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Tony Plana

Tony Plana

As an actor Tony Plana has performed in more than 70 feature

films. Recent films include Pain & Gain with Dwayne Johnson and Mark

Wahlberg directed by Michael Bay, Roman J. Israel, Esquire starring

Denzel Washington directed by Dan Gilroy, and the recently released,

Bombshell, directed by Jay Roach starring Charlize Theron, John Lithgow,

Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie and Wasp Network, directed by Olivier

Assayas with Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez.

His latest television projects include principal roles in the HBO

miniseries on the Watergate scandal, The White House Plumbers, starring

Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, David Makes Man written by

Academy Award winner for Moonlight, Tarell McCraney, Start Up with

Martin Freeman and Ron Perlman, Academy Award winner Paolo

Sorrentino’s The Young Pope with Jude Law and Diane Keaton for HBO,

Jugar Con Fuego for Telemundo and the top-rated show Mayans MC on

the FX Channel.

Current recurring roles include the comedies One Day at a Time

with Rita Moreno and Super Store with America Ferrera, as well as the

dramas, The Good Fight with Christine Baransky, The Affair with Anna

Paquin, The Punisher with Jon Bernthal, Madam Secretary with Tea Leoni,

Lethal Weapon, Colony, Alpha House, Elementary, The Fosters, and The


Tony Plana also starred as Ignacio Suarez, the widowed father to

America Ferrera’s Ugly Betty, in ABC’s landmark, groundbreaking hit

series for which he received the 2006 Golden Satellite Award from the

International Press Academy, an Imagen Award, and an Alma Award. Ugly

Betty received the highest ratings and the most critical acclaim of any

Latino-based show in the history of television, most notably 11 Emmy

nominations and a Golden Globe Award for best comedy.

Previously, he also starred in Showtime’s original series, Resurrection

Boulevard, and was nominated for two Alma Awards for best actor.

Resurrection Boulevard was the first series to be produced, written,

directed and starring Latinos and awarded an Alma Award for the best

television series of 2002.

Other feature film credits include JFK, Nixon, Salvador, An Officer

and a Gentleman, Lone Star, Three Amigos, Born in East L.A., El Norte,

187, Primal Fear, Romero, One Good Cop, Havana, The Rookie, Silver

Strand and Picking Up the Pieces with Woody Allen. He has also appeared

in the action thriller Half Past Dead with Steven Segal; The Lost City, with

Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, and Dustin Hoffman; and Disney’s highly

acclaimed GOAL! The Dream Begins.

He has produced and directed two feature film comedies, A Million

to Juan with Paul Rodriguez and The Princess and the Barrio Boy, the first

Latino family film to be produced by Showtime, starring academy award

nominee Edward James Olmos and Maria Conchita Alonso. The film

received two 2001 Alma Award nominations for Best Made for Television

Movie and Best Ensemble Acting and won the 2001 Imagen Award for

Best Made for Television Movie. Plana’s television episodic debut was

2001’s Resurrection Blvd.’s Saliendo, which garnered critical acclaim,

receiving a GLAAD Award for best dramatic episode of the year and a

SHINE Award nomination for sensitive portrayal of sexuality. He has

directed several episodes of Nickelodeon’s hit series, The Brothers Garcia,

receiving a Humanitas Award nomination and winning the Imagen Award

for its third season finale, Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. He also directed

the season finale of Greetings from Tucson for the Warner Brothers

Network and the Halloween episode of Desperate Housewives in its final

season on ABC.

Plana was the Co-founder and served as Producing Artistic Director

of the East LA Classic Theatre (ECT), a group comprised of multicultural,

classically trained theatre professionals, for over 20 years. The EastLA

Classic Theatre was dedicated to serving economically challenged

communities through educational outreach programs for primary and

secondary schools.

As ECT’s Producing Artistic Director, Plana defined its mission as

‘educational’ with a priority on creating access to classic dramatic

literature for young minority audiences, emphasizing interpretations

filtered through a multicultural, non-traditional perspective and

presented with a contemporary, populist aesthetic. His provocative

adaptations of classic Shakespearean plays were specifically conceived for

students with little or no theatre going experience. He produced, directed

and adapted these plays set against curriculum relevant historical

backgrounds that served as catalysts for the investigation of personal and

interpersonal psychology, race and cultural relations, socio-political issues

and world history. Such as A zoot suit styled, musical Romeo & Juliet, was

set during World War II with 1940’s swing music and dance, featuring an

East L.A. Latina Juliet and a West L.A. Anglo sailor Romeo struggling to

define their love and identities in a wartime city sharply divided by racism,

xenophobia, and economics and a Mariachi Musical production of Much

Ado About Nothing set in early California.

Plana has continued to challenge the boundaries of teaching and

learning language through an innovative approach called Language in

Play (LIP). Working directly with language arts teachers, LIP utilizes the

performing arts to impact literacy skills in academically at risk and bi-

lingual students. Evolved collaboratively with educators over the last

fifteen years, ECT’s unique process of ‘personalizing’ language, through

student play writing and play acting based on autobiographical

experience, has proven more effective in achieving academic advancement

and personal growth than established, traditional methods. It has

consistently improved students’ reading, writing and speaking skills

resulting in higher attendance and lower drop-out rates, increased class

participation and homework completion, as well as achieved better test

scores, strengthened self-confidence and provided an engaging and

meaningful school experience.

In 2005 he was honored as Educator of the Year by Loyola

Marymount University’s Department of Education. In 2008 he was

awarded Loyola High School’s Cahalan Award as a distinguished alumnus

and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Imagen Foundation. In 2009 the

HOLA organization honored him with the Raul Julia HOLA Founders

Award for excellence. In 2010, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa selected him as

worthy of one of the highest honors bestowed by the City of Los Angeles,

The Dream of Los Angeles Award for his contributions to the media arts

and education. He is the proud recipient of the 2013 ALMA Lifetime

Achievement Award from the National Council of La Raza, the National

Association of Latino Independent Producers’ Lifetime Achievement

Award for 2016, and the 2018 Nosotros Lifetime Impact Golden Eagle

Award. He is currently an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Equity

for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University School of Education.

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