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Tony Plana Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Jan 1, 0001
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

The slightly gritty and wizened Cuban-American actor Tony Plana boasts a resumé that is no less than extraordinary. Whatever the limitations of Hispanic typecasting, Plana soared high above them from the time of his debut in the early '80s, seeking out roles in several of Hollywood's most respected and venerable films -- ethnically themed and otherwise. He first culled attention as Rudy in [[Performer~P114978~Luis Valdez~luisvaldez]]'s stylized, theatrical period piece [[Feature~V56202~Zoot Suit~zootsuit]] (1981), starring a then-unknown [[Performer~P105065~Edward James Olmos~edwardjamesolmos]]. Plana's subsequent efforts read like a best-of early-'80s cinema; he tackled [[Feature~V36015~An Officer and a Gentleman~anofficerandagentleman]] (1982), [[Feature~V100301~Love and Money~loveandmoney]] (1982), [[Feature~V52142~Valley Girl~valleygirl]] (1983), and [[Feature~V65144~El Norte~elnorte]] (1983), all within a few years of one another. Plana was particularly effective as Fr. Manuel Morantes in [[Performer~P88386~John Duigan~johnduigan]]'s wondrous, overlooked biopic [[Feature~V42034~Romero~romero]] (1989, about archbishop and activist [[Performer~P436249~Oscar Romero~oscarromero]]) and as Carlos Bringuier in [[Performer~P112907~Oliver Stone~oliverstone]]'s [[Feature~V25653~JFK~jfk]] (1991). In the 2000s, Plana unveiled a heightened interest in television, gracing the casts of such series as [[Feature~V182650~Ally McBeal~allymcbeal[tvseries]]] and [[Feature~V313209~The Drew Carey Show~thedrewcareyshow[tvseries]]] as an occasional guest performer. Plana is best known to younger viewers, however, for two small-screen portrayals: that of cutthroat terrorist Omar in [[Feature~V257810~24~24[tvseries]]], and -- on a very different note, Ignacio -- the widower dad of the title character -- on the comedy drama [[Feature~V361841~Ugly Betty~uglybetty[tvseries]]].
Educationally, Plana trained in the drama programs at Loyola Marymount University and London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He made the leap from acting to directing with two projects: [[Feature~V134257~A Million to Juan~amilliontojuan]] (1994, co-helmed with [[Performer~P61029~Paul Rodriguez~paulrodriguez]]) and [[Feature~V228176~The Princess and the Barrio Boy~theprincessandthebarrioboy]] (2000). The latter constitutes Plana's directorial debut. It tells of a young well-to-do Hispanic woman ([[Performer~P223465~Marisol Nichols~marisolnichols]]) who bucks convention by falling for a working-class boy, and simultaneously attempts to stand in the way of her father's marriage to a wicked lover. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi