Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips, August 2007
Born Lou Diamond Upchurch
(1962-02-17) February 17, 1962
Subic Bay Naval Station, Philippines[1]
Occupation Actor, film director, television director
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) Julie Cypher (1987–1990)
Kelly Phillips (1994–2007)
Yvonne Marie Boismier (2007–present)

Lou Diamond Phillips ( Upchurch; born February 17, 1962) is an American actor and director. His breakthrough came when he starred as Ritchie Valens in the biographical drama film La Bamba (1987). For portraying Angel Guzman in Stand and Deliver (1988), Phillips was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won an Independent Spirit Award. He made his Broadway debut with the 1996 revival of The King and I, earning a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of King Mongkut of Siam.

Phillips' other notable films include Young Guns (1988), Young Guns II (1990), Courage Under Fire (1996), Che (2008) and The 33 (2015). He currently stars as Henry Standing Bear in the TV series Longmire (2012–). He made history as one of the inagural nominees for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for portraying Chieftain on The Crossroads of History (2016–).[2]

Early life

Phillips was born at the Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines, the son of Lucita Umayam Arañas and Gerald Amon Upchurch, a crew chief on a C-130 in the United States Marine Corps.[1][3][4] His father was an American of Scots-Irish and one-quarter Cherokee descent, and his mother, a native of Candelaria, Zambales, is Filipina, with distant Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Spanish ancestry.[4][5][6]

Phillips was named after Marine legend Leland "Lou" Diamond.[7] After his father died, he took his stepfather's surname "Phillips" as his own.[5]

He was raised in Texas, where he attended Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, graduating in 1980. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BFA in Drama.


Phillips in 1987

The first low-budget film in which he starred was called Trespasses. Phillips' big break came with the starring role in 1987's La Bamba, in which he played early rocker Ritchie Valens. Prior to his cinematic breakthrough, he starred in the Miami Vice episode "Red Tape" (13 Mar 1987), portraying detective Bobby Diaz.

In 1988, Phillips co-starred with Edward James Olmos in the inner-city high school drama Stand and Deliver, in a role for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture". He plays Angel David Guzman, a cholo gangster who is inspired by his math teacher, Jaime Escalante, to excel at calculus. Working to master the subject, he develops a friendship with his teacher. Stand and Deliver was filmed before La Bamba, but it was released a year later. In 1988 and 1990, Phillips co-starred with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland in the Western films Young Guns and Young Guns II, in which he plays Jose Chavez y Chavez, a historical Old West outlaw.

In the mid-1990s, Phillips was a vocalist with the Los Angeles-based rock group The Pipefitters.[8]

In 1996, Phillips made his Broadway debut as the King in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's The King and I. Phillips won a Theatre World Award and was nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his performance.[9]

In 1998, he starred as Cisco, the counterpart of the main character Melvin Smiley (played by Mark Wahlberg), in the comedy-action movie The Big Hit.

He later featured a minor role in the TV sitcom George Lopez (2002–2004) as George Lopez's half-brother.

Phillips starred in four episodes of the radio series The Twilight Zone: Vol. 1, "A Kind of a Stopwatch"; Vol. 3, "The Parallel; Vol. 10, "Miniature"; and Vol. 12, "Long Live Walter Jameson".

On September 11, 2007, Phillips joined the touring troupe for Lerner and Loewe's Camelot in the role of King Arthur.[10]

He also played a role in the first season of the TV series 24 as secret government agent Mark DeSalvo, opposite former Young Guns star Kiefer Sutherland. Phillips played the recurring role of FBI agent Ian Edgerton in the television series Numb3rs. Edgerton is an FBI tracker and sniper who works as an instructor at Quantico FBI Academy when he is not working a case in the field. Phillips won the second season of the NBC reality series, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, over pro-wrestler Torrie Wilson. Lou currently hosts the weekly series An Officer and a Movie on The Military Channel. This series features various theatrical World War II dramas, with discussion breaks during the film in which Phillips interviews members of the US Military and Intelligence communities about details of the events that inspired each film.

Phillips had a recurring role as Colonel Telford in the Stargate Universe television series during its two-season run on the SyFy channel 2009-2011. He played the would-be commander of the Destiny expedition, who is left behind when an accident launches an unsuspecting crew into deep space. The commander works from Earth to bring the crew home, often coming into conflict with the shipborne command characters.

