Mario Lopez (born October 10, 1973[1]) is an American actor and television host. He has appeared on several television series, in films, and on Broadway. He is known for his portrayal of A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and the 2020 sequel series. He has appeared in numerous projects since, including the third season of Dancing with the Stars and as host for the syndicated entertainment news magazine shows Extra and Access Hollywood. He has also hosted America's Best Dance Crew for MTV. In 2012, he co-hosted the second season of the American version of The X Factor with Khloé Kardashian, and was the sole host for the third and final season.

Mario Lopez
Lopez in 2023
Born (1973-10-10) October 10, 1973 (age 50)
  • Actor
  • television host
Years active1984–present
(m. 2004; ann. 2004)
Courtney Mazza
(m. 2012)
RelativesKailee Wong (brother-in-law)

Early life, family and education

Lopez was born on October 10, 1973, in Chula Vista, California, the son of Elvira Soledad Trasviña and Mario Alberto López Pérez.[1][2][3] Lopez was raised in a Catholic family. His parents are both emigrants from Mexico. His father was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, and his mother in Tijuana, Baja California.[3][4] His younger sister, Marissa, is married to former NFL Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans linebacker Kailee Wong.

Lopez started dance education at age three, training in tap and jazz.[5] He also did tumbling, karate and wrestling at his local Boys and Girls Club when he was 7 years old.[6] He excelled at these as well as other activities in which his mother enrolled him.[7] During high school at Chula Vista High School, he was on the school's wrestling team at the weight class of 160 lb (73 kg). He placed 2nd in the San Diego Section competition and 7th in California his senior year. He graduated in 1991.


Lopez was discovered by a talent agent at a dance recital when he was 10 years old. He initially worked in local advertisements and commercials before making TV appearances.[8]


Lopez began acting in 1984 when he appeared as younger brother Tomás in the short-lived ABC comedy series a.k.a. Pablo.[9] That same year, he was cast as a drummer and dancer on Kids Incorporated; he performed on three seasons. In March 1987, he was cast as a guest star on the sitcom The Golden Girls as a Latino boy named Mario who faces deportation. He was cast in a small part in the film Colors (1988) as Felipe's friend.

Lopez was cast in 1989 as A.C. Slater in the television Saturday-morning series sitcom Saved by the Bell (1989–1993), and its spinoff Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993–1994), a role which lasted five years.[10] On February 4, 2015, Lopez reunited with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Dennis Haskins, and Tiffani Thiessen on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where they appeared in a Saved by the Bell sketch with Fallon.[14] In 2020, Lopez reprised the role of A.C. Slater in Peacock's sequel series, Saved by the Bell.[15]

In 1997, Lopez starred as Olympic diver Greg Louganis in the television film Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story. The following year, he was cast as Bobby Cruz in the USA Network series Pacific Blue for two seasons before it was canceled after the fifth season; he then went on to guest star on Resurrection Blvd., Eve, and The Bad Girl's Guide. In March 2006, Lopez joined the cast of the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful playing the role of Dr. Christian Ramirez. On July 18, 2006, he was released from his B&B contract.[16] Later that year, Mario guest-starred as a plastic surgeon who drives Christian Troy to jealousy when he sees him naked in the shower in an episode of FX Network's Nip/Tuck during the show's fourth season, which began in autumn 2006. He also made an appearance on George Lopez as a police officer in late 2006.

Also in the fall of 2006, Lopez signed on as a contestant on the third season of Dancing with the Stars on ABC with professional partner and then-girlfriend Karina Smirnoff who was making her series debut. They finished in second place, losing to the team of Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke.

Lopez and Courtney Mazza had a reality show on VH1 called Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby which premiered on November 1, 2010.[17] Lopez guest-starred as a reporter for Extra Sesame Street in the Sesame Street episode "The Veggie Monster" in 2012.

