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Constance Marie

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Also Known As: Constance Marie Lopez Died:
Born: September 9, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: actress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Hailing from the world of dance, Constance Marie emerged from the global concert stage - which included a stint on David Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider Tour - and forged a successful acting career. Though she struggled for a few years to find her footing, Marie landed her first break on the television remake of the hit film, "Dirty Dancing" (CBS, 1988-89) and had a recurring role as Nikki Alvarez on the daytime soap "Santa Barbara" (NBC, 1984-1993). From there, she developed a creatively fruitful collaboration with director Gregory Nava, who cast her in "My Family, Mi Familia" (1995) and "Selena" (1997), both of which helped raised Marie's profile considerably. She went on to a number of television guest spots, before returning to films with roles in "Dancing in September" (2000) and "Tortilla Soup" (2001). But it was her main role on "The George Lopez Show" (2002-07) as the titular star's pampered and chiding wife that exposed her to a much wider audience who were only just becoming aware of her talent. After spending seven years on the show, Marie was a popular small screen star who found further success on other series and in features, showing that she had come quite a long way since her dancing...

Hailing from the world of dance, Constance Marie emerged from the global concert stage - which included a stint on David Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider Tour - and forged a successful acting career. Though she struggled for a few years to find her footing, Marie landed her first break on the television remake of the hit film, "Dirty Dancing" (CBS, 1988-89) and had a recurring role as Nikki Alvarez on the daytime soap "Santa Barbara" (NBC, 1984-1993). From there, she developed a creatively fruitful collaboration with director Gregory Nava, who cast her in "My Family, Mi Familia" (1995) and "Selena" (1997), both of which helped raised Marie's profile considerably. She went on to a number of television guest spots, before returning to films with roles in "Dancing in September" (2000) and "Tortilla Soup" (2001). But it was her main role on "The George Lopez Show" (2002-07) as the titular star's pampered and chiding wife that exposed her to a much wider audience who were only just becoming aware of her talent. After spending seven years on the show, Marie was a popular small screen star who found further success on other series and in features, showing that she had come quite a long way since her dancing days.

Born on Sept. 9, 1965 in Los Angeles, Marie was a third generation Mexican-American raised by her mother and grandmother in a small, tight-knit family that shuttled from apartment to apartment. Marie was a high-energy performer with a love of dance, something she carried well into her teens. At age 19, she was tapped to dance in the musical "Cosmopolis" by famed composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, which he staged in his native Japan. Her dancing career took another huge step when, after arriving back in Los Angeles several years later, she happened to be in a club where a dance choreographer for pop icon David Bowie spotted her moves, enlisting her for his 1987 Glass Spider Tour. Marie's dance background came in handy when she decided to segue into acting - a less fatigue-inducing endeavor, but no less emotionally tolling. She had previously put her dance skills on display in "Body Rock" (1984), "Back to the Beach" (1987) and "Salsa" (1988), a cinematic ode to the fiery Latin dance. Late in the year, Marie scored her first break on a television series remake of the hit film drama "Dirty Dancing" (1988-89).

In 1989, Marie debuted in a recurring role as Nikki Alvarez on the long-running soap "Santa Barbara" (NBC, 1984-1993). As more work came steadily, she began to invest her time in a mix of different projects. Guest spots on hour-long television series dramas such as "Reasonable Doubts" (NBC, 1991-93) and "The Hat Squad" (CBS, 1992-93) were balanced against telefilms such the sci-fi thriller "12:01" (Fox, 1993) and "Fast Company" (NBC, 1995). In 1994, Marie began making her way into the feature film world and began a fruitful creative collaboration with writer-director Gregory Nava was born when she was cast in his lovingly-crafted drama, "My Family, Mi Familia" (1995), the story of Mexican immigrants looking for the American dream. The movie received critical acclaim and made a minor stir at the box office. A year later, she was back to work on another Nava project, "Selena" (1997), a high-profile biopic of the slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla (Jennifer Lopez), and followed up with an episode of "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002) as Chief of Staff Gaby Sanchez.

One of Marie's great opportunities presented itself as the actress was offered a lead role on a sitcom. She took it. After the pilot for "Union Square" (NBC, 1997-98) was taped, producers had decided to replace lead actress Mel Gorham, bringing in Marie for the role of Broadway-bound Texas actress Gabriella "Gaby" Diaz. The ensemble comedy about young dreamers living in New York City premiered in the fall for the 1997-98 season, but was cancelled mid-season. In 1998, however, her role on the series netted her a nomination at the annual ALMA Awards. Following "Union Square," Marie continued to remain a fixture on various series, alternating between television and movies. She began recurring in the role of police detective Toni Brigatti on the fantasy drama "Early Edition" (CBS, 1996-2000). In October 2000, she started into an equal amount of guest spots on the sitcom "For Your Love" (UPN, 1998-2002) for the 2000-01 season. Along the way, Marie shot a feature film in 1999 about racial politics in television, "Dancing in September" (2000), then followed up with a Mexican-themed remake of "Eat Drink Man Woman" (1994) called "Tortilla Soup" (2001).

By the start of 2002, Marie was cast as the wife of comedian George Lopez on ABC's "The George Lopez Show" (2002-07). As Angie Lopez, a housewife and mother of two kids, Marie settled into the weekly comforts of family programming. At the same time, Marie was playing the more complicated role of Nina Gonzalez, a contentious, liberal-minded attorney on "American Family" (PBS, 2002-04). The Gregory Nava-directed pilot began shooting in March 2000 for CBS, but the network became uninterested in the series and offered it to public television. Tackling the subjects of immigration and identity, the series ran for two strong seasons before bowing out. But by then, Marie was comfortable on the ratings winner "George Lopez," Though the show made its final bow in 2007 after six seasons on the air. From there, she had guest spots on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ), "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family, 2008-2013) and "According to Jim" (ABC, 2001-09), before turning to a dramatic regular series role on the family-oriented "Switched at Birth" (ABC Family, 2011- ) and voicing Imelda in the animated "Puss in Boots" (2011).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Puss in Boots (2011)
2.
 Class (2010)
3.
 Puff, Puff, Pass (2006)
4.
 Tortilla Soup (2001) Yolanda
5.
 Dancing in September (2000) Teresa Lopez
6.
7.
 Selena (1997) Marcela Quintanilla
8.
 Fast Company (1995) Liz Shelby
9.
 My Family: Mi Familia (1995) Toni Sanchez
10.
 12:01 (1993) Joan Zebo
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Starred dancing while in her teens
:
Traveled to Japan to perform in the musical by famed composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, "Cosmopolis"
:
Spotted in a club by a dance choreographer for David Bowie
1987:
Performed as a dancer on David Bowie's Glass Spider Tour
1988:
Cast as a dancer in her first film appearance, "Salsa"
1988:
First acting role was playing Penny Rivera on the CBS series "Dirty Dancing"
1989:
Cast as Nikki Alvarez on the NBC soap opera "Santa Barbara"
1995:
Feature film debut, the Gregory Nava directed "My Family"
1997:
Played the late Tejano singer's mother in the biographical film "Selena"
1997:
Cast in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Union Square"
2001:
Appeared in the film "Tortilla Soup"
2002:
Cast as Nina Gonzales in the critically acclaimed PBS miniseries "American Family"
2002:
Co-starred as the title character's wife Angie Lopez on the ABC sitcom "George Lopez"
2011:
Co-starred on the ABC Family drama series "Switched at Birth"
2011:
Voiced the animated character Imelda in the "Shrek" spin-off "Puss in Boots"
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