NAA mourns the passing & celebrates the life and legacy of Danny D. Villanueva, Sr. - June 2015


D_Villanueva_pic.gifThe New America Alliance family is deeply saddened by the passing of NAA founding member Danny Villanueva, Sr. He was the first recipient of the NAA Business Achievement Award in 2002 and was recognized with the NAA H. Frank Dominguez Philanthropist of the Year Award in 2008. 

Danny's life has and will continue to inspire many. He placed intention and intensity on everything he did. From his dedication to his family to his football career, his groundbreaking entrepreneurial accomplishments and his generosity to the community, Danny showed us how to live life to the fullest. 

Daniel Dario Villanueva was born on November 5, 1937, in the small town of Tucumcari, New Mexico. He was the ninth of 12 children. Upon high school graduation, he got a football scholarship to attend the New Mexico State University, where he earned a degree in English. This led Danny to join as kicker for the L.A. Rams in 1960, at a time when it was rare for a Latino player to be on a pro team. In 1962, he led the league in punting and set a team record by kicking a 51-yard field goal. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1965 where he set the record for the most extra-point kicks made without a miss (56). He retired from football in 1967 and became news director of KMEX-LA, where he had been working as a sportscaster through his football career.

In 1968, when Danny was news director at KMEX-LA, he forced the switch from regular programming to breaking news to capture the walkout of over 10,000 students protesting inequality in the Los Angeles school system. Danny became the station's president and built it to become the flagship station of Spanish International Communications Corp, which later became Univision. He was also an early investor in Telemundo and is recognized as the first Latino to raise and invest private equity capital.

Danny is survived by his wife Myrna; sons Danny Jr. and Jim; sisters Mary Blank, Lily Hernandez, Noemi Prince and Ester Aguilar; brothers Samuel, Paul, Ben and Primo; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. We respectfully extend them our deepest condolences.

Danny's legacy lives on through every life he touched and lifted. Descansa en paz querido Danny.