Luis Avalos said: "Hispanics are an important part of the fabric of… (File photo, Credit unknown )
Latino playwright, actor on 'The Electric Company.'
Luis Avalos, 67, a Cuban American actor who had a regular role as Dr. Doolats on the 1970s public television children's series "The Electric Company" and later was active in Los Angeles' theater scene, died Wednesday of heart failure at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, according to spokesman John Echeveste.
Avalos joined the ensemble cast of "The Electric Company" in 1972, the second season of the PBS variety show that aimed to teach elementary school children to read. Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno were among the cast members on the program that originally aired from 1971 to 1977.
Avalos went on to land guest appearances in "Kojak," "Soap," "Barney Miller," "E/R," "Full House," "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" and other TV series. He also co-starred opposite McLean Stevenson in the 1983 sitcom "Condo" that echoed the themes of "All in the Family."
In 1992 Avalos wrote, produced, directed and starred in "El Regalo de Paquito" or "Paquito's Gift," a Christmas family special for the Spanish-language Telemundo network. Two years later he adapted it as "Paquito's Christmas" for the Los Angeles Theatre Center and it became a holiday favorite at local theaters.
Avalos was born in Havana on Sept. 2, 1946, and as an infant moved to New York, where his parents were factory workers. He studied acting at New York University and began his career on stage as a trainee with the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center and in off-Broadway productions.
He often said in interviews that he turned down many roles because they negatively portrayed Latinos.
"But I hate to turn down work," he said in a 1987 San Diego Union-Tribune story, "because the same producer may have a good role next time, and won't offer it to you.... Hispanics are an important part of the fabric of this nation, but they have a long way to go. Kids need to see images that are positive, not just to be shown as a busboy."
Times staff and wire reports