Phillips has been a regular poker player since college.[11] In May 2009, Phillips placed 31st of 403 entrants in the 2009 California State Poker Championship Limit Texas hold 'em.[12] He placed in the money at the $10,000 July 2009 World Series of Poker World Championship No Limit main event.[13] He was eliminated as the original field of 6,494 was trimmed from 407 to 185. He entered the day in 114th place among the 407 and was eliminated on the final hand of the day finishing in 186th place and earning $36,626.[14][15]

In January 2012, he was one of eight celebrities participating in the Food Network reality series, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.[16] On January 29, 2012, he was announced as the winner with a Zagat score of 28 out of 30, winning $50,000 for his charity.

In June 2012, Philips began co-starring in Longmire, about a modern-day sheriff played by Robert Taylor. Phillips plays Henry Standing Bear, a Native American, who is Longmire's good friend—often helping him with cases and in dealing with the reservation police who do not respect or like outsiders, especially other law enforcement.

Phillips performing at an after-party for the film Filly Brown at the 2013 Miami International Film Festival


In December 2012, he was featured in Imagine Dragons' music video for "Radioactive".

In February 2013, Phillips appeared as star of the comedy short film "Lucy in the Sky with Diamond", playing a hyperbolized version of himself known as the elusive and mysterious 'LDP' -- a renegade, spirit guide and life coach who attempts to help John (John Patrick Jordan) get over a particularly disconcerting ex-girlfriend. The award-winning short was written and directed by Joey Boukadakis.[17]

In July 2014 he replaced the injured Jason Scott Lee in Opera Australia's Melbourne production of The King and I, reprising his role as the King of Siam, playing opposite Lisa McCune as Anna Leonowens.[18]

In 2014, he also guest starred in The Wiggles Rock and Roll PreSchool DVD and makes guest appearances on their TV program on ABC.

In 2016, Philips portrayed serial killer Richard Ramirez in The Night Stalker.

Personal life

Relationships and family

During the making of Trespasses, he met Julie Cypher, an assistant director. They married on September 17, 1987 and divorced on August 5, 1990. Julie then announced she was a lesbian and became a partner to Melissa Etheridge.

He met Jennifer Tilly on the set of Shadow of the Wolf, to whom he was briefly engaged, although the two never married. He later married Penthouse model and television extra Kelly Phillips with whom he has three daughters: Grace Moorea and Isabella Patricia (twins born on October 5, 1997), and Lili Jordan born September 1999. They all reside with their mother. The two separated in 2004. Their divorce was finalized in July 2007.[19]

He began dating makeup artist Yvonne Boismier in 2004. They married in August 2007. Their daughter, Indigo Sanara Phillips, was born in October 2007.


On August 11, 2006, he was arrested for domestic violence at his Los Angeles home following a dispute with his live-in girlfriend and future wife, makeup artist Yvonne Boismier.[20] In December 2006, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of domestic battery and was sentenced to three years of probation. He also was ordered to undergo one year of domestic violence counseling and to serve 200 hours of community service.[21]


Phillips speaking at the Filipino American Library Spirit Awards and Dinner Gala in Los Angeles in October 2006.

Phillips has been an outspoken advocate of the Filipino Equity Act,[22] legislation to extend the same benefits to World War II veterans from the Philippines as have been available to U.S. World War II veterans.

He is also a supporter of the Thoughtful House Center for Children, founded by Andrew Wakefield.

Phillips is very close to the Native American community. In 1990, he was adopted by the Sioux tribe, although he is Cherokee by blood. "Star Keeper" is his Sioux name.[23] That year, he also organized a concert, The Winds of Life, to benefit Native American causes.[24]

