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Rico Rodriguez of ‘Modern Family’ among Screen Actors Guild Award winners

Rico Rodriguez of "Modern Family" is a winner tonight at SAG-AFTRA awards, Jan. 18, 2014. The entire cast took the stage to accept this award for the fourth consecutive year.
Rico Rodriguez of "Modern Family" is a winner tonight at SAG-AFTRA awards, Jan. 18, 2014. The entire cast took the stage to accept this award for the fourth consecutive year.
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Actor Rico Rodriguez, originally from Bryan, Texas, experienced a very special honor during the first hour of the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild awards broadcast on TNT, Jan. 18, 2014. Rodriguez took the stage along with the 11-member cast of “Modern Family,” to receive their SAG-AFTRA award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. The son of Roy and Diane Rodriguez couldn’t hear it, but he just had enthusiastic, collective approval from Bryan-College Station, Texas, where his home crowd was cheering for him.

Rico Rodriguez of "Modern Family" is a winner tonight at SAG-AFTRA awards, Jan. 18, 2014.
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Rodriguez is easily at home in front of a camera as a young teenager, on stage in front of Hollywood’s clear elite actors of tremendous acclaim tonight. He belongs there easily. But it was in Bryan, Texas that he was discovered by Nikki Pederson of Nikki Pederson Talent, together with his equally talented sister, Raini, who has achieved tremendous acclaim in her own right, currently in her third year in the Disney series, “Austin & Ally.” When Pederson was in Los Angeles two weeks ago, she had dinner with her two young acting alums and their family (see slide show) and remarked how the Rodriguez family was the perfect example of “how to do it right.” Nikki got the ball rolling.

Today, Rico and Raini are managed as “Team Rodriguez” by Susan Osser, owner of Creative Kidz Management, who brings every bit of care and oversight to their careers in making sure they are placed for roles that feature their talents, without destroying their authentic childhood and young adulthood. Osser is particular, she’s bright, and she’s a prime reason that Rico has flourished in his acting career. Early on, it was Raini who was first spotted for her acting talent, but Osser also saw something special in young Rico, who’d come along with his mom for Raini’s early appointments.

After Susan consulted with the family, they decided enrolled him in acting classes at an early age. So far, it’s working out really well. Even before “Modern Family,” Rico had a role on an episode of “NCIS.” Frankly, how many kids from Bryan, Texas can say they’ve been on the No. 1 show in America before they turned 13? His full IMDB page is overflowing with work he’s done, including movies, thanks to Osser making sure those doors were opened. Just an hour ago, Osser posted, “So proud,” along with Rico’s photo holding the SAG Award.

Most importantly, beyond all acting accolades, Rico (and Raini) are regular real-world kids, special young people who continue to work on behalf of community projects and charities in their Bryan, Texas hometown. Rico is especially drawn to helping the Head Start program at his former Bryan elementary school. He often participates in charitable events in California also, because it’s truly important to him to give back. Family values preserved, all the way around makes it a feel-good moment tonight to see a very special young man honored as part of a superbly talented ensemble cast in Hollywood. Plus, they beat out (among others) the cast of “The Big Bang Theory,” which CBS boasts as the No. 1 comedy in America.

This is the fourth year that 15-year-old Rico has been able to experience the excitement and joy of this singularly rare event. “Modern Family” has earned this accolade from SAG-AFTRA for the fourth consecutive year. The series has earned many other awards, including Emmys, but the SAG-AFTRA competition is considered among actors’ favorites, because their peers are the ones who vote. Sasha Alexander was this year’s social media ambassador for the SAG-AFTRA awards and has kept Twitter busy this past month. You can also find Rico on social media and give him a shout-out for tonight’s award on Twitter here.

On “Modern Family,” Rodriguez plays Manny Delgado, the son of Sofia Vergara as Sofia Pritchett and stepson to Ed O’Neill’s character, Jay Pritchett. Rodriguez’ character is a young man who dresses like GQ and manages his high IQ, while still pining over older women and trying to figure out how to keep the family calm throughout various crises. Only a few minutes earlier, actor Ty Burrell had just accepted his individual award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series. It's quite the talented ensemble cast. Through Rico's work with “Modern Family’s” Nolan Gould, the actor who plays Luke Dunphy, the two teens have begun working together on creating some new concepts and ideas for future work.

Latest episodes of “Modern Family” are shown on ABC, but the show has achieved additional acclaim in “MOFY” marathons and regular prime time programming slots in syndication on the USA Network. The series was created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, who have managed to work inspiration from their respective real-life families into many plots along the way.

Congratulations to Rico Rodriguez from your Bryan, Texas and Aggieland viewing family.

Want to read more? Click on the links to find more of Dawn Lee’s latest examiner.com stories on television, pop culture and celebrity news, classic rock and Aggie sports.