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Lou Diamond Phillips (born Lou Diamond Upchurch; February 17, 1962) is an Americanmarker film, television, and stage actor. He earned a supporting actor Golden Globe Award nomination for his role in Stand and Deliver and a Tony Award nomination for his role in The King and I.

Outside of acting he has become notable for finishing in the top 3% of the field in the 2009 World Series of Poker World Championships No Limit Texas hold 'em main event.

Early life

Phillips was born as Lou Diamond Upchurch at the Subic Bay Naval Stationmarker in Zambalesmarker, Philippinesmarker, the son of Lucita Aranas and Gerald Upchurch, a naval officer. His father was an American of Scotch-Irish and one quarter Cherokee descent, and his mother, a native of Candelaria, is a Filipina of Spanish, Chinese and Japanese descent. Phillips was named after Marine legend Lou Diamond and adopted the surname "Phillips" from his stepfather.

He was raised in Texas where he attended Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christimarker. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlingtonmarker with a BFA in Drama.


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

In 1988, Phillips co-starred along 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 Guzman, a wannabe cholo gangster who is inspired by his math teacher, Jaime Escalante, to challenge himself at calculus; and along the road, creates a friendship with his teacher. Stand and Deliver was actually filmed before La Bamba, but was released a year later. In 1988 and 1990, Phillips co-starred with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland in the cowboy movies Young Guns and Young Guns II, in which he plays Jose Chavez y Chavez, a historical old west outlaw.

In 1996, Phillips made his Broadwaymarker 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.

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

On September 11, 2007, Phillips joined the touring troup for Lerner and Loewe's Camelot in the role of King Arthur. 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 (who played the lead role, Jack Bauer).

Phillips plays the recurring role of FBI agent Ian Edgerton in the television series Numb3rs. Edgerton is an FBI tracker and sniper who works as a sniper instructor at Quanticomarker FBI Academymarker 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.

Phillips has also been cast as Colonel Telford in the Stargate Universe television series. Phillip's role in the series has been confirmed as a recurring character, the would-be commander of the Destiny exhibition who is left behind and works from Earth to bring the crew home.

In June 2009, Phillips started writing his autobiography titled "A Diamond Phillips in the Rough: The Life and Times of Lou Diamond Phillips." The book is slated for an early 2010 release and will be co-written with veteran celebrity biographer Michael Lackner and published by Hyperion Books.

Phillips has been a regular poker player since college. In May 2009, Phillips placed 31st in the 403 entrant 2009 California State Poker Championship Limit Texas hold 'em. He placed in the money at the $10,000 July 2009 World Series of Poker World Championship No Limit main event. On July 12, 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.

Personal life

During the making of Trespasses, he met Julie Cypher, an assistant director who would become his wife on September 17, 1987. They later divorced on August 5, 1990; Cypher left him to start a relationship with rocker Melissa Etheridge. He met Jennifer Tilly, to whom he was briefly engaged, although the two never married. He later married model and TV extra Kelly Phillips; they had two daughters: Grace Moorea and Isabella Patricia (twins born on October 5, 1997). They separated in 2004 and their divorce was finalized in July 2007. He married model Yvonne Marie Boismier less than a month later; their daughter, Indigo Sanara, was born in October 2007.

Phillips plays on the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games. Phillips took his poker game to the next level in 2009 when he entered the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event and was one of the survivors out of more than 6,000 players to make it to the money, finishing 186th.


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


Phillips has been an outspoken advocate of HR 4574, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2006, legislation which would honor the service of Filipino World War II veterans by granting them the same benefits made available to other U.S. World War II veterans.

Awards and achievements

  • 1989 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male (Stand and Deliver, 1988)
  • 1989 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Stand and Deliver, 1988)
  • 1989 Western Heritage Award Bronze Wrangler Theatrical Motion Picture (Young Guns, 1988). Shared with John Fusco (producer), Christopher Cain (producer), Charlie Sheen (actor), Emilio Estevez (actor), Kiefer Sutherland (actor)
  • 1993 Oxfam America award for his dedication toward ending world hunger
  • 1994 Houston International Film Festival Gold award for Best Theatrical Feature Film for Ultimate Revenge
  • 1996 Tony Award nominee for Best Actor on Broadway (The King And I)
  • 1996 Theatre World Award: The King and I
  • 1996 New York Outer Critics Circle: Outstanding Broadway Debut Award of an Actor, The King & I
  • 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Actor - Adventure/Drama (Courage Under Fire, 1996)
  • 1997 Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best Supporting Actor (Courage Under Fire, 1996)
  • 2001 Filipinas magazine Achievement award for Entertainment
  • 2003 Cinemanila Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (Philippinesmarker)
  • 2005 Asia Pacific Islander Heritage Award for Excellence in Entertainment and Arts
  • 2009 I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! King of the Jungle



  1. Lou Diamond Phillips Biography
  2. ; no longer online, transcript at
  3. Second Generation
  4. My name is Lou Diamond Phillips, an American citizen of Filipino descent
  5. IBDb
  6. Broadway Accessed on February 24 2008
  7. [1]
  8. Lou Diamond Phillips sentenced to probation
  9. Fil Am

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