UTA, City of Arlington Helped Actor Lou Diamond Phillips Pursue His Dream
Celebrated actor, director, and producer Lou Diamond Phillips, a 1985 graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington, developed his dream right here in The American Dream City.
Phillips received his big break when he was cast as Ritchie Valens in the smash hit La Bamba, which led to many more memorable performances in movies like Young Guns, Courage Under Fire and Stand and Deliver, for which he won an Independent Spirit Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination.
A Corpus Christi native, Phillips spent his college years performing on the stage at UTA and live theatre throughout the DFW Metroplex. His passion for the stage eventually earned Philips a Tony nomination for his work in The King and I on Broadway in 1996.
He returned to Arlington on September 7, 2017 to kick off UT Arlington’s Maverick Speaker Series at Texas Hall. The University also hosted a film festival showcasing some of Phillips’ work. All proceeds for his Maverick Speakers Series event benefited the Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF), helping many UTA students affected by Hurricane Harvey afford basic necessities. The Arlington homecoming was an emotional one for Phillips.
“It’s still very palpable. Tears almost spring to my eyes because I spent so much time on these boards, sitting out in the theatre listening to classes and watching my friends act,” Phillips said. “It provided a very fertile and rich environment for me to pursue the dream.”
Lou Diamond Phillips is the perfect reflection and realization of the American Dream. He was born February 17, 1962, on the Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines.
“I say this with all humility and not necessarily patting myself on the back. I am the American Dream. I am living the American Dream,” Phillips said. “I am a first generation American. I was born in the Philippines on a Navy base of dual citizenship. I chose American citizenship. I stood by my mother when I was 16 years old as she took the oath of citizenship. I don’t know any other country in the world where I could be a movie star, where I could be on television and have the kind of career and the opportunities that I have had.”
Currently, Lou Diamond Phillips is a lead cast member in the Netflix show Longmire. The show’s final season debuts on Friday, November 17.