Awards and achievements


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Time Bomb Terrorist TV movie, uncredited
1984 Interface Punk #1
1985 Dallas Sidewalk Thug TV series; season 9. episode: "Rock Bottom"
1986 Trespasses The Drifters
1987 La Bamba Ritchie Valens
1987 The Three Kings Tag TV movie
1987 Miami Vice Detective Bobby Diaz TV series; season 3; episode: "Red Tape"
1988 Dakota John Dakota
1988 Stand and Deliver Angel David Guzman Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1988 Young Guns Jose Chavez y Chavez
1989 Disorganized Crime Ray Forgy
1989 Renegades Hank Storm
1990 Arduous Moon Bob Short film
1990 Young Guns II Jose Chavez y Chavez
1990 A Show of Force Jesus Fuentes
1990 The First Power Russell Logan
1990 Demon Wind Demon
1991 The Dark Wind Officer Jim Chee
1991 The General Motors Playwrights Theater Clash TV series; season 2; episode: "Avenue Z Afternoon"
1991 Ambition Mitchell Osgood
1991 Sesame Street Guest TV series; season 22; 1 episode
1992 Shadow of the Wolf Agaguk
1993 Extreme Justice Detective Jeff Powers
1993 Tales from The Crypt Jerry TV series; season 5; episode: "Oil's Well That Ends Well"
1993 The Untold West Narrator TV series; season 1; episode: "Outlaws, Rebels and Rogues"
1994 Dangerous Touch Mick Burroughs
1994 Sioux City Jesse Rainfeather Goldman
1994 Teresa's Tattoo Wheeler
1994 Boulevard Hassan
1994 Override Cal TV short
1995 The Wharf Rat Petey Martin TV movie
1996 Courage Under Fire Staff Sergeant John Monfriez Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Adventure/Drama
1996 Undertow Jack Ketchum TV movie
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Coatl TV series; season 2; episode: "The Shoemaker and the Elves"
1998 The Big Hit Cisco
1998 Another Day in Paradise Jewels Uncredited
1998 Spin City Nate TV series; Season 3; Episode: "An Officer and a Gentleman"
1998 The Outer Limits Captain Cotter McCoy TV series; season 4; episode: "Identity Crisis"
1998 Adventures from the Book of Virtues Martín TV series; season 2; episode: "Charity"
1999 Brokedown Palace Roy Knox
1999 In a Class of His Own Ricardo 'Rich' Donato TV movie
1999 Bats Sheriff Emmett Kimsey
2000 Picking Up the Pieces Officer Alfonso
2000 Supernova Yerzy Penalosa
2000 A Better Way to Die William Dexter
2001 Knight Club Dirk Gueron
2001 Route 666 Jack La Roca
2001 Hangman Detective Nick Roos TV movie
2001-2002 Wolf Lake John Kanin / Noah Cassidy TV series; 1 season; 10 episodes
2001 Night Visions Tom Fallor TV series; 1 season; episode: "Dead Air/Renovation"
2002 24 Mark DeSalvo TV series; season 1; 2 episodes
2002 Lone Hero Bart
2002 Stark Raving Mad Gregory
2002 The Twilight Zone Ritchie Almares TV revival; 1 season; episode: "The Pool Guy"
2002 Malevolent Jack Lucas
2002 Resurrection Blvd. Harry Tran TV series; season 3; 2 episodes
2003 Hollywood Homicide Wanda
2003 Absolon Agent Walters
2003 George Lopez George Lopez TV series; 2 episodes; recurring
2003 Red Water John Sanders TV movie
2003 K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments Natha TV short, voice
2003 The Handler Andy Torres TV series; 1 season; episode: "Jar of Spiders"
2004 The Trail to Hope Rose Keenan Deerfield TV movie
2005 Gone, But Not Forgotten Alan Page TV movie
2005 Murder at the Presidio CWO James Chandler TV movie
2005 Jack & Bobby Juan Roberto Alba TV series; 1 season; episode: "Legacy"
2005 Alien Express Vic Holden TV movie
2005–2010 Numb3rs Agent Ian Edgerton TV series; 9 episodes; Recurring
2005 The Triangle Meeno Paloma TV miniseries; 1 season; 3 episodes
2006 Striking Range Eugene "Vash" Vasher[25]
2006 Aquaman Tom Curry TV short
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Victor Paul Gitano TV series; season 7; episode: "Fault"
2006 El Cortez Manny DeSilva
2006 Fingerprints Doug
2007 Psych Special Agent Lars Ewing TV series; season 2; episode: "Psy vs. Psy"
2007 Termination Point Dr. Daniel Winter TV movie
2008 Che: Part Two Mario Monje
2008 Death Toll Mayor Padial
2008 Never Forget Frank Hill
2008 Lone Rider Bobby Hattaway TV movie
2009 The Beast Capone TV series; 1 season; episode: "Capone"
2009 Love Takes Wing Ray Russell TV movie
2009 Angel and the Badman Quirt Evans TV movie
2009 Carny Atlas TV movie
2009–2011 Stargate Universe Colonel David Telford TV series; 20 episodes; recurring
2010 The Invited Garrett
2010 American Dad! Rusty TV series; season 7; episode: "There Will Be Bad Blood"; boice
2010 Transparency David
2011 Chuck Augusto Gaez TV series; season 4; episode: "Chuck Versus the Cat Squad"
2011 Cougar Town Himself TV series; season 2; episode: "Free Fallin'"
2011 Happily Divorced David TV series; season 1; episode: "A Kiss Is Just a Kiss"
2011 Metal Tornado Michael Edwards TV movie
2011 Criminal Behaviour Lt. Henry Enriquez TV movie
2012 Filly Brown Jose Tonorio
2012–2015 Longmire Henry Standing Bear TV series; 43 episodes
2012 Southland Officer Danny Ferguson TV series; season 4; 2 episodes
2012 The Aquabats! Super Show! The Spirit of the Sun TV series; season 1; episode: "Eagle Claw!"
2013 Sanitarium James Silo
2013 Ironside Stuart White TV series; 1 season; episode: "Hidden Agenda"
2014 Sequoia Colin
2014 The Wisdom to Know the Difference Carlos
2015 The 33 Luis "Don Lucho" Urzúa
2015 Sky Duane
2015 Another Period Yengundo TV series; 1 season; episode: "Funeral"
2015 Blindspot Saúl Guerrero TV series; 1 season; 2 episodes
2016 The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez TV movie


