Saved by Jingle Bells: Mario Lopez for visiting Westfield Montgomery for the holidays

Mario Lopez is coming to Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda, Maryland for “Home for the Vacations” Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Listen to our full conversation on my “Beyond the Fame” podcast.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley shows off Mario Lopez at Westfield Montgomery (Part 1)

When you wake up in the morning and your alarm sounds a warning, it’s okay because the Tone bells. Mario Lopez is coming to Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda, Maryland for “Home for the Vacations” Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The host of “Access Hollywood” will conduct the event with a quartet of Tom Dzikonski (violin), Virginia Dzikonski (cello), Erica Schwartz of The US Army Strings (viola), and Patrick Lane of the US Army Band (second violin). You’ll also see The Little Mermen, the angry chiefs of the Washington Nationals, and the “Nutcracker” of the Maryland Youth Band.

“I’m going to be there meeting nice people in Maryland and kicking off the holiday season,” Lopez told WTOP. “We’re going to do the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a family, we’re on the first float, and then light the Rockefeller Christmas tree the next week. … I also have a new holiday movie, ‘Steppin’ Into the Holiday,’ at Lifetime.”

The Lifetime original film premieres the day after Thanksgiving, starring Lopez as former Broadway star Billie Holiday, who falls in love with a hometown dance instructor.

“I host a show like Dancing with the Stars, I get fired and my ex takes over,” Lopez said. “I come home to lick my wounds and hook up with someone, and then I end up not wanting to leave and you have to see how that goes. There’s romance, dancing and a lot of fun.”

On that day, Lifetime also airs versions of previous holiday films “Holiday in Santa Fe” (2021) at 12 noon and “Feliz NaviDAD” (2020) at 2 pm directed by Melissa Joan Hart.

“We’ve been together for a long time and way back,” Lopez said. “She’s such a great director and sweetheart and I really like her. We get along really well.”

Born in San Diego in 1973, he grew up watching both of the holiday classics.

“When I was a kid, everybody loved the ‘Rudolph’ kids and the old-school kids ‘Frosty,'” Lopez said. “Love Actually is probably one of the more recent movies, it’s a great romantic movie. And then of course ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas,’ those are always fun.” .

He soon became a child actor, including on an episode of “The Golden Girls.”

“I’m getting close to my 40th year,” Lopez said. “I got into it as a kid, I just kind of fell into it. My mom put me through a bunch of things to keep me occupied and out of trouble. Growing up in San Diego just two hours south, it was a world of difference, but somehow I still had a chance. I started in.” audition, and an agent saw me and fell in love with him.”

He became a household name as A.C. Slater in Saved By the Bell (1989), where he created the commercial move of sitting backwards in a chair like the coolest kid in school.

“I think I just screwed it up at one time,” Lopez said. “That’s the way I used to sit as a kid and they kind of incorporated it. … [The episodes are] Kind of blurry, they’re all the same to me, I just remember when we left class which was fun, I was working on the beach, and we went to Hawaii, Palm Springs, that was always my favorite. “

He developed a relationship with fellow cast members who grew up together on set, including the late Dustin “Screech” Diamond, who passed away at the age of 44 in 2021.

“It’s like if you go to school in real life, you get close to it, you spend the summer, you come back to see each other and you pick up where you left off,” Lopez said. “Dustin, I was probably always the closest to him, so obviously we lost him very soon, but I’m glad I spoke to him before he passed and I have nothing but fond memories.”

The cast recently reunited for the “Saved by the Bell” reboot on Peacock in 2020.

“It was fun,” Lopez said. “I still see them when we’re not working, so it wasn’t like I didn’t see them, but I did while doing Access Hollywood and my radio show and all that, so it was pretty busy. The whole thing was just as blurry as when I was a child! “

Recently, he has been hosting celebrity magazine style shows like “Extra” (2008-2019) and “Access Hollywood” (2019-present). He says being an actor helps him articulate his role as a host, similar to a former athlete calling sports, but hosting is his own animal.

“It’s completely different skill sets,” said Lopez. “A lot of the people cast aren’t necessarily comfortable in that situation or don’t even want to be interviewed for it, but I do. I think you’re a natural host or not. Whether you’re hosting game nights or barbecues at my house, I’m the same person who You get it when you host radio or TV shows.”

After years of the celebrity life, he’s happy to settle down as a family man.

“I have three kids,” Lopez said, “all I mean is to represent the family and focus on this brand.” “The holiday of course represents that, it’s all about the family, so it works great. It makes everyone feel good and I think we can all use that now.”

Click here for more information about the Westfield Montgomery event.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley shows off Mario Lopez at Westfield Montgomery (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation on my “Beyond the Fame” podcast.

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