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Jennifer Lopez: 1970—: Actor, Singer, Dancer

Landed Fly-girl Gig

The aspiring dancer's first steady paycheck came when she landed a spot as a "Fly Girl" dancer on the Wayans brothers' sketch-comedy show In Living Color on the Fox television network. On the show, she and the other Fly Girls danced between comedy skits and when musical guests were featured. In Living Color was filmed in Los Angeles, so Lopez was uprooted from her New York home and forced to move to the West Coast, where she was "miserable," she told Rolling Stone. David Cruz moved there to be with her, and stayed for four years. With his support, Lopez was happy and better able to work, she told Rolling Stone. Lopez's stability during that time parlayed into the earliest successes of her career. She got television acting parts in the made-for-TV movie Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7 and on the series Second Chances and Hotel Malibu, but both were flops. She danced for Janet Jackson on tour and in Jackson's video for the popular song "That's the Way Loves Goes" in 1995.

Lopez broke onto the big screen in 1995, in the drama My Family/Mi Familia and opposite Wesley Snipes in the action film Money Train. She appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's 1996 comedy Jack, and the 1997 thriller Blood and Wine. However, the actress's first big break came when she secured the lead role in Selena, based on the true story of the slain Tejano pop singer's life. Lopez accepted the public marriage proposal of then-boyfriend Ojani Noa, a model-turned-restaurateur, at the wrap party for Selena in 1996 in San Antonio, Texas. The two were married in 1997, but divorced after just a year, unable to endure the pressures of Lopez's rapid rise to stardom. In two years, wrote Degen Pener in Entertainment Weekly, Lopez "rocketed from up-and-coming actress to Holly-wood's super-diva of 1998."

After Selena, Lopez had a steady stream of work. She played a documentary film director in the horror film Anaconda, about the world's largest and deadliest snake. She took a steamy role in Oliver Stone's 1997 film noir, U Turn, as a young woman who seduces and hires a drifter, played by Sean Penn, to murder her husband, played by Nick Nolte. Lopez's two-million dollar paycheck for role opposite George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight made Lopez the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood history. Lopez played Karen Sisco, a U.S. Marshal assigned to capture two escaped convicts, played by Clooney and Ving Rhames. She is first kidnapped by the duo, then is charged with tracking them to Detroit, where they are planning their next big heist. Her romantic notions ultimately interfere with her job as she becomes attracted to Clooney's character. Lopez's turn in the psychological drama The Cell, opposite Vince Vaughn, proved she could "open" a movie after the film became a box-office blockbuster.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: C(hristopher) J(ohn) Koch Biography - C.J. Koch comments: to Sir (Alfred Charles) Bernard Lovell (1913– ) BiographyJennifer Lopez: 1970—: Actor, Singer, Dancer Biography - Grew Up In Musical Household, Landed Fly-girl Gig, Known For Curvaceous Physique, Tangled With Law, Walked Down Aisle