In December 2020, Lopez starred as Colonel Sanders in A Recipe for Seduction, a short film from Lifetime and KFC.[18][19] In 2024, Lopez signed a multi-year deal with Great American Media.[20][21]

Hosting duties

Lopez at the 81st Academy Awards, February 20, 2009

In 1992, he hosted his first series on NBC, called Name Your Adventure. He hosted the serial tabloid Extra, as well as the MTV reality shows America's Best Dance Crew and MTV's Top Pop Group. In the 1995–96 season, he hosted the second season of Masters of the Maze on what was then The Family Channel. Lopez is both the host (with Carmen Palumbo) and co-executive producer of Sí TV's Dating Factory. From October to December 2012, he co-hosted the Fox singing competition The X Factor along with Khloe Kardashian.[22] In September 2013, Lopez returned to the show as sole host for season 3 after Kardashian was not asked back as co-host.[23] The X Factor was cancelled on February 7, 2014.[24] From 2002 to 2005, he was the host of the Animal Planet show Pet Star, despite some difficulty with an allergy to cats.[25] Lopez hosted the Miss America pageant in 2007, 2009, and 2010.

Lopez has guest co-hosted The Wendy Williams Show,[26] and MCed the gala benefit for the 2010 Pageant of the Masters arts festival in Laguna Beach, California.[27]

Starting in 2012, Lopez began hosting his own nationally syndicated radio show, ON With Mario Lopez, for Premiere Radio. It streams online daily on iHeartRadio and airs on selected CHR and Hot AC stations (particularly on KBIG-FM/Los Angeles) throughout the U.S.

In August 2014, Lopez began hosting the Hot AC edition of the iHeartRadio Countdown.

In July 2019, it was reported that Lopez would be leaving his duties hosting Extra in order to host rival program Access Hollywood.[28] In November 2019 Lopez was the Grand Marshal of the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

In 2024, Lopez began hosting the Game Show Network series Blank Slate.[29]

Stage career

Outside of TV, Lopez made his Broadway debut on April 15, 2008, in the revival of the musical A Chorus Line as Zach.[30][31]


Lopez has published three non-fiction books. The first, Mario Lopez Knockout Fitness, was published in 2008 and written together with Jeff O'Connell (who had previously written a fitness book with LL Cool J).[32] His book Extra Lean followed in early 2010 and became a New York Times bestseller.[33] Extra Lean Family was published in May 2012.[34] He released a children's book entitled Mario and Baby Gia by Celebra Children's Books (a division of Penguin Books), on September 27, 2011. The book is about Lopez and his daughter.[35][36]


In 2022, it was announced that Lopez is involved in an effort to revive the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, as he oversaw auditions that took place, in a project named "Menudo: A New Beginning".[37] Lopez helped revive the band as their new manager, and in 2023, Menudo released their first single under Lopez, named "Mi Amore".[38]

Personal life

According to Lopez, Fergie was his first kiss and the two were involved briefly while they were both on the show Kids Incorporated.[39]

In 1993, Lopez was accused of date rape,[40] but prosecutors found no evidence to support the allegation, and multiple witnesses "contradicted the woman's account of her encounter" with Lopez.[41]

After six years of dating, Lopez married actress Ali Landry on April 24, 2004, in a Catholic ceremony at the Las Alamandas resort outside Puerto Vallarta, Mexico,[42] but their marriage was annulled two weeks later.[42] In a 2011 interview, Lopez admitted that the parting transpired after Landry discovered Lopez was unfaithful to her days before the wedding at his bachelor party.[43] Lopez dated professional dancer Karina Smirnoff, his Dancing with the Stars partner, from 2006 to June 2008.[44]

In the fall of 2008, Lopez met Broadway dancer, actress, and producer Courtney Mazza on A Chorus Line on Broadway in New York.[45] They married in Punta Mita, Mexico, on December 1, 2012.[46] They have a daughter (b. 2010)[47][48] and two sons (b. 2013 and 2019).[49][50]

Lopez has stated that he is Catholic and goes to church every week.[51] In March 2018, he underwent baptism by immersion at the Jordan River, which was administered by a Catholic priest.[52]

