Oscar Acosta Biography

Oscar Acosta was an American attorney, novelist, politician and activist. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: April 8, 1935

Nationality: American

Famous: Lawyers Novelists

Died At Age: 38

Sun Sign: Aries

Also Known As: Oscar “Zeta” Acosta

Born in: El Paso, Texas, United States

Famous as: Attorney, Author


Spouse/Ex-: Betty Daves, Socorro Aguiniga (ex-wives)

father: Manuel Acosta

mother: Juanita Acosta

siblings: Roberto (older brother)

children: Marco Acosta

Died on: 1974

City: El Paso, Texas

U.S. State: Texas

More Facts

education: Modesto Junior College, San Francisco State University, San Francisco Law School

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Oscar Acosta was an American attorney, novelist, politician, and activist in the Chicano Movement. He was best recognized as the author of the novels ‘Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo’ and ‘The Revolt of the Cockroach People.’ Both these highly acclaimed novels were his main contributions to the Chicano literary renaissance. Acosta was also famous for his friendship with author Hunter S. Thompson. The latter characterized Acosta in his novel titled ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ as a heavyweight Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo. The American attorney cum novelist disappeared during his travels in Mexico in 1974 and is presumed dead. Till date, many projects related to Acosta’s life have been made. The flick titled ‘Where the Buffalo Roam’ depicts his life as well as his relationship with Hunter S. Thompson. Similarly, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ is a film adaptation of S. Thompson’s novel and depicts Acosta and Thompson’s 1971 Las Vegas trip.

  • In 1967, Oscar Acosta joined the East Oakland Legal Aid Society as an antipoverty attorney. A year later, he moved to East Los Angeles and participated in the Chicano Movement as an activist attorney and represented Chicano 13 of the East L.A. walkouts, members of the Brown Berets, Rodolfo Gonzales and other residents of East L.A. barrio.
  • Then in 1972, he published his first novel titled ‘Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo’. This novel told the story of an alienated lawyer of Mexican descent, who serves in a California-based antipoverty society, without any sense of purpose or identity. Soon after this, Acosta released his next novel titled ‘The Revolt of the Cockroach People’. This novel is a fictionalized representation of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium and an account of the Mexican-American journalist Ruben Salazar’s death.
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  • In May 1974, Acosta vanished while traveling in Mazatlán, Mexico. Before his disappearance, he had called his son to tell him that he was about to get onto “a boat full of white snow.”
  • Thompson believed that Acosta either became the victim of political assassination or was killed by drug dealers. Other people speculated that the American novelist might have suffered a nervous breakdown during the trip.
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Personal Life
  • Oscar “Zeta” Acosta was born on April 8, 1935, in El Paso, Texas, United States, to Juanita and Manuel Acosta. He had an elder brother, Roberto. After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force. Later on, he attended Modesto Junior College and San Francisco State University. After this, he took night classes at the San Francisco Law School.
  • Acosta married twice in his lifetime. He was with his first wife Betty Daves from 1956-1963. His marriage to his second wife Socorro Aguiniga lasted from 1969-1971. The American attorney cum author had a son, Marco Acosta.

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Oscar Acosta

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