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|Ana Alicia, star of the hit television series, Falcon Crest, and starring in the movies, Halloween 2, and Romero. Ana Alicia also appeared in these notable television series and made for television movies: The Soap Opera Ryan's Hope, Miracle Landing, Renegade, Acapulco H.E.A.T., Murder, She Wrote, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Galactica 1980, Quincy, B.J. and the Bear, Mclain's Law, Moonlighting, Harley and Davidson, Rio Shannon, To Die, To Sleep, AKA Mortal Danger, AKA Turn Your Pony Around, Happy Endings, Coward of the County, The Ordeal of Bill Carney, Condominium, Roughnecks, The Sacketts, The Zoo Life, The Greatest Stunts, as well as countless other television appearances.
Ana Alicia grew up in El Paso, Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and performed in dinner theater. From what I have heard, Ana Alicia has a BA in Drama and was awarded Best Actress, is a Lawyer, was a reservist Policewoman, is the Humane Society Spokesperson, devotes time to the Special Olympics, promotes Hispanic achievements in the media, likes driving race cars, riding horses, dancing, playing tennis, working out, swimming, skiing, computer programming, and other things probably too numerous for me to list.
Ana Alicia has expressed a love for her family, and was married to producer, Gary Benz. They live in southern California.
Ana Alicia is an incredibly gifted and talented actress and person. In the world of movie stars and celebrities, Ana Alicia is one of the best. The movies and TV section of this website, shows the range of her awesome acting ability. From Drama to Western and everything in between. I laughed out loud at her comedy in, Moonlighting, and cried for her in the suspense filled, Miracle Landing. I wonder how to mention her love scenes in, Falcon Crest, without getting an "R" rating. Ana Alicia displays her powerful, dramatic side in the documentary, Romero, and helps scare us all in the horror movie, Halloween 2. I am a fan of Science Fiction, after experiencing her performances on, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Battlestar Galactica, I say Ana Alicia is SCI FI. I can't mention all of her work in entertainment, but I would like to mention: Murder, She Wrote, Renegade, Coward of the County, and The Sacketts, just to name a few of the great shows starring this beautiful, intelligent, and wonderful movie star, celebrity, and I'm sure Ana Alicia would say, most importantly, real person. If you have a chance to watch any of the movies and television that Ana Alicia has been a part of, do yourself a favor, go for it.
I would like to thank Ana Alicia for her work to help make this planet and people better. I love animals of all kinds, and support Ana Alicia, and her cause with the Humane Society, in particular.
ANA-ALICIA TRADES GLAMOUR FOR CONTROVERSY
by Robert Rorke
Soap Opera Digest, January 23, 1990
The Former Star of Falcon Crest Makes Her Movie Debut in the Hard-Hitting Film ROMERO.
You have to let them see that you can do quality work on a quality production," says Ana-Alicia. "Then they will stop thinking of you as some bimbo; 'Just put some earrings on her and send her out there and she'll scream at someone.'" In her first feature film, Romero, the actress proves that not only is there life after FALCON CREST, but that she can make the transition from soap opera to serious drama. Romero is the shattering, critically-acclaimed story of Archbishop Oscar Romero (Raul Julia), whose outspoken defense of leftists and the rights of peasants against military repression in El Salvador cost him his life. He was assassinated in 1980, while saying mass one morning for a group of nuns.
The film traces his transformation from a quiet, noncommital priest who enjoys his comfortable, sheltered life to a political firebrand. The actress describes Romero as "a man who didn't want to be a hero. He wanted to be left alone, like many of us, in our little safe world, not wanting to deal with what was happening. When he finally made the decision [to become an activist], he did so wholeheartedly, knowing that he was sacrificing his life. There was no question that he was going to die."
Alicia spent two months filming the Paulist Productions movie in Cuernavaca, Mexico with mostly Mexican cast that included many peasants who were paid extras, and who give Romero a great deal of its authenticity. Uniting and inspriting hte cast, crew and extras in instant brotherhood was the movie's producter, Father Ellwood Kieser, who said mass in English and Spanish on several occasions during the production. Ana read a biography of Romero to prepare for the role, as well as other material on Central American politics. "It was time to do something that really stirred my passion again, and this did," says Ana. "This is the kind of project that I want to become more and more involved with."
