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Jackie Chan

George Lopez Biography

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Birth Name: George Lopez
Born: 04/23/1961
Birth Place: Mission Hills, California, USA

Since so much of Lopez's comedy was based around childhood experiences, it was surprising for some fans to learn that his own formative years were anything but memorable. Born on April 23, 1961 in Mission Hills, CA, George's father left his family when he was two. By age 10, he was living full time with his maternal grandmother and her second husband - Lopez's mother having left him to begin a new life with another spouse. Tragically, one of his mother's last acts was to inform him that his father, whom he had been told was dead, was, in fact, alive. These events would provide the dark streak that would inform much of Lopez's later humor. Lopez discovered his life's calling in the mid-1970s, courtesy of the NBC comedy series "Chico and the Man" (1974-78), starring Freddie Prinze. The late Latino comedian's talent and charm inspired Lopez to try his hand at stand-up, which he first accomplished on the day he graduated from high school in 1979. The experience was both enthralling and terrifying, and Lopez would not step on stage for another four years. He supported himself through a variety of jobs until the mid-'80s, when he decided to fully commit himself to his comedy. His second attempt proved more successful, as Lopez soon found regular work doing stand-up for amused audiences.

He also made inroads into acting, starting in 1990 with a supporting role in the slapstick comedy "Ski School." It was at the premiere of this film that Lopez met his wife, Ann Serrano; the pair was married in 1993. During this period, Lopez also met actress Constance Marie, and the pair began formulating an idea for a television series that they envisioned as a Latino version of "The Honeymooners" (CBS, 1955-56). In 2000, a new opportunity presented itself in the form of a hosting gig for a morning radio show on Clear Channel's station 92.3 in Los Angeles. With this job, Lopez became the first Latino to headline such a key slot - and on an English-language station, no less. The comic also found time to appear in Ken Loach's drama "Bread and Roses," about a pair of Latina siblings who attempt to start a union among office cleaners, and in Patricia Cardoso's acclaimed film, "Real Women Have Curves" (2002).

Around this time, Lopez was approached by actress Sandra Bullock, who was a fan of his stand-up, and listened as she proposed a network television series based on his comedy and family experiences. Despite his agents' misgivings, Lopez forged ahead with the idea that he and Constance Marie had conceived, and in 2002, "George Lopez" aired on ABC, with Marie cast, fittingly, as his wife. The first episode was inspired by George's real-life discovery that his long-absent father was still alive. The show received positive responses from both critics and viewers, and soon found itself a popular TV favorite. Lopez parlayed his TV success into a number of other opportunities. He was a presenter at the "30th Annual American Music Awards" (2003) and a co-host at the "46th Annual Grammy Awards," among others. He also provided commentary on HBO's "Inside the NFL" for the 2003-04 season.

Lopez returned to his roots with the 2004 comedy album Team Leader (2004), for which he earned a Grammy nomination. He toured extensively to promote the CD and broke house records at numerous theaters, most notably, the Universal Amphitheater, where he sold out seven consecutive nights and performed for an estimated 42,000 people. A film of his performances, entitled "Why You Crying?" aired on Showtime in 2004. That same year saw the publication of his autobiography, also titled Why You Crying? which broke The New York Times Top 20 bestsellers list. Lopez also branched out again as an actor, landing significant roles in several features and TV movies. He appeared in a Disney holiday TV production titled "Naughty or Nice" in 2004, and provided the sole charm as four characters in Robert Rodriguez's static kiddie feature, "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lavagirl in 3-D" (2005).

In 2004, Lopez was told by doctors that he needed a kidney transplant due to a genetic disease that had deteriorated his organs. But a donation from his wife Ann in 2005 led to a full recovery and vastly improved health, including the loss of 45 pounds. Meanwhile, he co-starred with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo in the domestic comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours" (2005), which he followed with a turn as an FBI agent in the slapstick comedy "Balls of Fury" (2007). After six seasons on network television, "George Lopez" ended its run in 2007 and found unexpected success in syndication, becoming the highest rated series on Nickelodeon's "Nick at Nite." But Lopez did not take the network cancelation lightly, allegedly accusing Steve McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment, for being motivated by racial reasons for axing the show. He later criticized ABC in The Los Angeles Times for making television "really, really white again" while lamenting being replaced by "Cavemen" (ABC, 2007).

Following a supporting role in the independent comedy "Tortilla Heaven" (2007), Lopez had another successful HBO special, "George Lopez: America's Mexican" (2007). Back on the big screen, he voiced Papi in the relatively pleasing "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" (2008) and played a priest in the wry black comedy "Henry Poole is Here" (2008), starring Luke Wilson. A supporting role as a local TV-station manager dealing with warring political rivals in his small town in "Swing Vote" (2008) was followed by a starring role as a workaholic widower desperate to reconnect with his daughter (Daniela Bobadilla) in the made-for-cable movie, "Mr. Troop Mom" (Nickelodeon, 2009). After a recurring role as the mayor of Reno on "Reno 911!" (Comedy Central, 2003-09) and the new stand-up comedy special, "George Lopez: Tall, Dark & Chicano" (HBO, 2009), he began serving as host and executive producer on his own talk show, "Lopez Tonight" (TBS, 2009-2011), which included sketches and audience participation into the standard monologue-guest format. When it was announced his show was being bumped from 11 p.m. to midnight after less than one year to make room for the newly ousted "Tonight Show" host, Conan O'Brien's new talk show, Lopez could not have been happier, welcoming the red-headed comic to the TBS fold and promising "a new era in late night TV." Meanwhile, he continued making movies, co-starring opposite Jackie Chan in "The Spy Next Door" (2010) and as a part of Gary Marshall's ensemble romantic comedy, "Valentine's Day" (2010). After only two seasons, however, Lopez was informed by TBS executives that his show was cancelled in August 2011, citing low ratings.

Lopez continued working steadily in animation, providing voices for the animated films "The Smurfs" (2011) and "Rio" (2011) and the sequels "The Smurfs 2" (2013) and "Rio 2" (2014). A stand-up special, "George Lopez: It's Not Me, It's You" (2012) reaffirmed his comedic strengths. Lopez returned to series television with a sitcom, "Saint George" (FX 2014) in early 2014, co-starring Danny Trejo and Jenn Lyon.