Tony Plana plays a range of characters for TV and the movies. But, away from the camera, the veteran actor maintains a steady focus on family, the Latino community and his nearly 40-year career.
Plana, a Cuban immigrant as a child, who starred as a widowed father in the TV show "Ugly Betty," will give the keynote address at the Latino Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Feb. 25.
"One of (the) main things I'm going to talk about is what I feel are the keys to my success in an extremely difficult business," Plana said in a telephone interview.
Last year, Plana was the narrator for the Emmy-nominated documentary, "The Longoria Affair," about the start of the Mexican-American civil rights movement in post-World War II Texas.
Currently, he has a recurring role on "Desperate Housewives" and is filming the movie "Mom" for the Hallmark network.
During his Pueblo visit, Plana also plans to talk about his advocacy on behalf of Hispanic education initiatives. In 1992, he started the East Los Angeles Classic Theatre for at-risk students.
"I was an immigrant. I was an English learner. I struggled and I had a lot of people help me along the way. So when I turned 40, I decided I wanted to do something," he said of starting the nonprofit theater.
Plana said he is excited to visit with members of Pueblo's business community.
"I was thrilled when Pueblo called. Most of the time I go to major cities and do much bigger organizations," he said.
"I love going and reaching out to those Latinos that I don't usually get to meet, that are alive and kicking and achieving everywhere. I'm excited."
Plana said he welcomes the chance to visit with guests both before and after the dinner. He also plans a question-and-answer session during his talk.
Plana said he is a fairly regular visitor to Colorado, especially its ski slopes on trips with his son, who is now a student at Columbia University in New York. "We've skied all over," Plana said.
Tickets for the chamber's annual dinner remain available by calling 542-5513. Cost is $85 for chamber members and $95 for nonmembers.
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