Entertainment

20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Actor And Comedian Cheech Marin

Richard Anthony Marin, or simply known as Cheech, is one of the most recognizable Latinos in film mostly due to his role in the hippie counterculture film series “Cheech & Chong.” The 72-year-old comedian has starred in over 20 films since 1978 but has done more than just act. He is a stand-up comedian, actor, voice actor, writer and activist whose made an huge impact on Latino pop culture. Here are a few facts you may not know about the man we all know as Cheech. 

1. Cheech grew up in South Los Angeles.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


South LA gave him many of the ideas and skits he used throughout his movie career including the film “Born in East L.A.” It was also there where he developed a reputation as a class clown and sang in his friends’ bands.

2. He was nicknamed “Cheech”after fried pork.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


He was Richard Anthony Marin, but nicknamed Cheech as a kid because his uncle said he looked like a little chicharrón (fried pork rind). The name stuck with him growing up and he is now infamously known after the very popular Mexican snack.

3. He voiced several Disney animated films, most notably as a Hyena in the Lion King.

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He has provided his voice in Disney animated films like “Oliver and Company,” “The Lion King,” “Cars,” and most recently “Coco.” Don’t be surprised if the next time you’re watching a Disney movie and you hear Cheech. 

4. Cheech is a veteran writer and an author.

CREDIT: a_readers_diary / Instagram


Cheech recently published an autobiography, “Cheech Is Not My Real Name…But Don’t Call Me Chong,” about his life and the story behind “Cheech and Chong.” He also wrote for Poppin Magazine, a Canadian underground rock magazine and written a handful of children’s books. 

5. Marin is a frequent collaborator with director Robert Rodriguez.

CREDIT: ryeequalsfun / Instagram


Robert Rodriguez is one of the most notable Latino directors in the film industry and it’s no surprise he has worked with Marin seven times. He appeared in last two installments of the “Once Upon A Time In Mexico” trilogy, the “Spy Kids” trilogy, “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Machete.”

6. He has an honorary doctorate degree.

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Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles gave Marin a Honorary Doctorate degree at its commencement ceremony back in May 2007. Cheech is a big fan of art so this made sense for him to be given such an honor. 

7. Cheech is believed to own one of the biggest private collections of Chicano art.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


Cheech Marin has one of the most exclusive private collection of Chicano art in the United States. Much of it formed the core of his exhibition “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge,” which broke attendance records during its groundbreaking 12-city tour during 2001-2007 to major art museums across the United States.

8. He is currently in the works of opening up an arts center in Riverside, California.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


The museum, tentatively titled the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry is scheduled to open in 2020 in Riverside, east of Los Angeles. California gave the stoner comedian $9.7 million this year for funding to open the museum.

9. Marin auditioned to sing for Frank Zappa back in 1967.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


Frank Zappa was one of the biggest rock groups during the late ’60s and Marin had a good shot of getting in the group but things didn’t pan out well. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in September of that year to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War. Marin would eventually release a solo album later in his career.

10. He is an avid golfer.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


He initially disliked the sport until he co-starred in the film “Tin Cup,” which is based on golfing. He also enjoys horse archery, which he practices on a special course that he has built on his private home. 

11. Marin has released two best-selling children’s music albums.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


“My Name is Cheech, the School Bus Driver” (1992) and “My Name is Cheech, The School Bus Driver ‘Coast to Coast'” (1997) became best-selling albums. They were both eventually released bilingually. In 2007, “Cheech the School Bus Driver” was turned into a book. 

12. He was in a fraternity in college.

CREDIT: csunkappasigma / Instagram


Marin graduated from Bishop Alemany High School and then studied at California State University, Northridge. He became a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He has previously donated money to support the fraternity throughout the years. 

13. Cheech didn’t actually smoke any marijuana in any of the “Cheech and Chong” films.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


It may come as a surprise to some that Cheech and Chong never actually smoked any marijuana during any of their films. The only drug taken in the entire film series was Peyote.