Everybody got into the act, including the maid who cleaned Ana's hotel room. Her name was Marta Alicia. She, too, was hired as an extra. "She's a young mother, like twenty-two years old, and has babies and she's very poor. She lives in a house as big as my bathroom. I have pictrues of the two of us getting make-up on at the same time. It's a great picture. She's got her hair in rollers and they're doing my hair and her little boy is sitting right there on the counter."
In contrast to the teased and painted Melissa Cumson, Ana-Alicia wears very little makeup in Romero and the actress welcomed the chance to look like a real person instead of a soap opera beauty queen. Playing aristocrat Arista Zelada, who ultimately rebukes Romero for his commitment to the poor was difficult for the actress. She would have preferred to play one of the peasants. Arista, says Ana, "is the only character that shows the other side and that's really important. Otherwise, it becomes a very one-sided film and you question how real it is."
The assassination o fsix Jesuit priests in November 1989, by men widely believed to have been associated with the military, underscores the message of Romero and the universal tragedy of firgures like the late Archbishop, who are sometimes the only voices oppressed people can find to speak their plight. While Ana does not pretend to be expert on US-Central American relations, making this film has raised serious questions in her mind about the wisdom of this country's funding of the rebels. "The government has been giving money over there for almost nine years adn nothing that's happened has been positive," she asserts. "What's the point in sending money if people are being slaughtered?"
ANA-ALICIA: FROM DAYTIME TO PRIMETIME
Daytime to Primetime,
Soap Opera Digest Special Edition, 1989
Ana-Alicia is a person of determination and conviction. When she realized on New Year's Eve of 1981 that she was tired, confused, and unsure of the direction she wanted her life to take, she decided to make some changes. She sat down and made a detailed list of the financial, personal, and professional ingredients she felt would make her life complete. Ana now has everything she set out to get in 1981. But then again, it was really just another link in the chain of events that compose her life.
Ana-Alicia grew up in El Paso, Texas, where she lived with her grandmother, widowed mother, and three siblings. She was a good student - good enough to win a full scholarship to prestigious Wellesley College in massachusetts. Although she liked the experience of attending one of the Seven Sisters, drama pulled insistently at her.
Alicia left Wellesley and transferred to the University of Texas, where she attended school and performed in dinner theater. After graduation, she headed out to Los Angeles and found the battle to become known and be able to work a very real struggle.
Alicia's big break came when she won the part of Alecia Nieves on RYAN'S HOPE. According to Alicia, working on RYAN'S HOPE was exciting - not only because it was an acting job, but because she was a fan of the show's and working with the RH actors was a thrill. Although her role was a secondary one - Nieves had romances with policeman Bob Reid and Dr. Pat Ryan - it provided her with much-needed exposure. After fifteen months, Alicia's role was written off the show, and Ana had to decide, once again, what to do. She packed her bags and went back to Los Angeles.
Established again on the West Coast, the actress began a grueling schedule of going on auditions during the day and attending Southwestern University Law School at night. She was able to secure some television Work, but was so tired from studying that she lost a lot of acting opportunities. It was at this point that Alicia regrouped and composed her list of what she was hoping to achieve in her life.
Ana's singular approach was successful. It was not long after that New Year's Eve that she got the part of Melissa Agretti on FALCON CREST. Ana was on the show for seven years, playing the ambitious, scheming Melissa to a tee. She also played opposite the formidable Jane Wyman as Angela Channing, and a plethora of handsome men.
Melissa's first husband was Cole Gioberti (William Moses). After becoming pregnant with his child, she married Lance (Lorenzo Lamas) to align the Agretti vineyards with Falcon Crest. Cole subsequently moved to Australia.
Melissa and Lance endured a tempestuous relationship. Their two marriages and divorces due, in part, to affairs with other people as well as the stubborn and headstrong personalities of both husband and wife. Other players featured in Melissa's love life included Eric Stavros (John Callahan) and Dan Fixx (Brett Cullen).
