You probably know Robert Beltran best as Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager, first officer under Captain Kathryn Janeway for seven seasons.
There is more than meets the eye beyond his sharp red Starfleet uniform and commanding, calming presence. So, in celebration of his birth, here are six facts about Beltran.
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He is one of ten children.
It was a full house for the Beltran family. The actor has two sisters and seven brothers! One of his brothers is a renowned Latin Jazz musician, Louie Cruz Beltran. Louie Cruz, pictured here, had his own moment on film, too, as he played Manny Gonzalez in the film Mexican Werewolf in Texas.
Go Fresno State!
Belton is an alum of Fresno State, where he earned a degree in theater arts. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles and found a steady stream of work. His breakthrough came in 1982, when he played the titular Raoul in Eating Raoul, the cult comedy about cannibalism.
He has a Chuck Norris connection.
Beltran played Chuck Norris' partner in Lone Wold McQuade. The film follows Chuck Norris as a former Marine turned Texas Ranger. Despite Norris' character wanting to work alone, Beltran is a loyal sidekick. Catch him at the 0:27 minute mark in the clip below!
He was not a Trekkie.
Prior to auditioning, Beltran claims, "[I] had no idea of Star Trek. I didn't know Star Trek from anything!" Even after winning the Chakotay role, he said, "I had no idea what I was getting into… I had no idea if it was going to go to series." Just look at this photo, what focus!
He risked being fired.
In his interview with StarTrek.com, Beltran revealed, "I risked being fired because I wasn't happy creatively." He drove the point home by adding, "It’s a grind a lot of the time, and there’s very little creativity, in the sense that a lot of the scenes are repeated over and over, with variation. So it’s not like you’re doing a whole new play every week. You’re doing the same thing every week, with a new variation." Yikes! Well, we're glad he stuck it out.
He has a deep resume.
Remember when we said he found steady work? We weren't kidding. His filmography consist of over 50 movie titles and TV shows. Some titles include Big Love, Murder She Wrote, CSI: Miami, Miami Vice… and of course, Star Trek: Voyager!