Read: 24 Stages People Who Can’t Handle Weed Go Through When They Get High As Told By Gatos

14. He won the first Celebrity Jeopardy tournament back in 1992.

CREDIT: @HankusMackimus / Twitter


Cheech is pretty good when it comes to game shows as he has appeared twice on “Celebrity Jeopardy” even winning the inaugural contest back in 1992. In 2010, he was victorious again as he beat Anderson Cooper and actress Aisha Tyler on “Celebrity Jeopardy.”

15. Marin was delivering carpets when he met Tommy Chong.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


Cheech was working as a delivery man for an upholstery company when he ran into Tommy Chong, a musician who was running an improv comedy troupe from a strip bar owned by his family. After a brief spell with the troupe, Marin and Chong began performing as a musical act, then as stand-up comedy duo. 

16. He has been married three different times.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


Marin was first married in 1975 and now is married to his third wife, Natasha who is a Russian pianist. They married in August 2009, and has three children from previous marriages.

17. He had a brief and somewhat successful singing career.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


He got his start at 5 years old when his friend’s mother had a recording studio and he sang classic Mexican songs on a record. This got him interested in music and eventually started a rock band in high school where he threw backyard gigs. Before him and Chong became actors they were primarily a singing group which led them to later performing.

18. His dad was a police officer. Which meant he was constantly getting in trouble.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram


Marin grew up with Mexican American parents, Oscar Marin, a policeman in the Los Angeles Police Department, and his wife Elsa Marin, a secretary. He grew up in a traditional Mexican household where he was constantly getting in trouble throughout grade school.

19. He joined a long list of celebrities that have made a cameo on The Simpsons.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

On March 13, 2011 Cheech made a surprise cameo on an episode of The Simpsons. In the episode, The Simpsons family attends a live Cheech and Chong show where Homer attempts to join the duo. The episode had various references to Cheech and Chong skits throughout their respective careers. 

20. Cheech is an avid and true blue fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

CREDIT: cheechmarinofficial / Instagram

There is no surprise here since he was born and grew up in Los Angeles, Marin is a huge fan of the LA Dodgers. He even threw out the first pitch at a game back in 2009 and has been seen at countless games throughout the years.

The Remarkable Life And Career Of Edward James Olmos, Who Continues To Represent Us Proudly

Entertainment

The Remarkable Life And Career Of Edward James Olmos, Who Continues To Represent Us Proudly

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It’s no secret that the Hollywood industry has a diversity problem. The exclusion of Latinos in the arts was the basis of a study conducted by Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The results, which were released last month, were dismal. As of 2018 “only 4.5 percent of all 47,268 speaking or named characters across the last 12 years were Latino and a mere 3 percent of lead or co-lead actors.” For Latinos, this news is not a surprise. That is why we hold Latino actors, the few that have gotten the chance to work and especially those that have been in the Hollywood industry for decades, with such high regard. For us, there is one such person that not only has been our representation in Hollwyood but has also told the story of historic Latinos.

Edward James Olmos has led a remarkable career in film and television that spans more than 45 years. 

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This Mexican-American thespian has 121 acting credits to his name, and that does not include his work on Broadway, as a director, or composer. Within his storied career in Hollywood, Olmos has an estimated 29 awards in his field and 27 nominations. It would surprise some people to know that Olmos had aspirations that didn’t include acting at all.

Olmos was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Boyle Heights and in Montebello, California.

Credit: Pinterest

In a 2013 interview, Olmos said he had a strong work ethic thanks to his parents who were always working. He was raised by his great grandparents and strived to try it all from sports to music and even politics. As a young teen, Olmos wanted to be a baseball player. He also the lead singer of a band. “I really had a strong passion for baseball,” Olmos said, who was first caught up by the sport at age five. But admits he didn’t have the talent for it at such a young age. He said it was the divorce of his parents, around the age of seven, that made him want to dedicate himself to the sport. He said baseball taught him a lot about discipline which helped him understand his capabilities as a person. In 1960, around the age of 15 and 16, Olmos began to have another passion. He wanted to be a rock n’ roll star. Even though he said he couldn’t sing very well, he called himself a performer. For two years that he performed in a rock band, Olmos said his father stopped talking to him because he didn’t approve of his new path. 

After years as a stage actor, his breakthrough role came in 1981 in the film “Zoot Suit.”

