Lou Diamond Phillips was born 17th February 1962 in the Philippines. Filipino, Hawaiian, Chinese, Spanish, Scottish/Irish, and eighth Cherokee Indian origins gave him his unusual good looks and brought him main leads in movies. Named after the World War 2 hero Leland 'Lou' Diamond, he seemed destined for stardom right from the beginning.
As a child he lived with his family in many American States before finally settling in Corpus Christi, Texas. Becoming interested in acting, he studied drama and film technique at the University of Texas in Arlington. It was there that he worked as an assistant director and instructor at the film actors lab throughout 1983 to 1986.
He was soon starring in low budget films, his first being Trespasses
which he co-scripted. It was during the making of this film that he met his future wife Julie Cypher
, an assistant director. She went on to work behind the scenes on his films La Bamba
, Stand and Deliver
, and Young Guns
In 1987 Lou's big break came in La Bamba
, the true but tragic story of Rock and Roll star Ritchie Valens
. Originally auditioning for the role of Bob, Ritchie's
half brother, Lou impressed the producers so much that they chose him from 500 other young hopefuls to play the lead role of Ritchie Valens
Finally La Bamba
was a film Lou could call his own, and he now was a star.
Before La Bamba
opened Lou starred in the movie Three Kings
as a mental patient, and had a supporting role opposite Edward James Olmos
in Stand and Deliver
as Angel, a troubled gang member who is shown the error of his ways by a tough caring teacher.
In 1989 he was Nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture by an actor and received the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting male for his role as Angel in Stand and Deliver
After two big productions Lou decided to return to his home town of Texas where he went on to star in Dakota
. He was also the associate producer of the film.
During filming in 1986 he married Julie Cypher
on set, with the assistant director standing in as the Justice of the Peace. Lou described his wedding at the time, "a very sweet, very romantic sort of thing".
In 1990 the couple divorced, with Julie
leaving Lou for the singer Melissa Etheridge
who was a close friend of them both.
After his recent success in films, he was now considered a big enough star to join the likes of Kiefer Sutherland
, Charlie Sheen
and Emilio Estevez
in the blockbuster Young Guns
which followed the adventures of Billy the kid and his regulators.
Next up Lou joined Ed O' Neill
as a inept bank robber in the comedy Disorganized Crime
, before teaming up again with Kiefer Sutherland
, who were by this time friends, in Renegades
1990 saw him team up yet again with Kiefer Sutherland
and the gang in the smash hit Young Guns 2 - Blaze of Glory
, which was to be his last commercial success for some time.
he portrayed a young man so desperate for success he is even willing to kill in order to get what he wants. Again he co-scripted this movie.
Lou later admitted this film was nothing like he originally envisioned it to be, and in his opinion was a disaster.
A friend to The Pipefitters band since his pre-movie stardom days in Texas, Lou has also been known to tour over the years with the band combining a powerful flair for lyric writing and singing.
In 1993 he was romantically involved with Jennifer Tilly
his co-star of Shadow Of The Wolf
. They were later engaged, but unfortunately broke up later. In 1994 Lou married model Kelly Preston
who he met whilst playing pool at the Hollywood Athletic Club.
Lou became a parent for the first time in 1997 when Kelly
gave birth to twin girls Isabella Patricia and Grace Moorea. Kelly
liked Lou's look in The Big Hit
so much that she wanted him to appear that way in the delivery room when the twins were born. He told her he didn't think he could get past security like that!
1999 was a extremely busy year for Lou with the birth of his daughter Lilli Jordon, and the release of the movies Brokedown Palace
, the movie In A Of His Own
, and the special effects horror movie Bats
which is in the same vein as Hitchcock's Birds
He teamed up once again with Kiefer Sutherland
in 2000 in the bizarre Picking Up The Pieves
in which he had a very small cameo role as a police officer.
In 2001, Lou was given his own TV show, Wolf Lake
. Before it was even broadcast, the show was subject to several changes and was finally aired with a completely new cast and story from it's original idea. Subsequently, the series was cancelled before finishing a full season. During Lou's time on the show, he took time out to film a cameo appearance in friend Kiefer Sutherland's
hit series 24
Lou returned to stage in 2004 reviving his role of the King in The King And I
at The North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 2005 it was announced that after 11 years of marriage, Lou and wife Kelly were separating.
As well as a very busy acting career, Lou is also actively involved in many charities and is often spotted at various charity events.