He is a proponent of health and fitness, and was the cover feature for the November 2013 issue of FitnessRX For Men magazine.[53] To complement his fitness regime, Lopez is an amateur boxer and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; he began training in early 2017[54] and received his blue belt in February 2018 under Professor Robert Hill of Gracie Barra Glendale.[55] He received his purple belt in November 2022.[56]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Chartbusters N/A Direct-to-video film
1988 Colors Felipe's Friend
1996 Depraved Jessie Mata
1996 Fever Lake Steve Direct-to-video film
1996 El Cóndor de oro Bodyguard 2
1997 The Journey: Absolution Ryan Murphy
1999 Eastside Antonio Lopez
2000 A Crack in the Floor Lehman
2000 Big Brother Trouble Coach
2002 Outta Time David Morales Alternative titles: The Courier, Out of Time
2002 King Rikki Juan Vallejo Alternative title: The Street King
2005 Aloha, Scooby-Doo! Manu Tuiama/Mainland Surfer Voice, direct-to-video
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Substitute Minors watcher
2010 Get Him to the Greek Himself Cameo
2011 Honey 2 Himself
2013 The Smurfs 2 Social Smurf Voice[57]
2014 The Dog Who Saved Easter Zeus the Dog Voice, direct-to-video
2015 The Dog Who Saved Summer Zeus the Dog Voice, direct-to-video
2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Himself
2019 Fantastica: A Boonie Bears Adventure Briar Voice, English version


Year Title Role Notes
1984 a.k.a. Pablo Tomas Del Gato Main role
1984–1986 Kids Incorporated Himself Dancer/Drummer (seasons 1–3)
1986 The Deacon Street Deer Hector Television film
1987 The Golden Girls Mario Episode: "Dorothy's Prized Pupil"
1989–1993 Saved by the Bell[58] A.C. Slater Main role
1992 Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style A.C. Slater Television film
1993–1994 Saved by the Bell: The College Years A.C. Slater Main role
1994 Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas A.C. Slater Television film
1994 Bill Nye the Science Guy Himself Communication cameo
1995–1996 Saved by the Bell: The New Class A.C. Slater Episodes: "Goodbye, Bayside Part 2" and "Fire at the Max Part 2"
1995–1996 Masters of the Maze Himself Host (season 2)
1997 Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story Greg Louganis Television film
1997 Killing Mr. Griffin Dave Ruggles Television film
1999 Pacific Blue Bobby Cruz Main role (seasons 4–5)
2001–2003 The Other Half Himself Host
2002–2005 Pet Star Himself Host
2004 The Soluna Project Antonio Television film
2006 The Bold and the Beautiful Christian Ramirez Contract role, 46 episodes
2006 Dancing with the Stars Himself Contestant (season 3)
2006–2010 Nip/Tuck Dr. Mike Hamoui Recurring role, 8 episodes
2007 George Lopez Police Officer Sanchez Episode: "George Can't Let Sleeping Mexicans Lie"
2007 Holiday in Handcuffs David Martin Television film
2007 Miss Universe 2007 Himself Host
2008 Husband for Hire Marco Television film
2008 MTV's Top Pop Group Himself Host
2008–2012 America's Best Dance Crew Himself Host
2008 Robot Chicken A.C Slater Voice, episode: "Boo Cocky"
2008–2019 Extra Himself Host
2009 The Dog Who Saved Christmas Zeus the Dog Voice, television film
2010 The Spin Crowd Himself Episode: "Image Is Everything"
2010–2011 Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby Himself Lead role
2010 The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation Zeus the Dog Voice, television film
2011 H8R Himself Host
2011–2012 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Himself Host
2012 Sesame Street Himself (reporter) Episode: "The Veggie Monster"
2012 Are You There, Chelsea? Himself Episode: "Dee Dee's Pillow"
2012–2013 The X Factor Himself Co-host (season 2)
2012–2013 The Chica Show Stitches Voice
2015–2016 Nashville Himself Episodes: "I've Got Reasons to Hate You" and "The Trouble with the Truth"
2015 Major Crimes Himself Episode: "Reality Check"
2015 Dinner at Tiffani's Himself Episode: "Come in For Comfort Food"
2016 Grease: Live Vince Fontaine Television film
2016 Almost Royal Himself 1 episode
2016 NCIS: New Orleans NOPD Officer Hernandez Episode: "Man On Fire"
2017 Candy Crush Himself Host[59]
2017 A Very Merry Toy Store Will DiNova Television film
2018 Elena of Avalor Cruz Voice, 7 episodes
2018 Jane the Virgin Himself Episode: "Chapter Seventy-Nine"
2018-2019 The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Himself Recurring voice role
2019 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Himself Episode: "Four Movements"
2019 The Rookie Himself Episode: "GreenLight”
2019–present Access Hollywood Himself Host
2020 The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia Nico Recurring role, 5 episodes; also co-creator and executive producer
2020 Feliz NaviDAD David Television film
2020–2021 Saved by the Bell A.C. Slater Main role
2020 A Recipe for Seduction Harland Sanders Short television film[18][19]
2020 Miss Universe 2020 Himself Host
2021 Holiday in Santa Fe Tony Ortega Television film
2022 Family Guy Himself Voice, episode: "Oscars Guy"
2024–present Blank Slate Himself Host


