Cheech Marin

Actor, comedian
Photograph courtesy Flickr/Cuarandera

My dad’s early beat when he was a cop was downtown L.A.—Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street—so that’s where I grew up, and at night he’d bring me home different types of food from his beats. I was born in South-Central L.A. Every once in a while I go down there when I want to show somebody where I came from. It’s now all Latino, 100 percent Latino. Before it was almost 100 percent black, and I was one of the few Mexicans in my neighborhood. When I was ten, we moved to Granada Hills in the Valley, which was all white. It was like going from Nigeria to Knott’s Berry Farm. » Marin, 64, a major collector of Chicano art, just wrapped his “Get It Legal” tour with longtime partner Tommy Chong.