School Jock Slater
"I like to consider myself an actor who just happens to be Hispanic." Mario Lopez.
Latino-American actor Mario Lopez is widely recognized while portraying confident high school “jock” A.C. Slater (1989-1993) on the popular NBC teen sitcom "Saved By The Bell." He also had a regular role on USA Network’s cop drama "Pacific Blue,” as Bobby Cruz (1998-2000), and a recurring role on CBS daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful,” as Dr. Christian Ramirez (2006).
Lopez has also proven himself as a talented presenter and has already hosted such series as "Name Your Adventure" (1993), "The Other Half" (2001), "Pet Star" (2003) and "ESPN Hollywood" (2005). Starting on September 12, 2006, he joined ABC's weekly dance competition "Dancing With the Stars," in which he is partnered with professional dancer Karina Smirnoff. He eventually lost in the final round against Super Bowl champ Emmitt Smith.
On the big screen, Lopez could be seen in Colors (1988), Depraved (1996), Eastside (1999) and Outta Time (2002). He is recently announced to star in writer-director Art Sims' upcoming soccer drama, The Goal.
More personally, the 5' 11" tall handsome curly-haired actor was married to actress and model Ali Landry for less than one month in 2004.
"I love talking about women because they are a constant study and you're always learning."
Wrestler and Dancer
Childhood and Family:
"Usually I'll go to San Diego to hang out with my parents if I want to unwind." Mario Lopez.
In San Diego, California, Mario Lopez Jr. was born on October 10, 1973, to Mexican parents Mario Sr. and Elvira. He has a brother, Emilio Lopez (born in January 1975), and a younger sister, Marissa Lopez (born in July 1976; married to Houston Texans linebacker, Kailee Wong).
"I grew up in a household without a lot of problems and they have been very supportive from day one." Mario Lopez.
Mario graduated from Chula Vista High School, Chula Vista, California, in 1991. While studying there, he was an amateur wrestler and was on the high school wrestling team. He also loves dancing and always wanted to dance at “Radio City Music Hall” in New York. Additionally, Mario plays drums as a hobby but has done so professionally.
In summer 2003, Mario proposed to his long-time girlfriend, actress and model Ali Landry (born July 21, 1973), the 1996 Miss USA. They tied the knot on April 24, 2004, but just two weeks later, on May 12, 2004, the marriage was annulled amid rumors of infidelity on Mario’s part.
Saved by the Bell
"I'm proud of my background, so I hope there will be more roles where Hispanics are being portrayed." Mario Lopez.
At the tender age of 3, of Mexican descent Mario Lopez began studying dancing. And by the age of 10, while joining a talent competition, he was discovered by an agent who persuaded him to give an acting career a try. Soon, the 11-year-old got his first role as the drummer and dancer on the syndicated children’s show “Kids Incorporated,” in which he stayed from 1984 to 1986. During that time, he was cast on ABC’s short-lived sitcom starring Paul Rodriguez, "a.k.a. Pablo," and appeared in an episode of CBS detective series starring Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker, "Simon & Simon." He was also seen in the 1986 TV movie The Deacon Street Deer.
Following “Kids Incorporated,” Lopez landed a memorable guest role as Mario Sanchez, Dorothy's (played by Beatrice Arthur) illegal-immigrant student who risks deportation because of his prize-winning essay on what it means to be an American, in a March 1987 episode of NBC's original popular sitcom "The Golden Girls.” The next year, he made his feature debut in Dennis Hopper's detective drama about a police unit trying to control the gangs in East L.A., Colors, starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall.
The young actor enjoyed his first taste of fame in 1989, when he nabbed a role on NBC's popular teen sitcom "Saved by the Bell," playing new transfer student and confident jock A.C. Slater, friend and chief rival of charming and manipulative schemer Zack (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar). He stayed in the show for four seasons (1989-1993) and then reprised his role in its spin-off, "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" (1993-1994). During that time, he also starred in the specials: "Saved By the Bell – Hawaiian Style" (1992), "Saved By the Bell Graduation Special" (1993) and "Saved By the Bell – Wedding in Las Vegas" (1994) as well as the short-lived 1993-1994 primetime series "Saved By the Bell: The College Years" (all NBC). Meanwhile, Lopez’s muscular, athletic character has helped him to garner a sizeable teenage-girl fan base as he graced the pages of many a teenage pinup magazine. He also maintains a close friendship with fellow cast mate Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
By this time, Lopez also showed his hosting skills. He served as host of NBC's Saturday morning show "Name Your Adventure" (1992-1993) and later on The Family Channel’s action-packed game show "Masters of the Maze" (1995). He also continued acting and was cast alongside Scott Bairstow and Amy Jo Johnson in the dark, high school revenge NBC TV-movie Killing Mr. Griffin (1997), based on Lois Duncan's novel for young adults with the same name. That same year, he delivered a more impressive performance as the uniquely celebrated Olympic diver in the USA Network’s biopic, Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, based on the athlete's autobiography.
After the biopic, USA Network hired Lopez again to play a regular role on their one-hour cop drama "Pacific Blue,” as Bobby Cruz (1998-2000), a member of squad of crime-fighting bike patrol officers. Meanwhile, he did a two-episode stint on USA Network's teen sitcom "USA High" in 1998. He also went back to feature work with starring roles, as a Federation agent goes undercover at a secret government military base in the direct-to-video sci-fi thriller Absolution and as a stock market savvy ex-con looking for a second chance in Lorena David's crime drama Eastside (both in 1999). In 2001, he served as co-host of the NBC show "The Other Half."
In 2002, Lopez reteamed with film director Lorena David in his crime action movie Outta Time, playing the lead role of a handsome and talented college student who lost his scholarship and forced to transport packages for a shady medical laboratory in order to pay his way through the university. From 2002 to 2005 Lopez worked as host of "Pet Star" on Animal Planet and served as co-anchor of ESPN 2’s half-hour nightly sport and entertainment news program, "ESPN Hollywood," in 2005.
From March to July 2006, Lopez joined the cast of CBS daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful,” playing the role of Dr. Christian Ramirez. Afterward, he guest starred in a September 2006 episode of FX Networks' drama series "Nip/Tuck," as a plastic surgeon who gives Dr. Troy (played by Julian McMahon) liposuction. Starting on September 12, 2006, Lopez joined ten other celebrities for the third season of ABC's weekly dance competition "Dancing With the Stars," in which he is partnered with professional dancer Karina Smirnoff. The show lasted 10 weeks with Lopez eventually losing in the final round against former pro football player Emmitt Smith.
Lopez is set to star in writer-director Art Sims' upcoming soccer drama, The Goal, as a young man from the slums of Rio de Janiero turns his country's premiere soccer player.
"Right now, I'd like to just continue on a series where I am doing good work with a balance of comedy and drama. That and do occasional features and movies." Mario Lopez.
- Young Artist Awards: Outstanding Youth Host in a TV Magazine, News or Variety Show, "Name Your Adventure," 1994
- Young Artist Awards: Best Young Actor in a Off-Primetime Series, "Saved by the Bell," 1993