Emmy nominee Richard Cabral opens up about his past gang activity, murder attempt and drug use

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Looking at our past makes most of us feel nostalgic and wishing to go back to the time when we were children. But, for Emmy nominated actor Richard Cabral, it’s just the opposite. The actor of American  nationality and Mexican descent, who garnered rave reviews for his portrayal of the character, Hector Tontz in mini-series American Crime, went through a troublesome childhood and teenage, which he does not want to remember.

The star recently shared his past and his struggle with drug addiction, gang activity and murder attempts with ETonline, after landing an Emmy nomination for his role in the hit miniseries.

The actor thinks that he is lucky enough to be a free man, after all those nasty criminal activities he was involved in and the hardships that he went through in his past. Talking to ETonline, the critically acclaimed actor revealed how his family was part of criminal gangs. "My family had been involved in gangs since the 1970s. In this society you have to belong to something I feel, and all we have in the neighborhood is a gang. My father figures were all gang members."

As he was involved in criminal acts, his past real life seems to reflect in his character in American Crime. In the interview, he explained his past in a nutshell, "This is the society that I belonged to and that's all I knew. Broken home, no father figure so I do what my family has been doing for generations and I end up getting involved in gangs and drugs, and my family had been involved in gangs since the 1970s. I started going to jail and then turning into hard drugs and it was just 12, 13 years old -- that's when the incarceration started and it didn't stop until I was like 25."

"I ended up getting five years, and it was an attempted murder," Cabral said. "I got caught up in it and I believe that if I didn't change my life at that moment, or at least strive for something, that I could have just ended up dead on the streets."

Cabral explained how after being free from the prison, he sought help from Homeboy Industries to help change his life. It is a social services organization which takes in high-risk former gang members in order to train and provide them with a job and a better future. It was after being involved in this organisation that he first realized he could act. He credits all the good things in his life one man: Father Greg Boyle. And this is how he went to work in NBC’s television crime drama series Southland in 2009.

"They were looking for authentic guys from the street," Cabral said. "They invited us to Warner Bros. Studios. It was like 10 of us that went and they were like, 'Just read the lines.' And we read the lines and three of us booked it and I was one of the guys. That was like the spark. Like, 'Wow! I could do this?'" Cabral said cheerfully.

The actor later went on to star in NBC's Chicago Fire, HBO's Luck and Bruno Mars' "Grenade" music video.

Now, Cabral is trying his best to forget his past and lead a normal life. He is active in Twitter and Instagram and it seems this talented young actor does not have a girlfriend (wink).