Mario Michael Lopez, Jr. (born October 10, 1973) is a Mexican-American actor who has appeared on several television series, in films, and on Broadway. He is best-known for his portrayal of the character A.C. Slater on Saved By The Bell, which he also portrayed as a regular on Saved by the Bell: The College Years. He has appeared in numerous projects since, including the third season of Dancing with the Stars and as a celebrity guest host for the syndicated entertainment news magazine show Extra. He currently hosts America's Best Dance Crew for MTV.
Lopez was born in San Diego, the son of Elvia, a telephone clerk, and Mario Michael Lopez, Sr., who worked for the municipality of National City. He was raised in a large Catholic family with a younger sister Marissa. Lopez was a high school wrestler. In 1987, his freshman year, he took 7th place at the State tournament. He graduated from Chula Vista High School in 1991.
Born in 1973 Mario Lopez's professional career began in 1984 when he appeared as younger brother Tomás in the short-lived ABC comedy series a.k.a. Pablo.That same year, he was cast as a drummer and dancer on Kids Incorporated. In March 1987, he was cast as a guest star on the popular sitcom The Golden Girls as a Cuban boy named Mario who faces deportation. In 1989, Lopez was cast as A.C.
Slater in the popular television sitcom Saved by the Bell, a role which lasted five years. Lopez's character was a masculine, athletic student, helping to garner the actor a sizeable teenage-girl fan base. After Saved by the Bell ended in 1993, Lopez went on to reprise his role as A.C. Slater in the short-lived spin-off series Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
In 1997, Lopez starred as Olympic diver Greg Louganis in the television movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story. The following year, he was cast as Bobby Cruz in the USA Network series Pacific Blue. Lopez left the series after two seasons and went on to guest star on Resurrection Blvd., Eve, and The Bad Girl's Guide. In 2002 Lopez was the star of Pet Star on The Animal Planet which aired 52 episodes before it ended in 2005.
The show is a contest between owners and their trained pets who perform tricks. The tricks are graded by three celebrity judges on a scale of one to 10. In the end, the three pets (or more in the case of ties) with the highest score come out as finalists, and the audience votes on who is the episode's Pet Star. Then, at the end of the season, the winners compete to be the year's ULTIMATE PET STAR. The winner of a regular show gets $2,500, while the winner of the finals gets $25,000.
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. Later that year, he 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 Fall 2006. He also made an appearance on The George Lopez Show as a police officer in late 2006.
Lopez and his girlfriend, Courtney, have a reality show on VH1 called Mario Lopez: Saved By the Baby which premiered on November 1, 2010.