(written from a Production point of view)
Robert Beltran is the son of Mexican-American immigrants and was born in Bakersfield, California. He attended East Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College. He came from a large family of ten children (two sisters and seven brothers). One of his younger brothers is Latin Jazz musician Louie Cruz Beltran.
During his early life, Beltran held a number of jobs which he later described as "hard", including a cotton picker, tomato plant grower, janitor, and working at a Wienerschnitzel.
He had already gained a certain degree of fame long before coming aboard Voyager. In 1982, in only his second film appearance, he starred as the titular character in the dark comedy Eating Raoul. Written and directed by Paul Bartel and also featuring appearances by future Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actor Hamilton Camp and future Voyager guest star Ed Begley, Jr., the voyeuristic Raoul has become a cult favorite. The film also starred Ralph Brannen. Beltran went on to have several lead roles in other films throughout the rest of the 1980s, no doubt as a result of his role as Raoul.
Beltran made his film debut with a small role in the 1981 film Zoot Suit, also featuring Tony Plana and Kurtwood Smith. In 1983, he went on to co-star opposite action superstars Chuck Norris and David Carradine in Lone Wolf McQuade. By the following year, however, he was being offered lead roles. He starred in the popular science fiction film Night of the Comet, which has also reached cult status. In 1985, he starred in the war drama Latino, produced by George Lucas, which also featured his fellow Zoot Suit actor Tony Plana.
By 1987, however, Beltran was back to playing supporting roles. That year, he co-starred with fellow Star Trek alumni Rosalind Chao, Herta Ware, and John Fleck in the film Slam Dance. That same year, he had a supporting role in the acclaimed drama Gaby: A True Story, co-starring Lawrence Monoson.
In 1989, Beltran reteamed with his Eating Raoul director, Paul Bartel, for another dark comedy, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. Ed Begley, Jr. and Wallace Shawn also had roles in this film. Beltran also co-starred with Cliff DeYoung in Forbidden Sun that same year and then 1990's To Die Standing.
Beltran played the title role of the 1991 TV movie El Diablo, co-starring one-time DS9 guest star John Glover and Star Trek: Enterprise actor Jim Beaver. That same year, Beltran again co-starred with Tony Plana in the short-lived TV series Veronica Clare. Also in 1991, Beltran appeared in the gangster film Bugsy, which also featured one-time Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star Bebe Neuwirth.
Afterward, Beltran appeared primarily in TV movies, including State of Emergency, with Paul Dooley and Richard Beymer, in 1994. Also in that year, Beltran guest starred in an episode of the TV series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, starring Teri Hatcher; TNG guest star Chris Demetral guest-starred in the same episode. Just before landing his starring role on Voyager, Beltran played the recurring role of Detective Louis Soto on the Melrose Place spin-off Models Inc. in episodes with Victor Bevine, Randy Oglesby, Cristine Rose, and Margot Rose. Later in 1994, Beltran was cast as Chakotay in Star Trek: Voyager.
Voyager and afterwards
Since Voyager first aired, Beltran has only appeared in one other major feature film. He played one of the Watergate burglars in the 1995 biographical drama Nixon, chronicling the fall of US President Richard M. Nixon. Trek alumni such as Tony Plana, Saul Rubinek, and Paul Sorvino also had roles in this film.
While still filming Voyager in 2000, Beltran co-starred opposite future Star Trek: Enterprise star Scott Bakula in the independent film Luminarias, based on the play of the same name. He also voiced Commander Chakotay in the video game Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force.
After Voyager ended in 2001, Beltran worked in the TV movie Manticore, in which he co-stars with DS9 actress Chase Masterson. He was next seen in TV's Fire Serpent for the Sci-Fi Channel, written by Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens. In March of 2007, Beltran made an appearance on the NBC series Medium. His upcoming credits include the Sci-Fi Channel TV movie Cry of the Winged Serpent and the comic film Taking Chances.
Beltran, like Enterprise actress Jolene Blalock, was infamous for his outspoken views on how his series was progressing. He once remarked in an interview that he thought Star Trek: Voyager was "punishment for everything in my life up till that point. Thanks, dear Lord for the… uh, Star Trek gig."  His outbursts against the series became so great that executive producer Kenneth Biller said in late 2000, "I think Robert Beltran should stop whining and do his job… print that if you want!"  Despite this, he won a Golden Eagle Award as Outstanding Actor in a Television Series for his role as Chakotay in 1997 and had also been nominated for two ALMA Awards.
After Voyager ended, Beltran had a recurring role as Native American casino promoter Jerry Flute on the HBO series Big Love. Charles Esten, Raphael Sbarge and Noa Tishby have also made appearance on Big Love.
In 2009, Beltran released a video on YouTube, saying "I busted my ass off for seven years playing Chakotay… on Voyager. Having to work with Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips, you have no idea how difficult that is. And Bob Picardo walking around going 'I'm signing autographs!'" The video was a joke video made by Robert Beltran and a Star Trek fan, capitalizing on his outspoken views to get Star Trek fans in particular to attend a new performance that was opening that month. 
Star Trek interviews
- E! Inside Star Trek: Voyager (1995)
- Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure (1995)
- VOY Season 1 DVD special feature Cast Reflections: Season One, interviewed on 20 March 2001
|Star Trek: Voyager regular cast|
|Robert Beltran • Roxann Dawson • Jennifer Lien • Robert Duncan McNeill • Kate Mulgrew • Ethan Phillips • Robert Picardo • Tim Russ • Jeri Ryan • Garrett Wang|