Lou Diamond Phillips
Real name: Louis Upchurch
Birthdate: February 17, 1962
Partner: Kelly Phillips
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Phillips was born Lou Diamond Upchurch at the Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines, the son of Lucita and Gerald Upchurch, a naval officer. His father was an American of Scotch-Irish, Hawaiian and Cherokee descent and his mother was a Filipina, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese descent. Phillips was named after Marine legend Lou Diamond and adopted his surname, "Phillips", from his stepfather.
He attended Flour Bluff High School (FBHS), and briefly attended Del Mar College, in Corpus Christi, Texas. While at FBHS, Phillips played football, baseball, and basketball. He was also a talented artist, illustrating the school's annual, The Hornet. As a young man, Phillips worked as an assistant director and instructor at the University of Texas at Arlington. In 1982 he met Adam Roarke of the Film Actors Lab (Arlington, Texas), who became an important figure in his life. At the Film Actors Lab he studied Film Acting Technique and later joined the team as an instructor.
Phillips' big break came with the starring role in 1987's La Bamba as early rocker Ritchie Valens. Though the role garnered him praise from critics, he has since found it difficult to find another leading role in a big-budget Hollywood film. In 1988, he co-starred along Edward James Olmos in the inner-city high school drama, Stand and Deliver, as 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 the year after. In 1988 and 1990, Phillips co-starred with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland in the cowboy movies Young Guns and Young Guns II
During the making of Trespasses, he met Julie Cypher, an assistant director who would become his wife on September 17, 1986. They later divorced on August 5, 1990. Cypher would leave 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 Kelly Preston (not to be confused with John Travolta's actress wife of the same name). They had three daughters. They separated in 2005 and their divorce was finalized in August of 2007.
Phillips plays on the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games. He plays for the Sierra Canyon H.S. & Santa Suzanna Montessori charity.
On Friday, August 11, 2006, Phillips was arrested for alleged domestic violence at his Los Angeles home following a dispute with his girlfriend, makeup artist Yvonne Boismier. In December, 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.
In an interview titled "Shine on Lou Crazy Diamond" in Smash Hits magazine, Phillips revealed that his favorite band is Pink Floyd, and that his favorite song is "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".
Phillips is an outspoken, long-time 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.