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In 1964, while in college, Olmos took his first acting class. He said his discipline of baseball and his passion for singing lead him naturally to consider acting. He said he tried auditioning but always got turned down. He kept at it and studied acting under the greats. He started doing theater in Los Angeles, and in 1978 he got a role in the theater production of “Zoot Suit” about the true story of the 1943 riots in Los Angeles that resulted in the arrests of many Latinos. In 1979, Olmos received a Tony Award nomination for his role of  El Pachuco. In 1981, a film version of the play hit theaters and Olmos comprised as El Pachuco once again. 

In 1988, Olmos portrayed the true story of math teacher Jaime Escalante in the beloved film “Stand and Deliver.”

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The story depicts how students from  James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles overcame immense obstacles to pass AP Calculus tests during their senior year. The film received several Independent Spirit Awards including for Best Male Lead, which Olmos won, and Best Supporting Male for actor Lou Diamond Phillips. Olmos also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Olmos remembers that role fondly and with emotion. “Nobody wanted to give us a penny to tell the story of a Bolivian man helping kids take a math test,” he said earlier this year to Remezcla.  “Watching my performance, I realized what he gave us, it was like catching lightning in a bottle and we did it.” 

Today, Olmos continues to have a stellar body of work from “Battlestar Galactica” to “Portlandia” and “Mayans M.C.”

Some of his most recognized roles including in “Selena,” “Blade Runner,” “American Me,” and “My Family” and the work he is doing today on television has solidified Olmos as an icon in Hollywood and within the Latin community. 

“In 1964, when I started out we weren’t 22 percent of the population of the U.S, we were much less. We were also less than 2 percent of all the content in television and film. Today, with 22 percent of the population, we are still less than 4 percent of all content. We are in a worse place now,” he said. While that is an unfortunate fact, we’re still so thrilled and proud that he continues to represent us today. 

READ: 30 Years After Being Released, Here’s Where The Cast Of ‘Stand And Deliver’ Are Today

Antonio Banderas Owes His Life To A Heroic Drag Queen Who Stopped Traffic To Save His Life

Entertainment

Antonio Banderas Owes His Life To A Heroic Drag Queen Who Stopped Traffic To Save His Life

antoniobanderasoficial / Instagram

Antonio Banderas is one of the most iconic actors to ever live. He has played a long series of characters spanning time, ideologies, and sexual orientations. However, Banderas recently shared a story that suggests his storied career might not have ever happened.

In a recent interview, Banderas recently admitted that he was in a horrific accident when he was a teenager.

Credit: @DNAmagazine / Twitter

Banderas recently spoke to The Independent and the interview started with a story about how a drag queen came to his rescue. Banderas was only about 16 years old at the time and continues to thank and think about the drag queen who came to his rescue.

“It was 1976,” Banderas recalls to The Independent.

“And the front wheel of my motorbike went into a ditch and, boom! I hit a car and my head hit the tank. Bam! Then this person who was working a corner for clients, came from nowhere, got in the middle of the road and stopped a car to take me to hospital,” Banderas told The Independent.”The kickstand got me here [in the calf]. Blood everywhere. You could see the bone.”

That’s right. A 16-year-old Banderas owes his life to a drag queen who drove him to the hospital after a motorbike accident.

We don’t know who the drag queen is and Banderas didn’t give any more details other than the rescue. However, it is pretty cool to hear Banderas recall a story from so long ago that many never knew.

The interview was for Banderas’s new role in “Pain and Glory” where he plays a gay man.

“I don’t really know,” Banderas said when asked if straight people are given LGBTQ+ roles too often. “I’ve played gay characters for a long time and have always tried to be very respectful to the gay community. I’m an actor. I just play the character and try to believe them completely when I’m doing them. I try not to perform them; I try to live them. But, you know, I’m not Zorro, either. I have never been heroic. I run away!”

Banderas has played the role of a gay man multiple times starting in 1987 with “Law of Desire.”

Whoever the person is who saved Banderas’s life all those years ago, thank you. You saved an artistic gem and we are all better for it.

READ: Despite The Quintanilla Family’s Protests, Telemundo Is Moving Forward With The ‘El Secreto De Selena’ T.V. Series