Cine, Historia

This day in Chicano history: Paul Rodriguez (1955)

January 19, 1955:
Paul Rodriguez was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, México

From Wikipedia:

Rodriguez was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, México to Mexican agriculture ranchers. His family migrated to East Los Angeles, where he enlisted in the military; he was stationed in Iceland and Duluth, Minnesota. Rodriguez endorsed Meg Whitman in the 2010 California gubernatorial election.

Really? Meg Whitman? I didn’t know he was a Republican. It’s always a little surprising when I hear of a famous Latino who is not aligned with the Democratic party. Maybe there’s something about Mexicans who grew up in Compton (hey, HP!).

Like a lot of people my age, I first remember Rodriguez as the recent probably-not-legal immigrant, Javier, who shows up at Rudy’s house in Born in East LA. Javier gets freaked out by the television and telephone while Rudy (Cheech Marin) is getting accidentally deported. Over the years, Rodriguez has been in several other films, television shows, done voice over work and recorded comedy albums and television shows. If you Google him, you might get some results for his son, Paul, a pro skateboarder. P-Rod made one of my favorite commercials a few years ago. Check it out.

Reading up on Paul Rodriguez brought a question to mind. If there was a Latino version of the Kevin Bacon game, who would take the place of Bacon?

I’d choose any of the following:
Paul Rodriguez
Edward James Olmos
Lupe Ontiveros
Cheech Marin
Hector Elizondo

All actors are veterans and have been in many mainstream and Latino-focused movies and television shows. In the past, I was pretty sure it was Eddie Olmos. I wrote up mini analyses of Born in East LA and La Bamba, but got lazy and abandoned the project. One of the things I looked for in the Latino LA-based films was an Olmos connection.

Photo via Instant Riverside.

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