Famous Hispanics in Entertainment

Salma Hayek
This Mexican actress started her screen career in telenovelas filmed in Mexico. She has since continued to work successfully in both Spanish and English films. She also successfully converted a telenovela (Betty la fea) to English speaking audiences - Ugly Betty.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer, a New York born Puerto Rican, made it big playing in the movie Selena. Since then she has become a music and screen superstar.

Rita Hayworth
Famous in films of the 40's. She was especially renowned for her dancing with Fred Astaire.

Rita Moreno - (originally Rosa Dolores Alverio)
She is the first woman to win all four: an Academy Award, a Tony Award, an Emmy (2 actual), and a Grammy.
Anthony Quinn - crossed into the U.S. via a coal wagon through the Río Grande. He has won two Oscars and starred in several dozen movies.

Martin Sheen - (originally Ramón Estevez)
He has acted on Broadway, television and the big screen, and his four children are now following in his footsteps.

Joan Baez
A singer and songwriter of both Mexican and Scottish heritage. Through her music she tries to give voice to those whose voices are seldom heard, so the message of peace across cultures may be promoted.

Gloria Estéfan
A singer/dancer in the band Miami Sound Machine with her husband Emilio. Her family fled Cuba when she was 14 months old, and she has been singing since she was only three.
José Feliciano - A singer and songwriter who also happens to be blind. He was playing the guitar at 9 years of age. His best known song is Feliz Navidad.

Tito Puente
A Congo drum player. He is a member of the band Mambo Kings.

Linda Ronstadt
A singer and songwriter. Her big start was listening to her father sing on local radio stations in Tucson, AZ. Eventually she went on to record about 50 albums. She sings mainly in English as she did not learn Spanish at home.

Richie Valens - (originally Richard Valenzuela)
At 17 he became famous for the best known version of the traditional folk song La Bamba. Unfortunately, his career was cut short that same year due to a plane crash near a concert site in IA.


Ellen Ochoa
First Hispanic woman astronaut. She was an engineer and a pilot who wanted to be a role model for Hispanic girls, so they wouldn't set their sights too low.


Roberto Clemente
Baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates (after the Dodgers wouldn't let him play in the major league due to the color of his skin). He had 3000 hits, and won two World Series along with four batting championships.

Nancy Lopez
Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) golfer and youngest woman inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame. She has won over 39 tournaments and 2 million dollars.

Lee Trevino
Professional Golf Association (PGA) golfer. He has a wry sense of humor and keen sense of competition. He has also been honored for giving back to others as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Fashion Designers

Oscar de la Renta
Designer of modern fashion. His popular designs range from blue jeans to evening wear, with price tags also ranging accordingly.

The Old West

Josefa Jaramillo Carson
Kit Carson's wife. She guarded his body for 3 days following his death during an ongoing attack on their cabin.

Government/Political Activists

Joseph Marion Hernández
Member of U.S. Congress in 1822, delegate from the Florida territory.

Romualdo Pacheco
U.S. Representative from California was elected in 1876 by a one-vote margin. He served for four months before his opponent succeeded in contesting the results. In 1879 he was again elected to Congress, where he served for two terms.

Octaviano Larrazolo
U.S. Senator was elected in 1928 to finish the term of New Mexico senator Andieus Jones, who had died in office. He served for six months before falling ill and stepping down; he died in 1930.

Dennis Chavez
The first Hispanic senator of New Mexico to serve a whole term, who served from 1935 through 1962.

General Elwood Pete Quesada
First Hispanic Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency. He helped create this agency to manage the growing aviation field and improve airline safety. He served in this position from 1958 to 1961. The agency became the Federal Aviation Administration in 1966.

Romana Acosta Bañuelos
First Hispanic U.S. Treasurer from 1971-1974.

Lauro F. Cavazos
First Hispanic U.S. cabinet member from 1988-1990 as Secretary of Education.

Antonia Coello Novello
First Hispanic U.S. Surgeon General from 1990-1993. She was also the first woman ever to hold the position.

Katherine Ortega
The 38th U.S. Treasurer. She was the tenth woman to ever fill this office. A love of math and a banking background paved the way for such a position.

Antonia Novello
The 1st woman U.S. Surgeon General. She was also the first Hispanic to hold this honor. She has both a degree in medicine and a masters in Public Health.

Henry Cisneros
First Hispanic U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1993.

Alberto Gonzales
The first Hispanic U.S. Attorney General in 2005.

Bill Richardson
Current Governor of New Mexico was the first Hispanic Democrat to run for President in 2008. Though he eventually lost the nomination to Barack Obama, Richardson made history by entering the race.

Sonia Sotomayor
First Hispanic Justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. She was also the third woman to hold the position.

Casimiro Barela
AColorado state senator for over 40 years. He also helped write the Constitution of Colorado. The town of Barela, Colorado is named after him as well.

César Chavez
A migrant worker who made a difference. He organized the National Farm Workers Association to fight for better pay and working conditions of the migrant working population.

Federico Peña
Mayor of Denver, Colorado at 36 years of age. He is a lawyer who also has a love of sports. He played 11 of them in high school and started the Colorado Rockies. In Washington, D.C. he then served as Secretary of Transportation.