as the widowed, Mexican-American patriarch Roberto Santiago in Showtime's acclaimed multigenerational series Resurrection Blvd.
- Cofounded and is executive artistic director of the East L.A. Classic Theatre.
- Developed a literacy program called Beyond Borders: Literacy Through Performing Arts.
- Says "theater is my passion," though he has some 70 film roles on his résumé.
- Active in raising awareness of Alzheimer's disease.
- Tony Plana Relationships:
- Alejandro Plana - Son
- Ada Maris - Wife
- Isabel Plana - Daughter
- Tony Plana Awards:
- 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Nominee
- Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA (1975); attended The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England