When Wilmer Valderrama was cast as Fez on "That '70s Show," he was just a teenager -- but unlike a lot of young stars, he certainly didn't have any Hollywood bigshots pulling strings for him. The Venezuela native only landed that incredible opportunity due to the immense personal sacrifices his parents made as immigrants to the United States.
Now, nearly two decades since the show first premiered, Wilmer chatted with AOL Entertainment about the impact his dad's tough choices had on his own life.
Describe some of the sacrifices your dad made as you were growing up to create a better life for you.
Wilmer Valderrama: My parents sold everything they had in Venezuela just to bring us to the United States and have the education that they never had.
Your dad's own upbringing was so different than your lifestyle. What was it like introducing him to Hollywood?
It was a cultural shock for all of us as we all came to this country with the same perspective. All we knew was that we were here to work. Once I had my big break it was fish out of water for all of us for like eight years, but those the eight years taught us everything about ourselves.
Do you remember your dad's reaction when you got cast in "That '70s Show" as a teen?
My dad had a tough decision whether he would use his gas money to do some work or to drive me to my audition. My father decided to drive me to my audition. I remember being at the audition looking at a contract that said how much we could possibly make. I thought how much that money could help us and change our lives, so I said, "Dad could you imagine if I get this job?" And without hesitation -- in his accent -- he said "U getit a bery gud u don getit aaa bery gud." It made me fearless kind of letting me know that if I got the job it will be very good, but if I didn't that it will also be fine. That is something that I carry with me and that wisdom I has stayed with me throughout all my experiences. My dad is so proud of me. I will never forget the day and his advice has changed my life.
Wilmer Valderamma enjoys a taste of Johnnie Walker Blue label!
Wilmer Valderamma enjoys a taste of Johnnie Walker Blue label!
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the Wilmer Valderrama and Old Spice Right Hair Wrongs at Sharps Barber and Shop on July 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Ben Thigpen and actor Wilmer Valderrama (R) attend Old Spice Right Hair Wrongs at Sharps Barber and Shop at Le Parker Meridian Hotel on July 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: (L-R) Actor Wilmer Valderrama, singers Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/BBMA2016/FilmMagic)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - MAY 11: Actor Wilmer Valderrama reacts during the exhibition game at the Unite States and Denmark wheelchair Rugby Finals at the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 at the ESPN Wide Wordl of Sports Complex on May 11, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Unite States defead Denmark. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Invictus Games)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 23: Wilmer Valderrama arrives at David Grutman's wedding on April 23, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/GC Images)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'At Last' - Owen and Amelia take their relationship to the next level; Alex gains some clarity on his future with Jo; and Callie and Arizona continue to struggle with the current custody arrangement, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, MAY 12 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images)
ALMA MARTINEZ, WILMER VALDERRAMA, ERICA MUNOZ
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 13: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the Photo Femmes Exhibition Opening at De Re Gallery, featuring the work of Ashley Noelle, Bojana Novakovic and Monroe, at De Re Gallery on April 13, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for De Re Gallery)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 12: Actor Wilmer Valderrama arrives at A24/DIRECTV's 'The Adderall Diaires' Premiere at ArcLight Hollywood on April 12, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'Mama Tried' - Callie and Arizona are at odds over Sofia's future, and Stephanie questions the status of her relationship with Kyle. Meanwhile, Alex and April work on a pregnant teen that is readmitted to Grey Sloan Memorial, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, MAY 5 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
CAMILLA LUDDINGTON, CATERINA SCORSONE, WILMER VALDERRAMA, JERRIKA HINTON
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends Voto Latino presents an Intimate Conversation with Wilmer Valderrama on the 2016 election on March 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lilly Lawrence/Getty Images)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'Trigger Happy' - The doctors work frantically to save a young boy who was accidentally shot. Meanwhile, Arizona is upset when Callie tries to make an important decision about Sophia's future without consulting her, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 21 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the I Have A Dream Foundation 3rd annual Dreamer Dinner at The Skirball Cultural Center on March 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actor Wilmer Valderrama (L) and singer Demi Lovato arrive at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Wilmer Valderrama onstage during the 19th Annual National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards Gala at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 26, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images for National Hispanic Media Coalition)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Wilmer Valderrama arrives at the 3rd Annual unite4:humanity at Montage Hotel on February 25, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Singer Demi Lovato (L) and actor Wilmer Valderrama attend The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the gifting suite during the 2016 MusiCares Person Of The Year honoring Lionel Richie at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles City. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/WireImage)
GREY'S ANATOMY - 'I Wear the Face' - Meredith goes on an ambulance ride with Owen and Nathan to pick up a heart for a transplant patient. Musician & MS patient Kyle Diaz is admitted to Grey Sloan Memorial with a tremor in his hand, and the residents apply for the Preminger Grant. Meanwhile, Catherine continues to insert herself into Jackson and April's business against Richard's wishes, on 'Grey's Anatomy,' THURSDAY, APRIL 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC via via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the after party for 'JENNIFER LOPEZ: ALL I HAVE' and the grand opening of Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace on January 21, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19: Wilmer Valderrama attends 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball 2015 Presented by Capital One at Amalie Arena on December 19, 2015 in Tampa Bay, Fla. (Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 08: Wilmer Valderrama attends the 25th Annual Simply Shakespeare Benefit held at The Broad Stage on December 8, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the GQ 20th Anniversary Men Of The Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for GQ Magazine)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actors Diego Boneta (L) and Wilmer Valderrama attend the GQ 20th Anniversary Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GQ)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Musician Nick Jonas (L) and actor Wilmer Valderrama attend the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/AMA2015/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Actor Wilmer Valderrama attends the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 26: Demi Lovato and boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama are seen out in Tribeca on October 26, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 31: Wilmer Valderrama attends the Just Jared Halloween party at No Vacancy on October 31, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: Actor Wilmer Valderrama poses in the press room for the 'Minority Report' panel during Comic Con Day 4 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on October 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Actor Wilmer Valderrama visits at SiriusXM Studios on September 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Wilmer Valderrama visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on September 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Actor Wilmer Valderrama poses in the press room at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 2 on September 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 18: Actors Wilmer Valderrama (L) and Taylor Lautner backstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 24: Francisca Lachapel and Wilmer Valderrama visit the set of 'Despierta America' at Univision Studios on August 24, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
BUENA PARK, CA - AUGUST 22: Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama celebrate Demi's 23rd birthday at Knott's Berry Farm on August 22, 2015 in Buena Park, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
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What are you giving your dad for Father's Day?
I think it's going to be like this Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle that I engraved my father's best advice to me the night before my final audition for "That '70s Show": "If you get it, very good. If you don't get it, very good." It is going to be so memorable for us and I'm excited to give it to him because I want him to know that I never forgot what he said to me. That I carry his words with me through everything I do in life. I truly enjoy what I do because whether something works out or it doesn't—it will always be a win.
How are you planning to make this Father's Day special?
Unfortunately, I am going to be in Europe during Father's Day -- but I have a matching Johnnie Walker bottle with me, so I plan to FaceTime him and toast him from across the pond! My father drank Johnnie Walker every time we had something to celebrate when I was growing up, so it will be beautiful and full circle to toast to him on Father's Day.