In October of this year, Ana-Alicia left FALCON CREST. The show won't be the same without her.
SOD Flashback: Ana-Alicia of Ryan's Hope
By Geri Jefferson, Soap Opera Digest, 1977
Archived at Soap Opera Digest On-Line
ANA ALICIA OF RYAN'S HOPE
Ana Alicia (Alicia Nieves---Ryan's Hope) arrived in New York a few short months ago and already she's in love... with New York that is!
"I'm in love. I love the energy. My mom used to tell me 'you have too much energy --slow down!' So I called her and I said, 'Ma, I found my city!' "
Ana, born in Mexico City, lived there until she was six. After her father passed away, her family moved to El Paso, Texas where she attended school. Always a bright and studious child, it should have come to no surprise when Ana received a full scholarship to the acclaimed Wellesley College, in Massachusetts.
Always drawn to acting, Ana felt "too scared" to pursue it and decided "I've always liked law, so I'll study it and see what happens." When she arrived at Wellesley, she felt as though she were in a "dream world." The college had exchange classes with Harvard and academically it was pressure, but for Ana, it was a beautiful growing up period. During her first year there, she took general studies, and latched onto just about everything. She would study computer programming until four in the morning; she was captivated by political science. There was an almost insatiable need for learning.
During a school break, Ana came to New York. While there, she saw some Broadway shows and that turned the tides. "That [stage] is where I want to be,'she said. "It all came back, and I realized you can't hide from what you really want to do. Follow your dreams, don't be scared or you are going to miss out."
With that, Ana returned to Wellesley, but somehow she knew it wouldn't be long. When summer came, Ana returned home [to El Paso] and one of her former instructors suggested she audition for a new Equity Theatre. She went , was accepted, and decided to take a leave of absence from Wellesley in order to continue working in the theatre. She was accepted to the University of Texas and for about a year or so, she worked with, among others, Dana Andrews. It was Ana's first real taste of professional theatre and she loved it.
After receiving her degree from Texas University she decided it was "time to try my dreams."
With every penny she'd saved, she packed her suitcase and drove out to Los Angeles.
Once there, she decided that getting an agent should be the first order of business. So.....
"I walked into their [agents] offices and they kind of looked at me ."
"Can I help you?" they said.
"So I said, 'I'm Ana Alicia Ortiz, Ijust came here from El Paso, Texas.' "
"And they said...'but you just don't so this.' "
"So I started to walk out and they asked me if I had any pictures."
" ' No,' I said, 'I've never had any taken.' "
"So they said, 'well, do you have a resume?' "
"And I said, 'well a little one.' So I guesses they were really shocked, but they signed me."
Again, she was accepted into an Equity company. She toured with the company and when the show was sent to Alaska she had planned on going too, but then Ryan's Hope happened.
She was pleased with her work in L.A. and was, in addition to everything else, teaching adults in the areas of multi-cultural history and creative dramatics.
However, Ryan's Hope was an honest-to-goodness dream come true, and she couldn't pass it up.
Ryan's Hope was the only daytime drama Ana ever followed! "I watched it from the day it started and I told my mom I'd really like to work on that show, but then I said to myself 'never!' "
So when her agent called her to audition for a part on her favorite show it began a whirlwind episode. A week after the screen test--(on a Friday to be exact) Ana got a call saying she should be in New York on Sunday!
It was all such a strange and wonderful culmination of events. Just a week before, Ana's brother had called her and said he felt something wonderful was going to happen to her--sure enough it did!
So...Ana arrived breathless in New York. Her luggage was lost, her arrival was frenzied, but there she was---lost luggage and all!
"I had never been in a studio before and when I met the people [on the show] it was funny because I walked up to them and said, 'wow, it's really neat to meet you,' just like a fan, because I was!
"There is something even more incredible, I was accepted into law school! N.Y. U. is asking me to go to their school because they got a hold of my records!"
Ana isn't sure if she wants to be a lawyer--but she would like to study it. "It fascinated me and kind of propells something different in me."
