As a teenager, Del Arco became interested in acting and the theater. He often travelled by commuter train to New York City, where he attended plays. He eventually enrolled in acting classes there; and, after graduating from high school, he moved to New York City permanently. Shortly after, Del Arco won a role in the road company of Torch Song Trilogy. In 1990, with a role on the Miami Vice television show and a role in the independent film Lost Angeles under his belt, Del Arco moved to Los Angeles, California. Guest starring roles on the television series True Colors, Sisters, The Wonder Years, and Blossom as well as a small role in the film The Mambo Kings followed. His most notable role during this period was as the Borg drone, Hugh, on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1992, which he reprised in 1993.
Del Arco turned to waiting tables in 1995 for an income. Instead, through a friend, he found paid work on an environmental campaign being led by actor/director Rob Reiner. Over the next decade, Del Arco worked on five political campaigns. Del Arco credits the political activism with allowing him to find a new passion and expansiveness as an actor, which led to new acting roles.
Del Arco's breakout role came in 2003 when he landed a recurring guest star role on FX Networks' highly popular series Nip/Tuck, where he played a transgender woman named Sofia Lopez. Roles on other highly rated shows such as 24, The Sopranos, and Dollhouse followed. Beginning in 2007, Del Arco had a recurring role on TNT cable network's The Closer as the openly gay medical examiner, Dr. Morales. He continued in the role in the series' spin-off, Major Crimes. In 2014, he appeared in the episode "Love Sucks" of The Crazy Ones as Timothy, the previously unseen husband of Brad Garrett's character.
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