Year Group Award Role Result Refs
1990 Young Artist Awards Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast Saved by the Bell Nominated
1991 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Starring in an Off-Primetime Series Saved by the Bell Nominated
1992 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Starring in an Off-Primetime or Cable Series Saved by the Bell Nominated
1993 Young Artist Awards Outstanding Hosts for a Youth Magazine, News or Game Show Name Your Adventure Won
1993 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor in an Off-Primetime Series Saved by the Bell Won
1994 Young Artist Awards Best Youth Actor in a TV Mini-Series, M.O.W. or Special CBS Schoolbreak Special Nominated
1994 Young Artist Awards Outstanding Youth Host in a TV Magazine, News or Variety Show Name Your Adventure Won
1998 ALMA Awards Outstanding Individual Performance in a Made-for-Television Movie or Mini-Series in a Crossover Role Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story Nominated
1999 ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Pacific Blue Nominated
2006 Imagen Foundation Awards Best Supporting Actor The Bold and the Beautiful Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Personality Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Personality Himself Nominated
2011 ALMA Awards Favorite TV Reality, Variety, or Comedy Personality or Act Mario Lopez: Saved By the Baby Nominated
2011 Young Artist Awards Mickey Rooney Award Himself Won


  1. ^ a b "Celebrity Central: Mario Lopez". Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  2. ^ "Mario Lopez Biography". Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Finding Your Roots, February 1, 2022.
  4. ^ Quirk, Mary Beth (October 13, 2010). "Mario Lopez & His Bundle of Joy !". OK!. Retrieved October 16, 2010. "I come from a small, fat Mexican Catholic family," Mario tells OK!.
  5. ^ "Mario Lopez flashes back to his disco days with hilarious retro photo".
  6. ^ Lopez, Mario; Santagati, Steve (2014). Just Between Us. Penguin. ISBN 9780698158870.
  7. ^ "Raising Mario Lopez | Mom Tells All". YouTube. August 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Lopez, Mario; Santagati, Steve (2014). Just Between Us. Penguin. p. 47. ISBN 9780698158870. Retrieved September 30, 2018 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Allis, Tim (November 30, 1992). "Saturday's Star". People. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  10. ^ "Mario Lopez". Biography.
  11. ^ "Watch a Glorious Saved by the Bell Reunion Courtesy of Jimmy Fallon". Time. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "Jimmy Fallon assembled the cast of 'Saved by The Bell' for an epic reunion". Business Insider. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  13. ^ "Jimmy Fallon reunites most of the 'Saved by the Bell' cast". Los Angeles Times. February 5, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  14. ^ [11][12][13]
  15. ^ "The Saved By the Bell Revival Finally Has a Premiere Date". E! Online. September 29, 2020. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Kroll, Dan J. (July 2, 2006). "Lopez's B&B Stay Over". Soapcentral. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
  17. ^ "Mario Lopez Gets VH1 Reality Show".
  18. ^ a b "Mario Lopez Stirs up 'A Recipe for Seduction' as KFC's Colonel Sanders in New Lifetime Mini-Movie". December 8, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "KFC And Lifetime Heat Up The Holidays With A First-of-its-kind Lifetime Original Mini-Movie: A Recipe For Seduction". Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  20. ^ "Saved by the jingle bell: Mario Lopez joins Great American Christmas in multi-year deal". February 6, 2024.
  21. ^ "Great American Media signs multiyear deal with Mario Lopez". February 6, 2024.
  22. ^ Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez will join the payroll of "X Factor". October 2, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  23. ^ Ledger, Emma (April 23, 2013). "Khloe Kardashian gets axed by X Factor USA after just one series". Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  24. ^ Nellie Andreeva (February 8, 2014). "Fox's 'The X Factor' Cancelled After Three Seasons – Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Mario Lopez's Cat Dilemma". September 5, 2004. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  26. ^ "Mario Lopez showed off his abs and sexy underwear range 'RatedM' on The Wendy Williams Show". Unreality TV. February 6, 2012. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  27. ^ Chang, Richard. Mario Lopez hosts gala for Pageant of the Masters. Orange County Register. August 29, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  28. ^ "Mario Lopez Named New Host of Access Hollywood After Exit from Extra". People. July 17, 2019. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  29. ^ Novak, Lauren (November 13, 2023). "Mario Lopez to Host New Game Show 'Blank Slate' Coming to GSN". TV Insider. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  30. ^ "PHOTO CALL: Mario Lopez Honored with Painting at Tony's Di Napoli". Archived from the original on August 2, 2008.
