Known to legions of Gen-Xers as A.C. Slater, Mario Lopez became famous when he was cast as the macho heartthrob on the Saturday-morning sitcom Saved by the Bell in 1989. Lopez's career started years before, however, as he began auditioning for roles while he was still a teenager, commuting between Hollywood and his hometown of San Diego. At just 13, Lopez appeared in 1986's The Last Fling, and in 1988 he appeared in the Civil War drama Colors.
The fame that Saved by the Bell brought the young actor proved to be tremendous, and he stayed with the show until its run ended in 1993, going on to star in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and even appear in a few episodes of Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Buoyed by his supportive fan base, Lopez then went on to pursue a wide variety of projects, playing Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis in the TV movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, and a criminal-turned-hero in the independent film Eastside. In 2003, he began co-hosting a talk show with Danny Bonaduce and Dick Clark called The Other Half, which was very much like a men's answer to The View. Lopez enjoyed hosting duties, saying that he loved talking about women, sports, and cars.
In 2006, Lopez had an opportunity to pursue a longtime interest in dancing, when he joined the cast of the ABC competitive reality show Dancing with the Stars. He and partner Karina Smirnoff were very successful, coming in second place, and audiences were shocked that the lithe actor had never received any formal ballroom dance training. 2006 was also the year that Lopez made a memorable run as doctors both on the hit TV series Nip/Tuck and on the daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful. He also parlayed his reborn popularity from Dancing with the Stars to serve as a celebrity guest host for the news magazine show Extra and to host multiple beauty pageants, such as Miss America. ~ Cammila Albertson, Rovi