Ana firmly states her love and belief in the United States and what it stand for--but she believes there are a lot of ignorant people I the government. She'd like to learn all about the basics upon which this country is built---law.
I asked if, once armed with this knowledge, she feared becoming cynical.
"No, because I'm not that type of person ... If I had been, I would have become cynical in Hollywood. You learn to be touched and yet never lose that thing that makes you special."
Ana is indeed, a special kind of woman so I asked her about "that special kind of man."
"I'm strictly a 'one man woman.' Because I come from a very loving home, I am a loving person. I love people and I need them an with a man there's got to be that ultimate love and understanding between both of us. It's got to be a culmination of everything .. . not only a lover or a best friend .. even a kid brother sometimes, maybe even a father at times. When you need a little bit of guidance or understanding, there has to be everything there.
"Loving, feeling, understanding -- if he can understand my way of life --and respect. I think if there's understanding and communication there's respect.
"At times you're almost willing to settle for less, but in my life, I've never settled for less than what I really want ... At times, its lonely ... But if I can't share with the kind of person I want, then it's not worth it to me -- and I may have to wait and wait -- but I know it's going to happen.
"The thing that keeps me going in my life is my family and I feel I have something important to do in my life. I don't know what it is, but -- I feel each of us does ...
"I think each human being has something vitally important in their life, no matter what profession they are in, no matter what they are doing, it's very important. And because God has gifted me with whatever intelligence, or whatever drive or strength that I have, I can go with it as far as I should, as far as it will take me."
The capricious yet private actress has been busy since leaving Falcon Crest, co-hosting a special for Fox television called 'The Greatest Stunts'. "They heard that I had done some racing so they asked me to go," she says. "They did it in France. It was pretty spectacular. I'm still working on producing and writing the screenplay for a movie to be called 'Flamenco'. It's a love story with a lot of music and dancing and sensuality. I would shoot it in Spain." Ana-Alicia is also the co-host of 'The Zoo Life', a series of specials. She hosts these with Jack Hanna, the head of the zoo in Columbus Ohio.
The actress has also devoted much of her time to various environmental and political causes. She is the national spokesperson for the Humane Society, whose purpose it is to "inform the consumer about cruelty to animals and to develop a market for non-animal tested cosmetics. I've always been a member of the animal associations. I started a campaign in my neighbourhood to have animals neutered. I have six stray cats to which I learned I was allergic [after being confined to bed with flu symptoms for six days]. I have a bumper sticker on my car that says 'Neuter Your Animals. There aren't Enough Homes For All of Them'."
A recent television appearance was as the heroic stewardess in 'Miracle Landing', a movie that costarred Wayne Rogers and Connie Sellecca. That assignment was hazardous to her health. "I had a broken rib and a lung infection from the smoke," she says. "The doctor thought I was an abused wife." She hasn't been shopping for a series or doing much auditioning. Instead, she's been studying acting and running her own life: "I've taken over all of my business affairs and become a real person again." Alicia also took time to reteam with Lorenzo Lamas for a guest role in Lamas' series, 'Renegade', and also made an appearance on 'Acapulco Heat'.
Alicia is very proud of her role in the feature film, 'Romero', which starred Raoul Julia as Archbishop Oscar Romero, whose outspoken defense of leftists and the rights of peasants against military repression in El Salvador cost him his life. He was assassinated in 1980, while saying mass one morning for a group of nuns.. "You have to let them see that you can do quality work on a quality production," says Ana-Alicia. "then they will stop thinking of you as some bimbo; 'Just put some earrings on her and send her out there and she'll scream at someone'."
Ana-Alicia irregularly keeps in touch with her buddies from Falcon Crest. She was reunited with Lorenzo Lamas at a celebrity ski tournament in Banff, Alberta, and the two later co-hosted the 'Golden Eagle' awards, which promote Hispanic achievements in he media. "We're like an old ex-married couple," says Ana-Alicia. "We're connected in life." She also keeps in touch with Billy Moses (Cole) and Susan Sullivan. "A lot of good people were involved in this show," she says.