Born in Bakersfield, California, Robert Beltran is one of ten siblings; brother Louis Cruz Beltran is a well-known Latin jazz musician. Beltran’s first professional role was in Luis Valdez’s critically acclaimed film Zoot Suit. A year later, he won the titled role in Paul Bartel’s black comedy Eating Raoul; he worked again for Bartel in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. Before being cast as Chakotay, Beltran made guest appearances in dozens of television series, including Midnight Caller, Miami Vice, Murder, She Wrote, and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He is currently a regular in the HBO series Big Love. In the theatrical arena, Beltran co-founded and serves as co-artistic director of the East LA Classic Theatre Group, the nation’s only Latino-based theater company that offers professionally performed Shakespeare adapted for youth in underserved communities of color. He also is active in promoting Latino poetry through live readings and charity efforts that support the National Down Syndrome Society.
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