By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 50 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Cheech Marin, Alma Awards 2012

Cheech Marin

It’s been almost 50 years since Cheech Marin, the Chicano Hippie hero of the ‘60s and ‘70s, made his start in a number of dope-induced flicks with partner Tommy Chong. After spending much of his professional career trying to shake the Cheech and Chong image, he has been on a serious role. Since the early ‘90s, he has starred in numerous films including Robert Rodriguez’s “Desperado,” Disney’s “Lion King,” and alongside Kevin Costner in “Tin Cup.” Monitoring Hispanic successes in Hollywood, he has his own theory: “It’s a tidal thing- the tide comes in and it goes out. Each time the tide comes in, it comes in a little further and a new generation comes along.” After all these years, at age 74, Cheech Marin is ‘still smokin’.