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Iranian-American Actor Anthony Azizi Uses Fame to Promote Women's Rights

Veteran television and film actor Anthony Azizi has played a variety of roles ranging from the intensely dramatic to hilariously comedic. But it is his current TV role as an aide to the first female U.S. president that allows him to blend his passion for acting with support for women's rights.

Anthony Azizi
Anthony Azizi
As a child, Anthony Azizi learned many languages including Spanish, French, and a little bit of Chinese.

But his Iranian-born parents taught him Persian. The Brooklyn, New York-born actor has used his gift for language to play a variety of roles. He currently co-stars in the American TV series "Commander in Chief." Azizi says he always wanted to be an actor.

"Since I was a kid I wanted to be an actor. If there was music or theater or even soccer (football), I mean, I did it all. I didn't have the patience to become a doctor."

His family had other ideas, encouraging him to pursue a medical career.

"Even as I started getting success an actor, my mom would leave messages on my (answering) machine that would be, like: 'Listen, this is not a joke, there is still time for you, you are older, so don't be (a) doctor, be (a) dentist. (To become a) dentist (it takes) only three years. I found program for three years, you don't have to do four years.'  She just couldn't accept the fact I wanted to be an actor," he told us.

Anthony Azizi plays a presidential aide in "Commander in Chief"
Today, Anthony Azizi plays a presidential aide in "Commander in Chief," which stars Geena Davis as the first female president of the United States.

But Azizi says reaching this level of success in Hollywood was not easy. "I had to change my name because I was getting too many calls. My name is Kamal. So that in of itself has been a very difficult challenge because there aren't many roles."

A challenge he overcame. He now uses his fame to promote an issue he cares deeply about.

"One thing that is dear to me is women's rights because women don't have rights, especially in the Middle East and especially in cultures around the world, in Africa, in China. In many countries around the world women are oppressed, they are pushed down. They are not given the same equalities and rights as men. (In) certain countries women can not vote, in certain countries they are made to walk behind men, in certain countries they can not drive a car, in certain countries they can not be seen in public without a man as an escort. Fifty two percent of the (world's) population is women. How dare we not give them the respect as human beings? It's a human rights issue."

Azizi believes programs featuring strong women like "" can play a part in promoting women's rights and reflect the role they can play in the world.

"It is time to let women have a chance to make the world a better place."

And Azizi hopes that just like his show, that time will arrive soon.

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Footage Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

... Payvand News - 3/23/06 ... --

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