Hispanics have made a valuable contribution to various fields. Right from the 16th century writer Miguel de Cervantes, to the 20th century boxer Oscar De La Hoya, there are many famous names that share a Hispanic heritage. Here’s presenting you with a list of some famous Hispanic people.
First Hispanic in Space
Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez was the first Latin American to reach space. He held the positions of Director of the Military Patriotic Educational Society and Director of International Affairs in the Cuban armed forces. He is also the first Cuban to travel into earth orbit, and is known as the first black cosmonaut.
The term ‘Hispanic’ may refer to people of country heritage who speak Spanish. It may be used for people from ancient Roman Hispania. The terms ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino’ are often used interchangeably to refer to Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, or South or Central Americans (excluding Brazil). Thus, Spanish Americans, Latino Americans, and Colombian Americans belong to the Hispanic group. In this Entertainism article, we have enlisted some of the famous Hispanics from different fields. The article includes famous Hispanic artists, actors, athletes, political figures, and businessmen, among others (listed out in the alphabetical order).
Born on August 4, 1955, in Texas, he was raised in Humble, a town outside Houston. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He practiced privately as an attorney in a law firm in Houston. In 1994, he became the general counsel to George W. Bush, who was the Texas governor that time. He later became the Secretary of State of Texas, and was then the Texas Supreme Court Justice. He was the 80th United States Attorney General, which made him the highest-ranking Hispanic in executive government. He has excelled as a White House Counsel, and was the first Hispanic to hold this position.
He was born in August 1946, in Arizona. After completing high school, he served the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He obtained a degree in marketing and started working in the advertising industry. Baseball, being his hobby, he decided to apply his business skills in purchasing a baseball team. He purchased the salt Lake Trappers minor league team and the deal was successful. He had an ambition to own a Major League Baseball team, which he fulfilled on purchasing Anaheim Angels from the Walt Disney Company in 2003. With that he became the first Mexican American to own a major sports team in the US.
Born on August 30, 1972, in San Diego, California, she was brought up in Long Beach. She started working as a fashion model at the age of 16. Her 1994 film The Mask became one of the highest-earning films that year. In 1996, she acted in films like The Last supper and She’s the One. One of her most remembered movies My Best Friend’s Wedding came in 1997, followed by There’s Something About Mary, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. Her 1999 film Being John Malkovich brought her another Golden Globe nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category. In 2010, she was ranked as the richest Hispanic female celebrity by Forbes. In 2013, she published The Body Book: Feed, Move, Understand and Love Your Amazing Body, which was co-authored by Sandra Bark. It was among the New York Times Bestsellers that year.
Born on July 20, 1947, in Mexico, he began to play the violin and the guitar at a very young age. After moving to San Francisco, he gained more exposure to music. He performed before an audience for the first time in 1966. In the same year, he formed a band by the name Santana Blues. The success of this band led him to be contracted with Columbia Records. He soon became a known name in the field of music. He specialized in fusing rock with Latin American music. Rolling Stone enlisted him in the top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, in 2003. He is the winner of ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards.
Edward James Olmos
Born on February 24, 1947, in California, he grew up in the same state. As a child, he aspired to be a professional baseball player. During teenage, he developed an inclination towards rock and roll and became the lead singer for the band Pacific Ocean. During that time, he performed at clubs, and also took courses in acting. In the ’70s, he turned to acting and began his career in television and films. He was nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Actor in a Leading Role, for his role in Stand and Deliver. He is the first and the only American-born Hispanic to receive this nomination.
Born on August 13, 1926, Castro is a Cuban revolutionary leader, who emerged to be the 22nd President of the country. As a child he was raised in foster homes away from his father. He was a gifted student who took keen interest in sports. Towards the end of 1945, he got enrolled in the law school at the University of Havana and soon got absorbed in the political culture at the University. He headed the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks, in 1953. Later, he went to Mexico with the intent to organize the invasion of Cuba. He soon became the Prime Minister of Cuba. He was instrumental in transforming Cuba into a one-party socialist republic. He received the honor of holding the highest military rank and also being the President of the country. His younger brother Raul Castro succeeded him as President. Projecting himself as a revolutionary, Fidel Castro remains to be one of the most notable figures in the Cuban history.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Born on March 6, 1927, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a Colombian novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer and journalist. He was brought up by his maternal grandparents till he was eight, after which he moved to his parents’ home. In his early years, he was influenced by his grandparents. His thoughts and political views were largely based on the opinions of his grandfather. His grandmother’s skills of story-telling influenced the writings of Gabriel. He started a career in journalism while studying law. His literary works fetched him a Nobel Prize in Literature. His novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera and his short story collection called, Strange Pilgrims are some of his most popular works. The use of magical elements to explain the reality characterizes his works. He died on April 17, 2014, and is regarded as one of the most significant authors of the 20th century.
Born on October 20, 1957, in California, she came from a background where education wasn’t encouraged. She was the first in her family to attend college. She obtained a BA in political science and then a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of California. For some time, she served as a management analyst at the civil rights division of the Office of Management and Budget during Ronald Reagan’s administration. In 1982, she became Director of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program to help the underprivileged receive good education. She ran for the California State Assembly, and was elected to it in 1992. In 1994, she was elected to the California State Senate, and became the first Hispanic woman to hold this position. She has served as the United States Secretary of Labor during Obama’s administration. She has also served in the United States House of Representatives. In 2000, she received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, and was the first woman to receive this honor.
