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Most Influential Hispanic: Director Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez has become Hollywood’s most influential Hispanic by putting Latinos in top roles and broadening the definition of what a Latino role is. “Hollywood didn’t have parts for Jennifer Lopez or Salma Hayek 10 years ago,” says Rodriguez, whose Spy Kids trilogy, with Latino superheroes played by Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino, changed all that. “Now, you don’t have to cast Latinos in just Latin roles anymore.”

Staying clear of Hollywood, Rodriguez, a Mexican American born in San Antonio, Texas, operates out of his Troublemaker Studios, based in Austin, Texas. His gory gunfests, starting with his debut El Mariachi, and cheery fantasies — the latest is The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D — have raked in more than $565 million.

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