The full cast of Dancing with the Stars Season 13 has just been announced. Many of the celebrities taking part are household names like Ricki Lake, Nancy Grace and David Arquette. But who is J.R. Martinez.
Well, to start, let us remind you that he is an actor on All My Children. But there is a whole lot more than that to Martinez (28). To save you the effort of Googling him (you know you were going to!) here are some details about Martinez.
He is a veteran of the Iraq war, in which he was badly injured when the Humvee he was driving hit a land mine while deployed with the Army in Iraq in 2003.
Matrinez’s fellow soldiers were thrown from the vehicle, but he got trapped inside, suffering severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body, including his face, as well as smoke inhalation.
It was not certain he would survive, but after thirty-four months recovering and thirty-three different cosmetic and skin graft surgeries he attained all the recovery he would get.
In 2009, he spoke to CNN about the day that changed his life forever.
“I was trapped inside the vehicle for about 10 minutes, conscious and could literally see my life slipping away from me. You know, my mother is my best friend and I kind of had the visual of my mother, and them handing her a flag and I thought to myself, that’s not something I want to put my mother through.”
Martinez said he maintained a positive attitude throughout his recovery, despite some bad days. He spoke also about how self-conscious he was, stepping out in public with his injuries.
Since the incident, Martinez has become a motivational speaker and an actor, most notably landing a role on the ABC daytime drama All My Children in 2008, where he plays combat veteran Brot Monroe. He also does a lot of charity work for Iraq Star Inc., which finances reconstructive surgery for war vets.
The irony is, when all he could do was lie in a hospital bed and watch TV, he used to joke to is mother that he would be a on a soap opera one day. He says becoming an actor and achieving that role on All My Children has been therapeutic for him.
On Monday night during ABC’s live announcement revealing the celebrities who would complete on Dancing with the Stars, Martinez was asked about goals for the competition.
“I just want people to take away that no matter through what war or battle that you are fighting, that through positive thinking, through a positive attitude you can overcome. I think all of us up here are going to prove that to the 40 million people that watch this show that we are going to push ourselves to go beyond what were thought possible.”
I don’t know about you but I really hope J.R. Martinez is a good dancer and he goes far in the competition. We don’t have long to wait to find out. Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars premieres September 19 on ABC.