Born on July 24, 1969, J.Lo, as she is popularly called, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and fashion designer. She is also a famous record producer and television producer. She has found a place in the list of ‘100 Most Influential Hispanics’. She was born and brought up in New York. She was a student of Catholic schools. She started receiving training in dancing and singing and soon began to perform at nightclubs across Manhattan. Her albums like On the 6, Brave and J. Lo remain to be popular. Since 1999, Lopez has released seven albums, appeared in many films, and received many awards. She ranks in the 20 Richest Women in Entertainment and is indeed one of the most distinguished personalities in the entertainment industry.
He was born in Mexico, on December 26, 1951. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. During college, he joined Opus Dei, a Catholic organization. In 1978, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology. The same year, he was enacted as a priest of Opus Dei. In 1980, he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology. In 1991, he became a regional representative of the National Association of Hispanic Priests, and its president in 1995. In 1997-98, he served as a member-at-large on the Board of Directors for the National Catholic Council of Hispanic Ministry. Since 2001, he has been serving as the Archbishop of Los Angeles and is the first Hispanic to be on this position. He is the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the US. In 2005, Time enlisted him as one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in the US. In 2007, CNN enlisted him among Notable Hispanics. He played a key role in creating the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL).
Born on March 19, 1943 in Mexico City, Mario Molina is one of the pioneering discoverers of the Antarctic ozone hole. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Mexico, followed by a master’s from West Germany. In 1972, he obtained a doctoral degree in Chemistry. He was one of the authors to write about the effect of CFCs on the ozone layer. His observations and conclusions about the negative impact of CFCs on the environment resulted in banning the release of CFCs from aerosol cans and refrigerators. Today he is a part of many environmental organizations. His contribution to the study of Earth’s ozone layer is noteworthy. In 1995, when he received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, he became the first Mexican citizen to accomplish this feat.
Born in the year 1961, Michael Cordua grew up to become a renowned and an award-winning business entrepreneur in the culinary industry. He was born in Nicaragua and later migrated to Houston, Texas. After graduating in Economics and Finance, he worked for a shipping firm in Houston for a while. He trained himself in cooking, for the reason that he missed food at home. Though he had no experience in the restaurant industry, he opened his first restaurant in 1988 and called it Churrascos. He began to be praised for his restaurants and soon opened quite a few in and around the city. He received the honor of being one of the Top Ten Chefs of America. In 1994, he received the ‘Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence’. The secret of his success, perhaps, lies in his courage to ‘experiment’. He was the first one to introduce the people of Houston to the cuisine of Latin America.
Miguel de Cervantes
This is one of the most prominent names in Hispanic literature. Born on September 29, 1547, he is believed to have moved to different places with his family in the early years of his life. To pursue a career, he went to Italy, where he caught interest in Renaissance art, architecture, and poetry. For a brief period, he served as a soldier in the Spanish Navy Marines. He returned to Spain and started writing. His first major literary work La Galatea was published in 1585. In 1605, the first part of Don Quixote was published, with which Miguel de Cervantes rose to fame. This work of his is considered as the first modern European novel and as the best fictional work ever written. He died on April 22, 1616 in Spain.
Oscar De La Hoya
Born on February 4, 1973, in California, he belonged to a boxing family. Having him win an Olympic gold was his mother’s wish. And it did come true when he won a gold medal against Marco Rudolf at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Spain. It was after this victory that he earned the nickname Golden Boy, which is still with him. After a successful career in boxing, he announced his retirement in 2009. He holds records of defeating 17 world champions and winning 10 world titles in six weight classes. He is the wealthiest boxer. He is the founder of Golden Boy Promotions, a firm that promotes combat sports. He is the first Hispanic to own such a firm and also among the very few who are involved with promotional activities during their career.
He was born on September 24, 1905, in Spain. Interested in biology since childhood, he joined the University of Madrid Medical School after completing high school. With the encouragement of his teacher Juan Megrin, he, with a fellow student Jose Valdecasas, devised a method to measure muscle creatinine levels. He obtained an undergraduate medical degree. In 1929, he was invited to the Otto Meyerhof’s laboratory at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology. For his postdoctoral study, he went to the London National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). Thereafter, he worked in many universities on important positions. In 1959, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Arthur Kornberg. It was awarded for his work in the synthesis of RNA.
Born on July 10, 1972, in Colombia, she was raised as a Catholic. After studying dentistry for some time, she turned to modeling and acting. She first appeared in a Pepsi commercial at the age of 17. She has co-hosted two television shows. She is known for her role in Chasing Papi, an English film. Due to her success on television, she received offers for films. She has been nominated for four Golden Globes, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards. In 2012 and 2013, she has been the highest-earning actress on US television. This Colombian-American actress has been enlisted as one of the most powerful women in the world in the Forbes list of 2014.
Born on June 25, 1954 in New York City, Sonia Sotomayor was brought up as a Catholic. According to her, she had realized who she wished to become, quite early in life. She knew she wanted to be an attorney, when she was only 10. She received a scholarship to the Princeton University. After graduating from there, she entered the Yale Law School, from where she obtained her Juris Doctor degree. In 1980, she was named to the New York Bar. Pursuing her legal career with hard work, she went on to become an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 2009. She is the first Hispanic to hold this position, the third female justice, and also among the youngest Supreme Court justices.
These Hispanics are a source of inspiration for many and Latinos around the world are proud of them and their exceptional work.