Mario Lopez is the host of the daily TV show Extra and MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. He first appeared on the national (and international) radar in 1989 playing A.C. Slater on the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell, which aired until 1993. He also appeared on the third season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, where he made it to the final round. Outside of TV, Lopez has starred in Broadway's A Chorus Line; landed on the New York Times bestseller list with his healthy-eating guide, Extra Lean, and its follow-up, Extra Lean Family; and appeared in several movies.
Mario Lopez was born on October 10, 1973, in San Diego and began acting around age ten on the TV variety show Kids Incorporated. A few years later, in 1989, Lopez became an overnight teen idol playing jock A.C. Slater on the Saturday-morning series Saved by the Bell—he also appeared in both Saved by the Bell spinoffs (The New Class and The College Years) and TV movies (Hawaiian Style and Wedding in Las Vegas).
As the shine wore off the Saved by the Bell franchise, however, Lopez found himself in a bit of an actor's no-man-land, and the 1990s found him in various forgettable TV and straight-to-video movies and small television series roles. Most notable from this period was his 1997 portrayal of Olympic swimmer Greg Louganis in TV's Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, based on the book co-written by Louganis. Lopez received an American Latino Media Arts Award nomination for the part and some critical attention.
Around the turn of the millennium, Lopez embarked on a comeback via reinvention, as he began serving as TV host on such shows as Pet Star and The Other Half (the male version of The View). He also began hosting pageants, and on the set of the 1998 Miss Teen USA pageant, he met his future wife, beauty queen Ali Landry, and they wed in 2004 (the marriage was annulled a few weeks later). Lopez's career experienced a real jolt in 2006 when he appeared on the third season of the reality competition show Dancing with the Stars, on which he was the runner-up. A few months later, Lopez joined entertainment show Extra as a correspondent and weekend cohost, but he was soon promoted and hosted weekday episodes on his own. His newfound prime-time exposure made him a hot commodity, and he was named People magazine's "Hottest Bachelor" in 2008.
With his comeback complete and Mario Lopez once again a household name, he has moved away from TV occasionally. He made his Broadway debut in A Chorus Line in 2008 and released his first book that year as well, Mario Lopez's Knockout Fitness. The following year, Lopez published Mud Tacos, a children's story, and a cookbook, Extra Lean, followed in 2010 (its sequel, Extra Lean Family, appeared in 2011).
In September 2010, Lopez and girlfriend Courtney Laine Mazza announced the birth of their daughter, Gia Francesca Lopez, and Lopez published yet another book in 2011, Mario and Baby Gia, inspired by his daughter.
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