Tony Plana is a Cuban-American actor best known for his role as Ignacio Suarez in the television sitcom Ugly Betty, from 2006-2010.
The role earned him the 2006 International Press Academy Satellite Award for Actor in a Supporting Role (in a Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture Made for Television).
He is also known for his five-episode recurring role as Omar in the fourth season of the action series 24, in 2005.
Plana also starred as the widowed, Mexican-American patriarch, Roberto Santiago, in the Showtime series Resurrection Boulevard in 2001, for which he received 2001 & 2002 ALMA award nominations for best actor.
It was the first English speaking weekly series in the history of television to be produced, written, directed and starring Latinos. Resurrection Boulevard was the first of its kind to be renewed for three seasons on a television network.
Plana was educated at Loyola-Marymount University, where he earned a bachelor's degree through the Honors Program in Literature and Theater Arts, graduating magna cum laude. He received his professional training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.
Having co-directed and co-produced the film A Million To Juan with Paul Rodriguez, Plana celebrated his solo directorial debut in December 2000 with The Princess and the Barrio Boy.
It represents the first Latino family film to be produced by Showtime and stars academy award nominee Edward James Olmos, Maria Conchita Alonso, Pauly Shore, and two of Plana's co-stars from Resurrection Boulevard, Marisol Nichols and Nicholas Gonzalez.
The film received two 2001 ALMA award nominations for Best Made for Television Movie and Best Ensemble Acting and won the 2001 IMAGEN award for Best Made for Television Movie.
Plana's television episodic debut was 2001's Resurrection Blvd.'s "Saliendo", which garnered excellent critical acclaim, receiving a GLAAD award for best dramatic episode of the year and a SHINE award.
He has directed several episodes of Nickelodeon's hit series, The Brothers Garcia, winning an Imagen Award for its third season finale, Don't Judge a Book by its Cover. He also directed an episode of Greetings from Tucson for the Warner Brothers Network.
Plana is also the co-founder and executive artistic director of the East L.A. Classic Theatre, a group comprised primarily of Hispanic American theatre professionals.
The East L.A. Classic Theatre is dedicated to serving the Latino community through educational outreach programs to primary and secondary schools and through Bi-lingual productions of traditional and contemporary classics.
Through the East L.A. Classic Theatre, Plana has developed a unique and innovative literacy program called Beyond Borders. It is designed to enable students to expand their educational horizons and academic achievements by moving beyond their personal, cultural and vocational borders.
Plana is also committed to developing new works. He has directed several critically acclaimed theatre pieces, including: Judith Ortiz Cofer's Don Jose de la Mancha; Nancy De Los Santos' The Answer to My Prayer; and Rick Nájera's The Pain of the Macho for HBO New Writer's Festival.
As an actor Plana has starred in more than 60 feature films, including JFK, Nixon, Salvador, An Officer and a Gentleman, Lone Star, Three Amigos, Born in East L.A., El Norte, 187, Primal Fear, Romero, One Good Cop, Havana, The Rookie, Silver Strand and Picking Up the Pieces with Woody Allen.
He also appeared in the action thriller Half Past Dead with Steven Segal and Morris Chestnut, and in the 2005 films The Lost City and Goal!.
On television he starred in the Showtime Original Miniseries, Fidel, as the notorious Cuban dictator, Batista, as well as Showtime's Noriega: God's Favorite.
He has portrayed leading roles in four critically acclaimed television series: Veronica Claire for Lifetime, Bakersfield P.D. for FOX and Steven Bochco's Total Security and City of Angels for ABC.
He has also appeared in several Emmy award winning programs such as Sweet Fifteen, Drug Wars: The Camarena Story, The Burning Season: The Life and Death of Chico Mendes and a special episode of L.A. Law, which also received an Imagen Award.
Plana also portrayed a recurring role in FOX'S John Doe and on NBC's award winning drama The West Wing as the U.S. Secretary of State.
Other appearances include 24, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Closer and Commander In Chief.
Plana is the proud father of Alejandro and Isabel and has been happily married to actress Ada Maris since 1988.