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            Alma Martinez

            Biografie

            Alma's debut in the American film classic_Zoot Suit (1981)_ quickly made her one of Hollywood's most dynamic up and coming Latina actors. Discovered by Luis Valdez, founder and Artistic Director of the internationally renowned El Teatro Campesino, one of the most important and influential political theatre groups of the 1960's and 70's, she has been the lead actress in many of his most important projects in an artistic collaboration that has spanned over 30 years. Alma's highly lauded film, television and theatre work establishes her as one of the industry's most accomplished, versatile and respected Latina actors. After Zoot Suit's 1979 critically acclaimed theatrical run that shattered all existing Los Angeles box office records, Alma was cast by Australian director Fred Schepisi to star in his American film debut Barbarosa (1982). This performance was followed by critically acclaimed roles in Zoot Suit (1981) with Edward James Olmos, Under Fire (1983) with Gene Hackman and Ed Harris, Trial by Terror (1983) with Martin Landau, Born in East L.A. (1987) with Cheech Marin, Dolly Dearest (1991) with Rip Torn and Crossing Over (2009) starring Harrison Ford. Her independent films/documentaries include A Good and Perfect Gift: A Christmas Story (1987) (V), Maria's Story (1990), the Academy Award winning documentary The Panama Deception (1992), "500 Nations" (1995), The Novice (1995), Jacaranda (2001), Ballad of a Soldier (2002) which won "Special Jury Award" at the San Antonio Film Festival and "Best Film" at the El Paso Latino Film Festival and Planting Melvin (2005).

            Alma's television films include the Peabody Award winning drama_Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution (1987)_ written and directed by Luis Valdez and starring Linda Ronstadt, American Playhouse "Seguin" (1982), Tough Love (1985), Dress Gray (1986) (TV), The Boys (1991) (TV), In a Child's Name (1991) (TV), The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991) (TV) and Quiet Killer (1992) (TV) and Shattered Image (1994) (TV) with Bo Derek. Television series include "The Unit" (2006), "Nash Bridges" (1996), "FBI: The Untold Stories" (1991), "Zona crepusculara" (1985), "General Hospital" (1972) and the recurring role of "Sergeant Elizabeth Cruz" in the police drama "Adam 12" (1989).

            A consummate stage actor, Alma made her Broadway debut in In the Summer House directed by Joanne Akalaitis in a performance that garnered excellent reviews. With well over 100 theatre credits in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, her most memorable performances include; Electricidad, Bocon, Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum/Center Theatre Group; In the Summer House at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre; Green Card at the Joyce Theatre; Mummified Deer, I Don't Have to Show You No Stinkin' Badges, Corridos at El Teatro Campesino; Macbeth, Skin of Our Teeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Posada Magica at the Sundance Theatre Institute; House of Blue Leaves at the Pasadena Playhouse; Fuente Ovejuna, Savages at Berkeley Repertory; Anna in the Tropics, Zoot Suit at LA Theatre Works; Burning Patience, Man of the Flesh, Quinceanera Sweet 15 at San Diego Repertory, The Seagull at Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival; Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory; Marriage of Figaro at Arizona Theatre Company; Wait Until Dark at Pennsylvania Stage; Sons of Don Juan at the Asolo Repertory Theatre; Esperando al Zurdo, Auto de la Compadecida at the Teatro Calderon (Zacatecas, Mexico) and; Carpa de los Rasquachis, Fin del Mundo at the Teatro Greco (Taormina, Italy), Castello Sforesco (Milan, Italy), Festival de Sant Arcangelo (Italy), Teatro Romano (Fiesolo, Italy), Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany) and Neiuwe Scene (Antwerp, Belgium).

            Alma holds a Ph.D. in Drama from Stanford University, an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Theatre from Whittier College. She has trained with master teachers Lee Strasberg, Jerzi Grotowski, Arianne Mnouchkine (Paris), Anna Deavere Smith, Augusto Boal, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (London), the University of Guadalajara, and at the prestigious Centro Universitario de Teatro (CUT) at the Autonomous University of Mexico with Luis De Tavira and Hector Mendoza.

            Alma has won numerous awards for her artistic achievements and community service. She is a highly sought after motivational speaker who travels across the country addressing issues related to education and the evolution of the Latina/o images in film and theatre. A Fulbright Scholar in Peru in 2006, her forthcoming book is a comparative analysis of the fervent years (1965-1975) of the Chicano and Latin American Popular/Political Theatre movements in the Americas. Raised in Pico Rivera, CA, Alma was born in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. with her family at the age of one. She is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Acting Program at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

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