George Lopez’s hardscrabble upbringing by his grandparents in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley inspired him to create a successful stand-up act, a bestselling autobiography and a family sitcom that ran five seasons on ABC.
An actor, writer and comedian who calls himself the "Great Brown Hope," Lopez wrote the top-seller "Why You Crying?" and was the first Latino to host an English-language morning radio show in Los Angeles (on 92.3 FM). His feature film credits include "The Spy Next Door," "Real Women Have Curves," "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl" and voice talent in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
He's perhaps best known for "The George Lopez Show," which aired 2002 to 2007 on ABC. The sitcom, about a Mexican, working-class extended family, had modest ratings during its run but has been a syndicated hit in the years since. The show came about largely because actress/producer Sandra Bullock saw Lopez doing stand-up and tirelessly shopped a show based on his life experiences.
"I think audiences have responded because I'm just a regular guy, with all the nicks and cuts of anyone else who has had to struggle to get by," Lopez told The Times in 2003.
Still, he never felt like the sitcom got the respect it deserved from the industry or mainstream viewers.
In 2009, Lopez began his late-night talk show "Lopez Tonight" on cable channel TBS. In 2010, he agreed to bump his program later in the evening to make room for the NBC-booted Conan O'Brien.
After suffering symptoms like chronic fatigue that went ignored for years, Lopez learned in 1998 that he had a congenital kidney disease and needed a transplant. His wife, Ann Serrano, was a match and donated one of her kidneys to him in 2005. Lopez, always ready with a quip, told The Times shortly after the operation: "This is a Chicano's worst nightmare. Something that makes you owe your wife — forever!”