  1. 1 2 "Philippines Civil Registration (National), 1945-1984; pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-25625-21684-41 — FamilySearch.org". Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. "Nominees/Winners". Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  3. "Lou Diamond Phillips Biography (1962-)". Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  4. 1 2 "The Return of the Native". Starweek Magazine. 1999.; no longer online, transcript at http://www.ritchievalens.org/thereturnofthenative.html
  5. 1 2 "Second Generation". Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  6. Honeycutt, Kirk (1990-08-19). "Lou Diamond Phillips: From Young Gun to Young Writer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  7. My name is Lou Diamond Phillips, an American citizen of Filipino descent Archived June 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. EPSTEIN, BENJAMIN (7 July 1993). "Pipefitters: A Diamond Is Their Ace in the Hole : Pop music: Actor Phillips admits his name's a draw but says that the merely curious will leave as fans of the band.". Retrieved 21 October 2016 via LA Times.
  9. IBDb Archived August 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Desk, BWW News. "Lou Diamond Phillips to Succeed York in Camelot Tour". Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  11. "Lou Diamond Phillips: The Mayor of Pokerville". Bluff. January 2006. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  12. "2009 California State Poker Championship: Limit Hold'em". Bluff. 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  13. "2009 40th Annual World Series of Poker: World Championship NL Texas Hold'em (Event 57)". Harrah's License Company, LLC. July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  14. Stutz, Howard (2009-07-13). "WSOP giant falls; '08 champ still in: Final table of nine expected on Wednesday". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  15. "2009 40th Annual World Series of Poker: World Championship NL Texas Hold'em (Event 57)". Harrah's License Company, LLC. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  16. Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off: New Show Premieres This Winter
  17. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2526122/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
  18. "Hollywood star Lou Diamond Phillips to replace injured star of King and I " by Catherine Lambert, Herald Sun, 2 July 2014
  19. Lou Diamond Phillips and Kelly Preston Divorce
  20. "Lou Diamond Phillips Arrested". 11 August 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  21. "Lou Diamond Phillips sentenced to probation". MSN.
  22. Resolution HR 4574 Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2006
  23. Phillips Finds Success With Versatility
  24. Honeycutt, Kirk (August 19, 1990). "Lou Diamond Phillips: From Young Gun to Young Writer". Los Angeles Times.
  25. "Bloodlines – Cast". BloodlinesMovie.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-14.

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