California native George Lopez is a standup comedian, actor, writer, and producer known for his candid observational humor about his life as a Mexican-American. One of the most successful comedians of his generation and one of the biggest Latino stars in U.S. television history, he has starred in four eponymous TV series: the sitcom George Lopez (2002-2007), the late-night show Lopez Tonight (2009-2011), and the sitcoms Saint George (2014) and Lopez (2016-2017). He has also appeared in numerous films, including providing voices for the animated franchises The Smurfs, Rio, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. A popular touring comedian, his Grammy-nominated comedy albums and specials include Team Leader (2003), America's Mexican (2007), and Tall, Dark & Chicano (2009).
George Lopez was born in Los Angeles in April of 1961. Raised by his grandparents in economically poor conditions in San Fernando Valley's Mission Hills, much of his standup comedy is based on his own childhood and family, as well as related social and political issues. Since honing his craft on-stage in the '80s and early '90s, his depictions -- not unlike the reenactments of his hero, Richard Pryor -- have resonated with many audiences. After spending around a decade on the U.S. comedy circuit, Lopez released his first comedy album, Alien Nation, with Uproar Entertainment in 1996. It helped build his fan base as he continued to work the clubs. By the time he released his second CD, Right Now Right Now, on Oglio Records in 2001, he'd been approached by actress Sandra Bullock about developing his own TV series based on his comedy. With Lopez as co-writer, co-executive producer, and star, George Lopez (aka The George Lopez Show) premiered on ABC in March of 2002.
In 2003, he released his third comedy CD, Team Leader. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. He followed it in 2004 with a popular Showtime concert Why You Crying?, also the title of his autobiography published the same year by the Touchstone/Fireside (Simon & Schuster). In April of 2005, Lopez underwent a kidney transplant (the donor was his then-wife, actress/producer Ann Serrano), and later raised awareness for kidney disease by addressing the topic on his show. In the meantime, he appeared in guest spots on programs such as Freddie (starring Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in comedy films including Real Women Have Curves (2002), The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (2005), and Balls of Fury (2007). He released another comedy album, El Mas Chingon, in 2006. It became his first to land on the Billboard 200, and it climbed to number three on the Comedy Albums chart. George Lopez aired its final episode in May 2007, after a six-season run.
Lopez followed up his series with back-to-back Grammy nominations for the HBO specials America's Mexican (2007) and Tall, Dark & Chicano (2008), both released by Comedy Central Records. They both reached number two on the Billboard comedy chart. He made his debut as the voice of Papi in Beverly Hills Chihuahua in 2008, as well (later appearing in the home-video sequels Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta! in 2011 and 2012). In November 2009, he began hosting his own late-night show, Lopez Tonight, which ran for two seasons on TBS. Filmed at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, his comedy special It's Not Me, It's You aired on HBO in July 2012, and he had a brief return to scripted comedy in the FX sitcom Saint George, which produced ten episodes in 2014. Meanwhile, his film roles included voice work for The Smurfs (2011), Rio (2011), The Smurfs 2 (2012), and Rio 2 (2014).
Lopez returned to cable TV in 2016 with the semi-autobiographical, single-camera sitcom Lopez, about a successful stand-up comedian trying to balance celebrity with staying true to his roots. It ran on TV Land for two seasons. Another HBO special, August 2017's The Wall, captured his post-Trump-inauguration standup at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. After a digital release a month later, it was issued on physical formats by 800 Pound Gorilla Records/Warner Music in 2018. ~ Marcy Donelson