Jennifer Lopez

Active - 1986 - Present  |   Born - Jul 24, 1969 in Bronx, New York, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Romance, Music

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Biography by Denise Sullivan

Jennifer Lopez's first serious screen role in Gregory Nava's 1995 Latino melodrama My Family followed years of training in television movies and series. Like Rosie Perez, Lopez began her career as a Fly Girl -- a dancer on the sketch comedy series, In Living Color -- and appeared in music videos by Puff Daddy and Janet Jackson. Her big break came in 1997 when she appeared in the title role of Nava's Selena, the story of the successful Tejano singer who was tragically murdered in 1995.

Lopez was at first cast as a femme fatale and worked almost exclusively with acclaimed directors: Francis Ford Coppola (Jack, 1996), Oliver Stone (U-Turn, 1997), and Bob Rafelson (Blood and Wine, 1996). In 1998, she had one of her most acclaimed roles, starring opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel. Cast as a deputy federal marshal who falls for a charming criminal (Clooney), Lopez won raves for her tough, sexy performance, and in the process, she became the highest paid Latina actress in Hollywood history. That same year, she earned an introduction to a new generation of fans by lending her voice to the popular Antz (1998). The lavish but much more adult-oriented thriller The Cell (2000) followed shortly thereafter, bringing Lopez one of her first number-one openings.

Lopez[/rovilink] lightened things up a bit opposite Matthew McConaughey in 2001's romantic comedy The Wedding Planner. Though Lopez was consistently smooth in her frequent transitions from actress to songstress, her next role in the supernatural romance Angel Eyes (2001) failed to click with audiences and critics alike, and her role in the cathartic revenge thriller Enough (2002) likewise disappeared from theaters shortly after its release. Though Maid in Manhattan (2002) was ultimately relegated to a similar fate as her last few films, few could anticipate the outright hostility with which her 2003 comedy Gigli would be greeted. In the movie, Lopez was cast as a female gangster assigned to keep an eye on a kidnapper (played by then-real-life-boyfriend Ben Affleck) who is holding a psychologically challenged young boy hostage. The harsh public backlash against the film was likely due (at least in part) to over-saturated media coverage of the duo's tumultuous off-screen relationship. Though the film's failure wasn't exactly what one would call a career-ender for either star, their shoddy onscreen dynamic reportedly led director Kevin Smith to excise most of Lopez' role in the Affleck-starrer Jersey Girl.

Finally, in 2005, it appeared the actress' string of bad box-office luck had possibly reached its end. Teaming up with Jane Fonda for the latter thespian's first feature in over a decade, Lopez scored a modest hit with the comedy Monster-In-Law. The Lasse Hallstrom-helmed drama An Unfinished Life followed later the same year with Lopez opposite heavy-hitters Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman.

Lopez married singer Marc Anthony in 2006, and gave birth to twins in 2007. She subsequently worked less over the next few years, opting to spend time with her family. Lopez would get back into acting with the 2010 romantic comedy The Back-up Plan. She continued to slip effortlessly between film, music and television, including taking a job as a judge on American Idol, setting up a residency in Las Vegas and starring and producing in her own show on NBC, Shades of Blue. The 2015 erotic thriller The Boy Next Door was greeted with scorn, but her committed performance as the ringleader of a crew of strippers-turned-scam artists in 2019's Hustlers earned significant praise, and her lack of an Oscar nomination was considered an egregious snub. She performed alongside Shakira at halftime of Super Bowl LIV in 2020, which included nods to her Puerto Rican background and a guest appearance from her daughter, Emme Muñiz.

Movie Highlights

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  • First gained attention as a "fly girl" on the Fox hit In Living Color.
  • Is the daughter of a computer specialist and a kindergarten teacher.
  • Launched a clothing line called JLO by Jennifer Lopez in 2001.
  • Also has her own production company, Nuyorican Productions, founded with former manager Benny Medina.
  • Became the first actress and singer to have a movie, The Wedding Planner, and an album, J.Lo, make it to No. 1 in the same week.
  • Earned $15 million for her role in 2005's Monster-in-Law, making her the highest paid Latina actress in Hollywood at the time.
  • Landed on the Forbes list of the Richest 20 Women in Entertainment in 2007. 
  • Founded the Lopez Family Foundation with her sister Lynda in 2009.
  • Launched her first solo world tour, Dance Again, in 2012.
  • Performed, with Pitbull and Claudia Leitte, the official song for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, "We Are One (Ole Ola)."