Jonathan Del Arco

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Jonathan Del Arco
Born(1966-03-07) March 7, 1966 (age 47)
OccupationStage, film, television actor
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Jonathan Del Arco
Born(1966-03-07) March 7, 1966 (age 47)
OccupationStage, film, television actor

Jonathan Del Arco (born March 7, 1966) is a Uruguayan American actor and gay rights and political activist. He is best known for his role as Hugh the Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation and for his recurring role as medical examiner Dr. Morales on The Closer and Major Crimes. He is also a consultant for and active in the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

Personal life[edit]

Del Arco was born in Uruguay in 1966. He played with dolls as a child, and in public he was frequently and mistakenly thought to be a little girl. His parents sought psychiatric therapy for him to help him be more masculine, but this led to no change in his behavior.[1]

The Del Arco family emigrated to the United States in 1976, and settled in Port Chester, New York. Del Arco later recalled that he had a child's overly-idealistic view of the United States, assuming there would be televisions everywhere, flying cars, and other futuristic things. Instead, the Del Arcos were very poor and forced to seek assistance from the Salvation Army, which found them a two-bedroom apartment infested with rats.[1]

School was difficult for Jonathan. Unable to speak English, he was not mainstreamed but placed in a class with other students who only spoke Spanish (most of whom were also very poor). He was ostracized by the other Latino students for being feminine, and called "white" for not having the dark skin color of other Latinos. Because of his non-masculine behavior, he was often called names and physically threatened. In junior high school, the bullying became much worse. One bully in particular routinely followed him around at school and to Del Arco's home, accosting him and threatening him. Del Arco feared for his life. Some of the bullying ended when Del Arco told classmates he had "contagious nose cancer", and this frightened the bullies away. "That is how I learned to outsmart the bullies and not get injured," he said in 2011. "I had my imagination and my creativity and that was an asset, a way to navigate a lot of these obstacles." He graduated from Port Chester High School in 1984.[1]

Acting career[edit]

As a teenager, Del Arco became interested in acting and the theater. He often traveled by commuter train to New York City, where he watched plays. He eventually enrolled in acting classes there,[2] and after graduating from high school he moved to New York City permanently.[1] Shortly after his move, Del Arco won a role in the road company of Torch Song Trilogy.[2]

Del Arco partnered with another gay man while living in New York City. This partner died of AIDS in the late 1980s while Del Arco resided in the city.[1]

In 1990, with a role on the Miami Vice television show and a role in the independent film Lost Angeles under his belt, Del Arco moved to Los Angeles, California. Del Arco said in 2011 that he was suffering from intense survivor guilt because of the recent death of his partner. Del Arco's sexuality was also an issue. Although he says that he did not hide his homosexuality, he realized that homophobia in the television and film industry could destroy his career.[1] Guest starring roles on the television series True Colors, Sisters, The Wonder Years, and Blossom as well as a small role in the film The Mambo Kings followed. His most notable role during this period was as the Borg drone, Hugh, on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1992, which he reprised in 1993.[3] Although Del Arco did not lie about his sexuality, he declined to socialize or attend television or movie industry events. Lacking an agent, his career stalled. However, he did find a new love interest. He and actor/agent Kyle Fritz partnered in 1992.[1]

Del Arco turned to waiting tables in 1995 for an income. Instead, through a friend, he found paid work on an environmental campaign being led by actor/director Rob Reiner. Over the next decade, Del Arco worked on five political campaigns. Del Arco credits the political activism with allowing him to find a new passion and expansiveness as an actor, which led to new acting roles.[1]

Del Arco's breakout role came in 2003 when he won a three-episode guest starring shot on FX Networks' highly popular series Nip/Tuck, where he played a transgender woman named Sofia Lopez. Roles on other highly rated shows such as 24, The Sopranos, and Dollhouse followed.[1] Beginning in 2007, Del Arco had a recurring role on TNT cable network's The Closer as the openly gay medical examiner, Dr. Morales.[4] He continued in the role in the series' spin-off, Major Crimes.[2]

Theatre work[edit]

Del Arco has appeared in a wide range of live theatrical plays. His Broadway theatre debut came in 1987 in Milcha Sanchez-Scott's Roosters at the INTAR Theatre. Theater critic Mel Gussow called his a "most sensitive performance", and said his debut was "auspicious".[5] His second Broadway role followed in 1988, when he played Martin in Michael Weller's play Spoils of War at the Music Box Theatre (taking over from Christopher Collet).[6] This was followed in 1990 by a role in John Jesurun's Everything That Rises Must Converge at the Kitchen Theatre Company.[7]

Del Arco's numerous other stage performances include (in alphabetical order):[8]

In 1996, Del Arco began participating in the Hispanic Playwrights Project at the South Coast Repertory, and spent six seasons there. He also spent the summer of 1998 and 1999 at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, working under Anna Deveare Smith.[8]

Del Arco is a member of Actors' Equity Association.[8]


In addition to acting, Del Arco is a political, environmental, and gay rights activist.

He is a supporter of and consultant for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which works to improve the educational environment for LGBT elementary and secondary students in the United States.[4][12] Del Arco says his work with GLSEN has been life-changing. "Never did I imagine that working for a nonprofit organization would have such a great effect on me personally. It's changed the structure of how I use my career as an actor because now I have a reason beyond entertainment to promote something other than me."[1]

Del Arco is also a staunch supporter of Barack Obama.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Sparking Creativity Through Activism: Actor Jonathan Del Arco." DiversityInc. April 14, 2011. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  2. ^ a b c "Jonathan Del Arco." No date. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  3. ^ Whitney, Allison. "Love at First Contact: Sex, Race, and Colonial Fantasy in Star Trek: First Contact." In The Sex Is Out of This World: Essays on the Carnal Side of Science Fiction. Sherry Ginn and Michael G. Cornelius, eds. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2012, p. 84.
  4. ^ a b "'The Closers Coroner Comes Out." ET Online. June 29, 2009. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  5. ^ Gussow, Mel. "Stage: 'Roosters' at INTAR." New York Times. March 24, 1987. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  6. ^ Rich, Frank. "'Spoils of War,' in a Family, Life and the World." New York Times. May 18, 1988. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  7. ^ Grussow, Mel. "A Kaleidoscope of Language Onstage and on Video." New York Times. March 16, 1990.
  8. ^ a b c Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'. South Coast Repertory Theater. 2002, p. 8. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  9. ^ Rich, Frank. "Overcoming a Loveless Childhood." New York Times. April 6, 1989. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  10. ^ Phillips, Michael. "New La Jolla Era Begins, Written in 'Blood'." Los Angeles Times. June 6, 2000. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  11. ^ Shapira, Ian. "Institute Tackles Injustices." Boston Globe. July 30, 1999.
  12. ^ "Jonathan Del Arco of 'The Closer' Talks About His Work with GLSEN and His Character's Coming Out." June 30, 2009. Accessed 2013-03-09.
  13. ^ Del Arco, Jonathan. "Pregnant... With Anticipation." Huffington Post. October 10, 2012. Accessed 2013-03-09.

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