Mario Lopez, the host of Extra and a former star of Saved by the Bell, is a trending topic on Twitter after he apologized for comments criticizing the parents of transgender children. In an interview with Trump supporter Candace Owens, Lopez had said, "...if you're 3-years-old and you're saying you're feeling a certain way or you think you're a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it's dangerous as a parent to make this determination." Whatever your feelings about the controversy, you may be unaware that the actor once portrayed one of the world's most famous gay athletes.
Back in March 1997, Lopez starred in Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, a TV movie based on Louganis's 1996 memoir. The treacly production is not recalled much these days -- and unsurprisingly shied away from any depictions of same-sex affection -- but it's still impressive that Lopez would take a role as an HIV-positive gay man back in the "don't ask, don't tell" days.
Louganis, with Lopez's image on a TV, appeared on a February 1997 cover of The Advocate. The story focused on cable networks airing movies with gay content, as opposed to major networks remaining resistant to such fare; Breaking the Surface appeared on the USA Network. Louganis is quoted in Charles Isherwood's article, but Lopez is not. It's not a glaring omission since the piece is more about television trends rather than one production. Showtime's The Twilight of the Golds (co-starring Jennifer Beals and Faye Dunaway) and HBO's In the Gloaming (with Glenn Close and Robert Sean Leonard) are also included in the article, as is Oscar-winning gay producer Neil Meron, who with his now-deceased partner Craig Zadan, produced the NBC movie Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story.
See the cover below.