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Mario Lopez Opens Up About Guest Starring on ‘The Golden Girls’: ‘I Got Deported’

Mario Lopez Opens Up About Guest Starring on ‘The Golden Girls’: ‘I Got Deported’

While Mario Lopez is best known for his role as AC Slater on Saved By the Bell, he got his start in another equally as famous series, The Golden Girls.

The actor starred in a heartbreaking Season 1 episode titled Dorthy’s Prized Student. In it, he played a promising and intelligent young man named Mario who won an essay contest. The prize ended up sending the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services to Dorthy’s door. Mario was an undocumented citizen, and the U.S. government forced him to go back to his original home in Cuba.

While talking on The View, per Decider, Lopez recalled working on The Golden Girls set. The now 50-year-old was barely a teenager at the time, and he landed the role because he’d had a professional relationship with Bea Arthur.

“I was like 13 there, something like that. That’s when I got deported. I was like the original Elián González,” he said. “They sent me back to Cuba.”

“Bea Arthur, that was actually my third time working with her,” he continued. “I had done a couple of shows … She was awesome. Even as a little kid, I recognized how funny and how awesome those ladies were. And then I thought about it, and I’m like, they’re really like the original Sex and the City.

Mario Lopez Loved Working with ‘The Golden Girl’ Stars

In a 2019 clip from Today, Mario Lopez went deeper into his experience and admitted that he loves The Golden Girls now and had when he was a kid, too. The reason behind his love was the stars. So his most memorable takeaway from his role was having the chance to work with “the ladies.”

“All the ladies were fun, and I think the scenes where I was with all of them at the same time [were the best] … they were all so nice to me. They took me to lunch. And, you know, for a little kid, that was kinda cool.”

Lopez also shared that he admired the actress’s skills. They had perfected their comedic timing, and they were helpful with giving him “tips” that have helped him become a star in his own right.

Despite the episode being 36 years old, Lopez said that fans continue to tag it on social media. He credits that to The Golden Girls’ evergreen content and superior writing.

“I think it’s just great writing. And just like any piece of great art, whether it’s a song or a movie, it just holds up,” he shared. “I think that show holds up.”