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Who is ex-gang member Richard Cabral who plays Detective Cruz on Lethal Weapon?

Richard Cabral with Michelle Mitchenor in Lethal Weapon
Richard Cabral with Michelle Mitchenor in Lethal Weapon

Richard Cabral plays Detective Cruz on Lethal Weapon — but do you know his fascinating backstory?

Cabral is definitely not your typical actor. We took a look into his past and how he got to where he is now.

Raised in Los Angeles, the young Richard belonged to a second-generation American-Mexican family.

Gang culture was part of his life from a young age, and he became increasingly involved in gang-related activity.

Richard’s family, he said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, had been involved in gang culture since the 1970s.

The young Richard got his first taste of incarceration when he was 13, after he stole a wallet. By the age of 15, he had become addicted to crack cocaine.

Then, when he was 20, Richard was sent to prison for something altogether more serious. He told ET: “I ended up getting five years, and it was an attempted murder…

“I got caught up in it and I believe that if I didn’t change my life at that moment, or at least strive for something, that I could have just ended up dead on the streets.”

Released at 25, he began to turn his life around. Some friends told him about Homeboy Industries, an organization that helps former gang members. It was around this time that Richard began to act.

Early roles included an appearance in Bruno Mars’ video for the single “Grenade”, and a role in the television show Southland.

2015 saw Richard starring as Hector Tontz in the mini-series American Crime. His role earned him a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie at the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards.

A year later, Richard co-wrote (with Robert Egan) a one-man show, Fighting Shadows, based on what happened to him as a gang member. As well as Fighting Shadows, Richard has also written poetry.

You might also have seen Richard in films like The Counselor, in which he played The Green Hornet, and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, in which he played Arturo Lopez.

Lethal Weapon airs Fridays at 9/8c on FOX.


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