Edward James Olmos to Deliver Chubb Lecture
Edward James Olmos, actor, producer, director and social activist, will deliver the initial Chubb Lecture of this term on Friday, November 15, at 4:30 p.m. in the Luce Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Ave.
Olmos, who was born and raised in East Los Angeles, is being honored as a Chubb Fellow for his social activism as well as his outstanding acting ability. He spent many years in theatrical roles until his mesmerizing performance in the 1978 drama/musical “Zoot Suit,” which led to a Tony Award nomination. He later recreated the role for film and went on that year to star in “Wolfen,” “Blade Runner” and “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” directed by Robert M. Young. Since 1975, he has appeared in almost 40 films.
Olmos received the L.A. Drama Circle Award, an Emmy and three Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe awards. In 1988, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Jaime Escalante, the dedicated math teacher, in “Stand and Deliver,” which he also produced. Most recently, he received the PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for producing the documentary “It Ain’t Love,” which carried a message against domestic violence.
In 1992, Olmos directed and starred in “American Me,” a film about rising street crime in the Los Angeles barrio where he grew up. “American Me” presented the brutal story of a gang member’s life in and out of prison. “The film is not for one race, one subculture, one age range,” Olmos told Jack Kroll in Newsweek. “Gangs teach a distorted discipline, a distorted familial bonding, a distorted sense of pride and power.”
In 1999, in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution, Olmos produced and co-edited the Americanos project, which included a five-year national museum tour, a feature documentary, a book of photographs and text about the Latino community across America, a CD and a PBS “Great Performances” concert live from the Kennedy Center.
He is the executive director of the Lives in Hazard Educational Project, a national gang prevention program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has been cited by former Attorney General Janet Reno and President Clinton as one of the foremost programs of its kind. Olmos also serves as the executive director of “It Ain’t Love,” a program and documentary whose goal is to prevent domestic violence.
In 2001, Olmos was arrested in Vieques, Puerto Rico, by U.S. Navy officials for participating in a protest of the naval training exercises held there. He spent 19 days in a federal detention center on the main island. Following the 2001 protest, the Navy relinquished 8,148 acres to the municipality of Vieques, the Puerto Rico Conversation Trust and the Department of the Interior. The transfer was part of an agreement reached between the White House and Puerto Rico.
Olmos has received honorary degrees from the University of Colorado, Whittier College, California State University at Fresno, Occidental College and the American Institute in Hollywood. He also serves as a trustee for the National Hispanic University, Plaza de la Raza and Whittier College.
Following Olmos’ lecture, a reception will be held in the second-floor Common Room in Luce Hall.
The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging and aiding Yale students interested in the operations of government, culture and public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program is based in Timothy Dwight College. Each year three or four distinguished men and women have been appointed as Visiting Chubb Fellows. Chubb Fellows spend their time at Yale in close, informal contact with students and deliver a public lecture. Among former Chubb Fellows have been presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; authors Octavio Paz and Toni Morrison; Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman; musician Eddie Palmieri; and journalist Walter Cronkite.