A Martinez Biography: An Intimate Look at the Man Behind the Icon

A Martinez is a prolific American film and television actor, singer, writer and producer best known for his portrayal of Cruz Castillo in the long running ABC daytime drama Santa Barbara, for which he won a Daytime Emmy. Over a career spanning more than 50 years in the entertainment industry, Martinez has showcased his versatility across different mediums while embodying a variety of diverse characters.

Early Life and Background

A Martinez was born Adolph Larrue Martinez III, on September 27, 1948 in Glendale, California to Adolphe Larrue Martinez Jr. and Maria Juliana Martinez. His father was of half Mexican, quarter Spanish and quarter Apache ancestry while his mother was Mexican, with Martinez stating this cultural blend has heavily influenced him.

Martinez attended Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale where he was active in athletics, captaining the football team and featured as an All-American athlete. He turned down several college scholarships, instead focusing on becoming an actor from an early age.

Early Acting Work

Martinez first entered the entertainment scene via modeling. Despite not having any formal acting education, he successfully auditioned for small one-line character roles starting in the early 1970s. Some of his early acting credits included:

  • Nichols (1971)
  • Mission: Impossible (1970)
  • Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1971)
  • Dan August (1971)

His first major recurring part came in 1976, starring as law clerk Richard Castillo in the NBC courtroom drama The Law and Harry McGraw. Though it was short-lived series, cancelled after 12 episodes, this early break provided valuable experience and exposure.

Primetime Soap Opera Fame

Martinez’s big break came in 1982 when he landed the role of Chase Kendall, young executive and heir apparent, in ABC’s new primetime soap opera The Pine Valley. As one of the core families around which the show revolved, Martinez became a primetime star appearing in over 300 episodes across seven years with the show.

Some highlights in Martinez’s run on The Pine Valley include:

  • Winning “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” at the 1983 Golden Globes
  • Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for “Outstanding Villain in a Prime Time Soap Opera” in 1986
  • Complex storyline arcs including going missing in the jungle, business takeover schemes, multiple romantic entanglements.

This long running part cemented Martinez’s heartthrob status and set his career trajectory for the coming decades across both daytime and primetime roles.

Breakout Role on Santa Barbara

Immediately after finishing up on The Pine Valley in 1989, Martinez took on what is considered his career defining role, that of Crus Castillo in the long running daytime drama Santa Barbara. As one of the core families, the Castillo family was positioned as the main protagonists against the rival wealthy Capwell family.

Martinez played Cruz Castillo over 893 episodes from 1989 to 1993. Highlights of his time as Cruz Castillo included:

Cruz and Eden Capwell Core Romance Storyline

Much of the drama centered around Cruz’s romance with Eden Capwell, daughter of his family rivals. Their on-again/off-again relationship was hugely popular with viewers. Some key moments included:

  • Fairytale wedding watched by over 30 million viewers in 1991
  • Multiple romantic proposals and breakups adding constant tension

Emmy Win for Best Lead Actor

In 1990, Martinez won a Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” for his emotional portrayal of war veteran Cruz. This was his breakthrough award setting him apart as a leading man capable of nuanced character depth.

Primetime Specials

The popularity of Eden and Cruz led to ABC airing two primetime specials centered just around their romance storyline – 1990’s Cruz and Eden and 1991’s One Thousandth Eepisode: Escape to Eden filmed on location in Mexico.

Ultimately, Martinez left the soap in 1993, feeling he had taken Cruz’s character arc as far as possible. The role cemented his heartthrob status and reputation in the industry.

Later Film and TV Career

Post Santa Barbara Martinez has worked consistently in a variety of television and film roles showcasing his versatility in dramas and comedies alike. Some other notable credits include:

Profiler 1996-2000

He starred as Detective Jake McCartey assisting the criminal profiler Dr Sam Waters (Ally Walker) solve cases. Over 86 episodes aired across 4 seasons.

LA Law 1994-1995

Transitioning from daytime to primetime, Martinez had a recurring role as public defender David Duchow in the final 2 seasons of iconic courtroom drama LA Law.

S.W.A.T 2017-2018

In recent year he played Robert Hicks, the Deputy Director of the Special Weapons and Tactics team in reboot of the classic series S.W.A.T starring Shemar Moore.

He has also made various TV movie and indie film appearances over the past three decades. Some other selected credits include:

  • Last Plane Out (1983)
  • She Was Marked for Murder (1988)
  • Night of the Running Man (1995)
  • 16th Worldfest Houston International Film Festival (2013)

Table A – Select A Martinez Movie and TV Credits

Santa BarbaraCruz CastilloTV – Daytime Drama1989-1993
The Pine ValleyChase KendallTV – Primetime Drama1982-1989
ProfilerDetective Jake McCarteyTV – Primetime Drama1996-2000
Last Plane OutJuan OrtegaTV Movie1983
She Was Marked for MurderTony FalconTV Movie1988
Night of the Running ManJerry LoganMovie1995

Recent Years

Lately, Martinez has been hosting his own celebrity interview show called On the Couch with A Martinez airing locally in Los Angeles since 2007. Featuring one-on-one conversations with various celebrities and entertainment figures, it provides an insight into the actor’s skills as an interviewer and host drawing on his long career in the industry.

Some guests have included:

  • Actors – Ed Asner, Shirley Jones, Kate Linder, Joan Van Ark
  • Musicians – Peter Cetera, Dick Dale, Three Dog Night
  • Athletes Magic Johnson, Charles White
  • Politicians Nancy Pelosi

It represents a new phase showing Martinez branching out to be both in front of and behind the camera.

Outside of acting one of Martinez’s other passions is horse racing and owns his own ranch with his wife Leslie Bryans, along with several race horses. Martinez also serves on various boards giving back to charitable foundations supporting children’s causes and the environment.


In summary, A Martinez has enjoyed an over 50 year career as an actor, singer and producer working successfully across daytime and primetime roles. Breaking out via hit soap operas in the 1980s such as The Pine Valley and most prominently, Santa Barbara, he became a household name beloved for portraying Cruz Castillo.

Highlighting his versatility, charisma and interview skills in recent years, Martinez has also hosted his own celebrity talk show On the Couch. Combined with various film and indie projects, support for non-profits, passion for horses – Martinez has cultivated a varied and dynamic career in the entertainment industry. Approaching his mid 70s, he is still going strong with no signs of slowing down.

Frequently Asked Questions about A Martinez’s Life and Career

Here are some common questions related to A Martinez’s personal background and multi-decade spanning acting career across television and film.

What ethnicity is A Martinez?

A Martinez is mixed ethnicity, with his father being half Mexican, one quarter Spanish and one quarter Apache native American. His mother was Mexican. This blend heavily influences him stating: “It’s what my whole thing is about, it’s where all the energy is for me – the mix”.

Where was A Martinez born?

He was born Adolph Larrue Martinez III on September 27, 1948 in Glendale California. He later simplified his name to just be known as A Martinez professionally.

How did A Martinez get discovered as an actor?

With no formal acting training, Martinez was first discovered via modeling in commercials. This got him in the door to start auditioning for minor television roles in the early 1970s. His breakout part came as law clerk Richard Castillo in short-lived legal drama The Law and Harry McGraw in 1976.