Lou Diamond Phillips
(born February 17, 1962) is an American
film, television, and stage actor. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Ritchie Valens
in the 1987 Biopic La Bamba
Phillips began as Lou Diamond Upchurch
at the Subic Bay Naval Station
in the Philippines
, the son of Lucita and Gerald Upchurch, a naval officer. His father was an American of Scottish-Irish
descent and his mother was a Filipina
of Spanish, Chinese and Japanese descent. Phillips was named after Marine
legend Lou Diamond
and adopted his surname, "Phillips", from his stepfather.
The first low-budget films in which he starred in were called Trespasses
. Phillips' big break came with the starring role in 1987's La Bamba
as early rocker Ritchie Valens
. Though the role garnered him praise from critics, he has since found it difficult to find another leading role in a big-budget Hollywood
film. In 1988, he co-starred along Edward James Olmos
in the inner-city high school drama, Stand and Deliver
. He plays Angel Guzman, a wannabe cholo
gangster who is inspired by his math teacher, Jaime Escalante
, to challenge himself at calculus; and along the road, creates a friendship with his teacher. Stand and Deliver
was actually filmed before La Bamba
, but was released the year after. In 1988 and 1990, Phillips co-starred with Emilio Estevez
and Kiefer Sutherland
in the cowboy movies Young Guns
and Young Guns II
In 1996, Phillips made his Broadway debut as the King in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's The King and I. Phillips won a Theatre World Award and was nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his performance.
In 1998 he starred as Cisco, the counterpart of the main character Melvin Smiley (played by Mark Wahlberg, launching his career) in the comedy-action movie The Big Hit.
On September 11, 2007, Phillips joined the touring troup for Lehrner and Lowe's Camelot in the role of King Arthur. He also played a role in the first season of the TV series "24" as secret government agent Mark DeSalvo.
Phillips plays the recurring role of FBI agent Ian Edgerton in the television series Numb3rs. Edgerton is the FBI's best tracker and sniper, working as a sniper instructor at Quantico FBI Academy when he is not working a case in the field.
During the making of Trespasses
, he met Julie Cypher
, an assistant director who would become his wife on September 17, 1987. They later divorced on August 5, 1990. Cypher would leave him to start a relationship with rocker Melissa Etheridge
. He met Jennifer Tilly
, to whom he was briefly engaged, although the two never married. He later married model
Kelly Preston (not to be confused with John Travolta
's actress wife of the same name
). They have three daughters: twins Grace Moorea and Isabella Patricia (born 1998); and Lili Jordan (born 2000). They separated in 2005 and their divorce was finalized in August 2006. He married Yvonne Marie Boismier that same month, and their first child, daughter Indigo Sanara, was born in October 2007.
Phillips plays on the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games. He plays for the Sierra Canyon H.S. & Santa Suzanna Montessori charity.
On Friday, August 11, 2006, Phillips was arrested for alleged domestic violence at his Los Angeles home following a dispute with his girlfriend, makeup artist Yvonne Boismier. In December, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of domestic battery, and was sentenced to three years probation. He also was ordered to undergo one year of domestic violence counseling and to serve 200 hours of community service.
In an interview titled "Shine on Lou Crazy Diamond" in Smash Hits magazine, Phillips revealed that his favorite band is Pink Floyd, and that his favorite song is "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".
Phillips is an outspoken, long-time advocate of HR 4574, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2006, legislation which would honor the service of Filipino World War II veterans by granting them the same benefits made available to other U.S. World War II veterans.
Awards and achievements
- 1989 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male (Stand and Deliver, 1988)
- 1989 Golden Globe award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Stand and Deliver, 1988)
- 1989 Western Heritage Award Bronze Wrangler Theatrical Motion Picture (Young Guns, 1988).Shared with: John Fusco (producer), Christopher Cain (producer), Charlie Sheen (actor), Emilio Estevez (actor), Kiefer Sutherland (actor)
- 1993 Oxfam America award for his dedication toward ending world hunger
- 1994 Houston International Film Festival Gold award for Best Theatrical Feature Film for Ultimate Revenge
- 1996 Tony Award nominee for Best Actor on Broadway (The King And I)
- 1996 Theatre World Award: The King and I
- 1996 New York Outer Critics Circle: Outstanding Broadway Debut Award of an Actor, The King & I
- 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Actor - Adventure/Drama (Courage Under Fire, 1996)
- 1997 Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best Supporting Actor (Courage Under Fire, 1996)
- 2001 Filipinas magazine Achievement award for Entertainment
- 2003 Cinemanila Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (Philippines)
- 2005 Asia Pacific Islander Heritage Award for Excellence in Entertainment and Arts
- 2008 Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award