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George Lopez does Honolulu

By José Villa, Senior Editor
Hawaii Hispanic News
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The heading says it all. I could end the story right there and that’s all I would have to say. Multitalented entertainer George Lopez, whose career encompasses television, film, stand-up comedy — and now — late-night television, is coming to Honolulu.

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He is one of the top five highest-grossing comedians in the world. His groundbreaking sitcom George Lopez remains a hit in syndication and helped catapult Nick at Night to one of the top ten cable networks.

His 2009 comedy special George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano was the highest rated

stand-up special on HBO in five years. But, in truth, there are many sides to this complicated Latino personality.

He is a Mexican-American comedian, actor and talk show host that is well-known in both the Hispanic and mainstream communities. Lopez gained a lot of broad-based popularity from starring in his self-produced ABC sitcom George Lopez. In the show, he played a worker, husband, father and son that many families could relate with.

(Editor’s Note: At press time, the George Lopez ” I Can Never Do Nuthin” Live-Vivo! on March 19, 2011, 8pm, in the Blaisdell Concert Hall was sold out!)

His stand-up comedy often times examines race and ethnic relations, especially the Mexican-American culture. Currently, he hosts the late night talk show Lopez Tonight on TBS. But what is, perhaps, less well-known is the amount of time Lopez devotes to the

community. He has his own charity: The Ann & George Lopez Foundation.

He received the Manny Mota Foundation Community Spirit Award; and was named Honorary Mayor of Los Angeles for his extensive fund-raising efforts benefiting earthquake victims in El Salvador and Guatemala.

In February 2004, he was honored with the Artist of the Year and Humanitarian Award by Harvard University. It was presented by its president and dean for his artistic work and

charitable endeavors.

Lopez was born in the San Fernando Valley’s Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. His mother and father left him at birth, so he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Benita Gutierrez, a factory worker, and step-grandfather, Refugio Gutierrez, a construction worker.

In 1993, Lopez married Ann Lopez, née Serrano. The couple had a daughter — Mayan Lopez. Most recently, he pledged $20,000 to the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund

(MALDEF) from the proceeds of his January 29 concert in Phoenix, Arizona. The generous pledge from The Lopez Foundation will allow MALDEF to continue to realize the organization’s mission of serving as the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights

organization.

Lopez said: “As a comedian, I get paid to find the humor in all sorts of situations. And I love my job – I really do – because I am able to bring laughter to the lives of millions of

Lopez Tonight viewers each night. But there is nothing funny about targeting individuals because of their background, ethnicity or race. That’s not the answer to the problems facing our nation.”

He continued: “If not stopped, the current assaults on Latinos will negatively impact the

possibilities for bright Latino children and youth hoping to better their circumstances through hard work and quality education. I am happy to support Tom Saenz (Editor’s Note: MALDEF President/General Counsel) and MALDEF because of all the amazing work they are doing to help Latino families overcome the challenges facing them.”

Saenz said: “MALDEF thanks George Lopez for his generous support and for his recognition of the constitutional crisis facing all of Arizona, with a particular impact on the Latino community, as a result of the reckless legislation, such as SB 1070, enacted by elected state leaders. This support will assist MALDEF to continue to defend the Constitution in federal court.”

Linda Small, Executive Director of The Lopez Foundation, said: “We are proud to partner with MALDEF to help provide resources and support to Latino families across the nation. The Lopez Foundation was created to help bring about positive, permanent change for underprivileged children and adults confronting challenges in education and health. Our partnership with MALDEF will help ensure that, together, we can achieve our mission and enrich the lives of communities across the nation.”

And his community involvement goes back several years. Lopez was a featured celebrity golfer in the 2004 Bob Hope Classic and the 2004 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He and his pro partner finished third in the Pebble Beach event.

George was the top-ranking celebrity at completion of the golf tournament. Since 2006, Lopez has served as the host of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He is a member at Lakeside Country Club in Burbank, California and is believed to have a 13 handicap.

Lopez has received several honors for his work and contributions to the Latino community. In September 2004, he was honored with the “Spirit of Liberty Award” presented by People for the American Way. In August 2005, Time magazine recognized George as one of “The 25 Most Influential Hispanics In America”.

In 1999, Lopez hosted a major morning radio show for Clear Channel Communications in L.A. He was the first Latino to have headlined the keystone morning radio slot on an English-language station in L.A. — the nation’s top radio market.

In 2000, after several years of performing stand-up comedy, Lopez was approached by actress Sandra Bullock for Lopez to produce and star in a comedy. Bullock was concerned about the lack of Hispanic-oriented sitcoms on American television and pushed to get a sitcom on television that starred Hispanics without being exclusively about the Hispanic-American community.

Long criticized by Hispanic American groups for lack of Latinos on their television shows, ABC quickly picked up the television series. In 2002, Lopez became one of the few Latinos to star in a television comedy series, following in the footsteps of Freddie Prinze, Desi Arnaz and John Leguizamo. His show, an American situation comedy, originally

aired on ABC from 2002-2007. Lopez was the co-creator, writer, producer, and star of the show.

On March 28, 2009, it was announced that Lopez would be getting his own late night talk show on TBS. He wrote an autobiography entitled Why You Crying, which was released on the Touchstone/Fireside division of Simon & Shuster and entered in the New York Times Bestsellers top twenty.

The book is co-written by Emmy Award winning writer and sportscaster Armen Keteyian..

Lopez has earned praise for his performance in the HBO Films drama, Real Women Have Curves, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the 2002 Audience Award.

Previously, Lopez was featured in the drama Bread and Roses. That film critical acclaim after its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Lopez also starred in the Robert Rodriguez-directed film The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl, which opened in June 2005.

In January 2009, Lopez appeared in the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. He is a two-time host of the Latin Grammy Awards and a co-host of the Emmy Awards. In 2010, he appeared in The Spy Next Door, with Jackie Chan, and starred as a villain named Glaze. He also hosted a Season 9 elimination on American Idol, after donating the most money on Idol Gives Back and he “judged the judges”.

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