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15 History-Making Latinos at the Emmys

From Ricardo Montalbán, Rita Moreno and Edward James Olmos to Pedro Pascal, Latinos are leaving their mark on U.S. television


spinner image clockwise from top left america ferrera then rafael amaya then rita moreno then edward james olmos with olivia brown then pedro pascal
The work of clockwise from top left, America Ferrera, Rafael Amaya, Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos with Olivia Brown and Pedro Pascal has been recognized by the Emmys.
JAMES DEVANEY/WIREIMAGE; TELEMUNDO/NBCU PHOTO BANK/NBCUNIVERSAL VIA GETTY IMAGES; JOAN ADLEN/GETTY IMAGES; EVERETT COLLECTION; DAVID LIVINGSTON/WIREIMAGE

Latinos are already making history at the upcoming Emmy Awards. As we wait to find out who will take home the coveted trophies at the 75th awards ceremony airing on Fox on Jan. 15, let’s take a look at some of the talented Latinos honored at the Emmys.

spinner image actor pedro pascal
Pedro Pascal is nominated for three awards for “The Last of Us,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World.”
David Livingston/WireImage

1. Pedro Pascal makes history

Chilean-born Pedro Pascal, 48, is up for three awards in his first year as an Emmy nominee: outstanding lead actor in a drama series, for The Last of Us; outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, for his appearance on Saturday Night Live; and outstanding narrator, for the documentary series Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World.

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spinner image actor albert paulsen right and brandon dewilde left
Albert Paulsen was the first Latino to win an Emmy in 1964. Here, Paulsen, at left, with Brandon deWilde in a scene from “All Fall Down.”
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images

2. The first winner

Ecuadorian-born Albert Paulsen became the first Latino to win an Emmy in 1964, for his supporting role in the episode One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich of the series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre.

spinner image actress rita moreno holding her emmy in nineteen seventy eight
Rita Moreno won an Emmy for her appearance in “The Rockford Files” in 1978.
Joan Adlen/Getty Images

3. A legendary winner

Puerto Rican-born actress Rita Moreno ranks among the EGOT winners (those who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards). She has scored two Emmys: the first in 1977, for her appearance on The Muppet Show, and the second in 1978 as the lead actress in the series The Rockford Files.

spinner image ricardo montalban left in his emmy wining role for how the west was won
Ricardo Montalbán, left, known for “Fantasy Island,” won an Emmy in 1978 for “How the West Was Won.”
ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

4. Bringing home the Emmy

Mexican-born actor Ricardo Montalbán is remembered as the enigmatic Mr. Roarke on the television series Fantasy Island, but he won an Emmy in 1978 as a supporting actor in the series How the West Was Won, whose three seasons aired on ABC.

spinner image edward james olmos center in his role in miami vice
Edward James Olmos, center, won for his role in “Miami Vice.” From left: Don Johnson, Olivia Brown, Olmos, Michael Talbott, Philip Michael Thomas and Saundra Santiago.
Everett Collection

5. In a police uniform

Los Angeles-born Edward James Olmos, who is of Mexican descent, won an Emmy in 1985 for his stellar performance in the supporting role of police Lt. Martin Castillo on the hit television series Miami Vice, produced by Michael Mann for NBC.

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Jimmy Smits, right, won an Emmy for his role in “L.A. Law.”
20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

6. Passion for justice

Jimmy Smits, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, has had a long career in film and television. In 1990 he was awarded an Emmy for outstanding supporting actor for his role as attorney Victor Sifuentes in the series L.A. Law, which aired from 1986 to 1994 on NBC.

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John Lequizamo performs his one-man show “Ghetto Klown” in 2014. His Emmy win was for the film based on “Freak.”
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

7. A “Freak”-ish talent

Colombian-born John Leguizamo won an Emmy for outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program in 1999 for Freak, a film based on his live stand-up comedy show on Broadway, where he plays multiple characters of a dysfunctional Latino family.

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America Ferrera starred as the title role in “Ugly Betty.”
James Devaney/WireImage

8. Ugly but well loved

Honduran-born America Ferrera won an Emmy in 2007 for her role as Betty Suarez in the hit comedy Ugly Betty, which was based on the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, written by Fernando Gaitán. Mexican actress Salma Hayek was one of the producers of ABC’s adaptation of the series.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda won an Emmy for the adaptation of “Hamilton” and for the opening number of the 2014 Tony Awards.
Tristar Media/Getty Images

9. History-making music

Puerto Rican playwright, actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda has won two Emmys. The first, in 2014, was for outstanding original music and lyrics, for Bigger!, the opening number of the 67th Annual Tony Awards in 2014. His second Emmy came in 2021 in the category of outstanding variety special (prerecorded), for the television adaptation of his musical Hamilton.

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Mario Kreutzberger — better known as Don Francisco, host of the popular variety show "Sábado Gigante" — was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2012.
Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images

10. A giant honor

Chilean Mario Kreutzberger — better known as Don Francisco, host of the popular variety show Sábado Gigante — became the first Spanish-language television personality to be inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Alexis Bledel, right, with Elisabeth Moss, won an Emmy for “The Handmaid’s Tale” in 2017.
Hulu/Courtesy Everett Collection

11. An Emmy with Argentine roots

Alexis Bledel won an Emmy for outstanding guest actress in a drama series for her performance in The Handmaid’s Tale in 2017. Bledel, born in Texas but of Argentine descent, went on to receive three more nominations for the same series, in 2018, 2020 and 2021.

spinner image actor alvaro morte of la casa de papel
Álvaro Morte won an International Emmy for “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”).
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

12. A milestone in Spanish television

The hit Spanish series La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) — produced by Atresmedia and Vancouver Media, aired on Spanish TV and later picked up by Netflix — won an International Emmy for outstanding drama series in 2018. Álvaro Morte, the lead actor who played The Professor, was one of the reasons for the series’ international success.

spinner image jharrel jerome holding his emmy for when they see us
Jharrel Jerome won his first Emmy for his role in “When They See Us,” based on the case of the Central Park Five.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

13. A special dedication

Jharrel Jerome, an actor of Dominican descent who identifies as Afro-Latino, won his first Emmy in 2019 for his role in When They See Us, based on the case of the Central Park Five, in which four African Americans and one Latino were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City in 1989. Jerome dedicated the award to the five men, who were in attendance at the ceremony.

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Rafael Amaya starred in Telemundo’s “El Señor de los Cielos,” which won an International Emmy in 2014.
Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

14. The lord of prime time

Telemundo’s blockbuster series El Señor de los Cielos was the first recipient of the International Emmy Award for best non-English language U.S. prime time program in 2014. The series, based on the life of Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, stars Rafael Amaya in the role of Aurelio Casillas.

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Sofia Vergara has yet to win an Emmy, even though she’s been nominated for her role in “Modern Family.”
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

15. Heavily nominated and best-paid

Sofia Vergara was nominated for four consecutive years for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family. Despite her multiple nominations and a growing star power that led her to be named by Forbes magazine as one of the best-paid television actors in the United States, she has yet to win a coveted Emmy.

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