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In celebration of the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating famous firsts in Latino history.

Today, we’re celebrating the first Latino on the landmark television show, “Law & Order.” Now, you may not think this is a big deal…but let’s remember something: not only was Law & Order tied with Gunsmoke as the second-longest running television show in history (in 2009, The Simpsons became the longest-running television show in history), but for a long time, Law & Order was notoriously “all white.” That all changed when Peruvian/Native American actor Benjamin Bratt joined the cast as Det. Reynaldo Curtis.

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Benjamin Bratt (born December 16, 1963) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Rey Curtis on the TV series Law & Order and his appearances in the movies Miss Congeniality, Demolition Man, Blood in Blood Out, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Traffic, La Mission, Despicable Me 2, and Piñero. He currently portrays Dr. Jake Riley on the medical drama series Private Practice.

In 1998, he began dating actress Julia Roberts. He escorted her to the 2001 Academy Awards ceremony, at which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Four months later, they announced that they were no longer a couple. In 2002, he (along with Priscilla López) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA). Less than a year later, he married his pregnant girlfriend, actress Talisa Soto, on April 13, 2002, in San Francisco. The two met ten years earlier during the casting audition of Blood In Blood Out and afterwards they saw each other on and off. It was not until the filming of Piñero that they began to develop a relationship. Their first child, daughter Sophia Rosalinda Bratt, was born on December 6, 2002; their second child, son Mateo Bravery Bratt, was born on October 3, 2005, in Los Angeles.

Which Latino first would you like to see next? Tell us at @ZonaDeSabor!

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Famous Latino Firsts: First Latino On “Law & Order”  was originally published on