  31. ^ "Mario Lopez Joins 'A Chorus Line' on April 15". Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  32. ^ "Jeff O'Connell". hachette book group. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  33. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (June 6, 2010). "Bestseller New York Times – Hardcover Advice & Misc". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  34. ^ Extra Lean Family: Get Lean and Achieve Your Family's Best Health Ever. Amazon. May 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  35. ^ "Mario Lopez To Release Children's Book In September". July 10, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  36. ^ "Mario Lopez Uses Baby Gia As Inspiration For New Book". July 10, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  37. ^ "Mario Lopez Teams up with Menudo Productions for Talent Search and Revival of Menudo". Forbes.
  38. ^ "MENUDO at Universal Citywalk Hollywood #MENUDO 2023 @menudo_official" – via
  39. ^ "Latina – Latino & Latin American News, Culture, Heritage, Food, Entertainment". Latina.
  40. ^ "Woman, 18, Accuses TV Actor of Rape". May 11, 1993. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  41. ^ "CALIFORNIA IN BRIEF: SAN DIEGO: Rape Claims Called Unfounded". Los Angeles Times. June 18, 1993.
  42. ^ a b Mark Armstrong, Ulrica Wihlborg (May 12, 2004). "Landry, Lopez Split After 2-Week Marriage". People. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  43. ^ "Mario Lopez: I Cheated on Ex Ali Landry Days Before Wedding". Us Weekly. February 11, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  44. ^ "Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff Split". People. June 5, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  45. ^ "The Story of How We Met and Fell in Love | Mario and Courtney Lopez". YouTube. April 26, 2017.
  46. ^ "Mario Lopez Weds Courtney Mazza". People. December 1, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  47. ^ "It's a Girl for Mario Lopez & Courtney Mazza". September 12, 2010. Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  48. ^ "Mario Lopez and Courtney Mazza Welcome a Baby Girl!". September 12, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  49. ^ "Mario and Courtney Lopez Welcome Son Dominic". People. September 10, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  50. ^ "Baby No. 3! Mario Lopez's Wife Courtney Mazza Gives Birth". Us Weekly. July 8, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  51. ^ "Q&A: Mario Lopez Suits Up in Women's Lingerie". Newsweek. October 14, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2010. Do you go to church? "Every week. Nice Catholic boy."
  52. ^ Parke, Caleb (March 27, 2018). "'Hallelujah': Mario Lopez gets baptized in the same river as Jesus". Fox News. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  53. ^ "Get Leaner, Stronger and Faster!". Fitness Rx. October 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  54. ^ "Mario Lopez Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu". Jiu-Jitsu Times. February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  55. ^ "Actor And Host Mario Lopez Is Now A Blue Belt In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu". Jiu-Jitsu Times. February 17, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  56. ^ "Mario Lopez Promoted to Purple Belt". Grappling Insider. November 14, 2022. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  57. ^ "Pic! Introducing Mario as Social Smurf". April 22, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  58. ^ "Mario Lopez Can Teach You Something about Enjoying Family, Food and a Few Other 'Fs'". Swagger Magazine. October 30, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  59. ^ Goldberg, Leslie (March 23, 2017). "Mario Lopez to Host CBS' 'Candy Crush'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 23, 2017.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Dancing with the Stars (U.S.) runner up
Season 3 (Fall 2006 with Karina Smirnoff)
Succeeded by
Media offices
Preceded by Host of Masters of the Maze
Succeeded by
series cancelled
Preceded by Hosts of Miss Universe with Vanessa Minnillo
Succeeded by
Preceded by Hosts of Miss Universe with Olivia Culpo
Succeeded by
Steve Harvey
Preceded by Host of Miss America
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of Miss America
Succeeded by