What if one day you looked in the mirror and saw the most powerful man in the world staring back at you? In this Op-Doc video, we meet Louis Ortiz, an unemployed Puerto Rican man from the Bronx, whose life turned upside down when he discovered his uncanny resemblance to President Obama.
The first time I talked to Mr. Ortiz on the phone he said, “I’m so glad you called. I’ve been living in the Twilight Zone for the past three years.” That was the spring of 2011. In the week between that call and when we met in person, Osama bin Laden was killed. When I went to the Bronx to meet Mr. Ortiz, people were high-fiving and congratulating him. I knew instantly I had to drop everything else and follow him around.
Mr. Ortiz is a walking, talking image of Barack Obama. When people encounter him, they see the version of Mr. Obama they want to see. And when Mr. Ortiz looks in the mirror, so does he.
Ryan Murdock is a filmmaker who has produced for PBS’s show “Nova” and recorded more than 300 oral histories for NPR’s StoryCorps. This video is adapted from his forthcoming documentary “The Audacity of Louis Ortiz” and a recent episode of “This American Life.”
Source: New York Times
President Obama Impersonator Inspires Kickstarter ‘The Audacity of Louis Ortiz’ Project VIDEO)
While Democrats across the country are hoping for another White House victory in 2012, come November there will be one man from the Bronx hoping to see Obama keep his job even more, as his own livelihood directly depends on it.
Without a steady job and no health insurance to help with his multiple sclerosis, Louis Ortiz is “that guy” politicians are always promising to help find a better life.
But as filmmaker Ryan Murdock puts it, Ortiz also just happens to look like the most powerful person on the planet, President Obama, and since 2008 he’s been making the most of what he has to get the bills paid as a professional impersonator.
This American Life featured Oritz’s journey, which began with a young man floundering in mounting bills and playing in neighborhood pool tournaments to try and make ends meet. Then one day, friends pointed to a Daily News cover with Obama on the front, or as Ortiz describes a “dude with big ears” and suggested Ortiz capitalize on his uncanny resemblance to the presidential hopeful. After much contemplation, Ortiz shaved off his facial hair and coveted goatee and his extraordinary story took off.
As the one-time former field technician for Verizon who was struggling to find work, Ortiz told The New York Post, “Never in a million years could I imagine I could look like not just someone famous, but THE someone. It’s Obama. It’s history. The first African American president of the United States – and I’m a part of it.”
Murdock has been filming Ortiz’s story since May 2011 and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance his film, “The Audacity Of Louis Oritz” to document Ortiz’s unique story of what it’s like to struggle in America, as he continues to parallel the real Obama’s battle for the White House in the crucial months ahead.