Mario Lopez serves as grand marshal at Miami Beach Gay Pride parade

Actor-TV personality Mario Lopez gave his LGBT fans something extra: He led Sunday’s big parade up Ocean Drive in support of Miami Beach Gay Pride, attending with his wife Courtney Mazza. Riding through the streets in a convertible Jaguar, the former Saved by the Bell star waved and gave a few thumbs-up signals to the colorful crowd.

“I’m supportive of events like these and supportive for a lot of the issues that gay pride stands for,” said Lopez, longtime host of TV’s Extra. “A couple of cousins of mine, who I’m very close to, happen to be gay. Just to rally with them and the family. I’m very close with them and like to support when I can.”

The dimpled Lopez has long had a huge gay fan base, and not just for the obvious reasons. Early in Lopez’s acting career, he starred in the TV bio Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story.

Back in 1997, many Hollywood types told Lopez it wasn’t a smart career move playing the gay, HIV-positive Olympic diver. “There were some people who said those exact words,” Lopez recalls. “I talked it over with my family and they were very supportive. I was a fan of Greg’s. He was a San Diego boy, just like me. I was compelled by his story. It was an important story. He’s one of the greatest athletes ever. He was coming off a very successful book and I thought it was a very important role. I was honored to do it.”

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