Born on Sept. 9, 1969, Marie grew up in Los Angeles. A third generation Mexican-American, she was raised by her mother and grandmother, and grew up in a small, tight-knit unit 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 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 got her first break on a television series remake of the hit film drama “Dirty Dancing” (1988-89). Then 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 NBC’s “Reasonable Doubts” (1991-93) and CBS’ “The Hat Squad” (1992-93) were balanced against telefilms such as Fox’s sci-fi thriller “12:01” (1993) and NBC’s “Fast Company” (1995).
Marie began making her way into the feature film world in 1994. 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). The following year, she was the focus of an episode of “Spin City” (ABC, 1996-2002) as Chief of Staff Gaby Sanchez, while “Selena” was released in early 1997 to become a modest hit.
One of Marie’s great opportunities presented itself as the actress was offered a lead role in a sitcom. She took it. After the pilot for NBC’s “Union Square” (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 midseason. 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 CBS’ fantasy drama “Early Edition” (1996-2000). In October 2000, she started into an equal amount of guest spots on UPN’s sitcom “For Your Love” (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- ). 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” (2002-04) of PBS. The Gregory Nava-directed pilot began shooting in March 2000 for CBS, but the network became uninterested in the series and offered it to PBS. 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.” The show made its final bow in 2007 after six seasons on the air. In 2008 Announced that she was expecting her first child, a girl, in February 2009. Father is fiancé Kent Katich. [September 25, 2008].Daughter, Luna Marie, born February 5, 2009. She weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz.