5 Surprising Facts About Jimmy Smits’ Family History

Jimmy Smits has been captivating audiences on screen for years, but did you know his family history is just as fascinating?

In this blog, we will dive deeply into 5 surprising facts about Jimmy Smits’ family history that you don’t want to miss.

5. Multicultural Roots: Smits’ Dutch and Puerto Rican Ancestry

Jimmy Smits’ family history is rich in cultural diversity. His mother, Emilina Smits, was born in Puerto Rico, while his father, Cornelius Smits, was of Dutch descent.

Smits was exposed to both cultures growing up, and this multicultural upbringing greatly influenced his life and career.

Smits has spoken about how his diverse background has been a plus in his acting career, allowing him to bring a unique perspective to his roles.

He has also advocated for greater representation of Latinos in the media industry and helped to found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts in 1997.

This organization is dedicated to promoting and advancing the presence of Latinos in film, television, and other entertainment industries.

4. A Challenging Upbringing: Smits’ Working-Class Childhood in Brooklyn

Jimmy Smits was raised in a working-class home with numerous difficulties in Brooklyn, New York.

Despite his difficulties, Smits’ early years were nevertheless characterized by a strong feeling of community. 

Smits has spoken about how his diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn exposed him to different cultures and perspectives.

Jimmy Smits' Family
Jimmy Smits’ Family. Image Source: Instagram.

This exposure helped shape his understanding of the world and has influenced his work as an actor and advocate.

Smits’ upbringing also inspired his advocacy work for causes like education and AIDS patients.

He has been involved in organizations like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships and support for Latino students.

Through his work, Smits has shown that his difficult childhood has not held him back but instead has motivated him to make a positive impact in the world.

3. Pursuing Education: Smits’ Journey to Cornell University

Despite his family’s financial challenges, Jimmy Smits was determined to pursue higher education.

Jimmy attended Brooklyn College and then transferred to Thomas Jefferson University, where he graduated with a degree in theater arts in 1980.

After graduating, Smits continued to pursue his passion for acting, working in theater productions and landing small roles in television shows and movies.

However, Smits’ also recognized the importance of furthering his education and applied to graduate programs.


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A post shared by Jimmy Smits (@officialjimmysmits)

In 1982, Smits got accepted into the acting program at Cornell University, where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in theater.

Jimmy’s education at Cornell helped him hone his craft and gave him the skills and confidence to pursue a successful acting career. 

ALSO READ: Know about Kodi Lee’s family.

2. Giving Back: Smits’ Advocacy for Causes like Cancer and Latino Representation in Media

Throughout his career, Jimmy Smits has been committed to giving back to his community and advocating for the causes he believes in.

Jimmy strongly advocates for cancer awareness as his father passed away from blood cancer.

The actor has been involved in several public service campaigns to grow awareness about the disease and encourage people to get screened.

Smits has also been a vocal advocate for greater representation of Latinos in the media industry.

As co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, he has also worked to increase opportunities for Latino actors and filmmakers.

Additionally, the actor has spoken out about the need for more diverse storytelling and the importance of representation in shaping public perceptions of different cultures.

1. Family Today: Jimmy Smits’ Family Life

Since 1986, Jimmy has been in a long-term relationship with actress Wanda De Jesus, and the couple currently resides in Los Angeles.

Before Wanda, Smits was married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara Smits. They had two children together.

Jimmy Smits’ ex-wife died on April 16, 2010 from complications due to pneumonia.

Jimmy Smits’ children are Taina Smits and Joaquin Smits. They keep their relationship out of the public eye, and little is known about their day-to-day family life.

As Jimmy Smits’ family and Jimmy himself have been living a good life, we would like to extend our warmest greetings to him for his contributions to the entertainment industry and his advocacy work for various causes.

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