Actor, writer and competition reality show host. These are just a few of the many hats Mario Lopez has worn over his career. Many of us remember him as the charming AC Slater of Bayside High in Saved by the Bell, along with its various spin-offs and TV movies.
Now, though, he’s seemingly everywhere, from radio to hosting gigs to bookshelves. He’s even taken a turn on the Great White Way as Zach in the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. We can find his 300-watt smile anywhere.
Television has always been a progressive medium, and the genre of the sitcom is among the most daring with its audiences. While Saved by the Bell tackled its fair share of issues including women’s rights, distant fathers, environmental issues and more, Lopez’ very presence on the show was progressive. AC Slater was originally written as Italian American. When efforts to cast Slater were unsuccessful, producer Peter Engel opened the role up to any race, and Lopez auditioned two days later. Slater wasn’t the only role reconceived: Lisa Turtle was originally a young Jewish girl from Long Island, New York until Lark Voorhies met Engel.
Since then, though, Lopez has appeared steadily in television and has accrued piles of appearances as himself, whether as a host of a competition or the competitor. Notably, he was the runner-up in the third season of Dancing With the Stars, partnered with professional ballroom dancer Karina Smirnoff in 2006. He’s even cropped up in the recent Grease Live as Vince Fontaine, the master of ceremonies of the National Dance-Off. Clearly, he’s got a preference for what kind of gig he works. Not that we’re complaining!
He even had his own reality show that followed himself and then-girlfriend and current wife Courtney Mazza as they prepared for their baby called Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby. It ran for only one season, but it welcomed their baby girl Gia into the world. Since then, he’s married Mazza and had another child with her named Dominic, and now the four have a YouTube channel with vlogs, challenges, and some of Lopez's red carpet appearances. Talk about industrious!
Mario Lopez is as talented as his reach across Hollywood is far. Despite his many appearances, he’s managed to keep a pretty low profile in recent years to spend time with his family, but I think we can count on him continuing to surprise us.
By the way, did you know he has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?