Ever since he was cast in FOX’s ‘RENT: Live’ — airing on January 27 — Mario has made a ton of fans swoon over his sultry looks and witty charm! And, you may have recognized him from these movies and shows, as well as these hit songs! Here’s 5 facts about Mario!
Mario, 32, will make his return to the small screen in FOX’s RENT: Live on January 27, alongside a star-studded cast including, Vanessa Hudgens, Tinashe and more talented stars. And, if you don’t recognize the singer, let us jog your memory with a few details from his past. Before RENT: Live, you may have previously jammed to some of his hit singles, or watched him on television. Here’s five facts about Mario!
1. Mario is a singer, songwriter, actor, record producer and model from Baltimore, Maryland. — He was born and raised in Baltimore and now lives in Los Angeles. He is known for his hit singles “Just a Friend” (2002) and “Let Me Love You” (2004), which won him two Billboard Music Awards. Mario has released five studio albums — Mario (2002), Turning Point (2004), Go (2007), and D.N.A. (2009), and Dancing Shadows (2018). He’s appeared in numerous television shows, including, Dancing With The Stars (2008), Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (2003), and a reoccurring role on Empire. His film credits include: Step Up (2006) and Freedom Writers (2007). He was discovered at age 11 after he performed in a talent show. Mario later landed a record deal at age 14. Mario was raised by his grandmother, who cared for him while his mother struggled with a drug addiction.
2. There was an MTV documentary about his mother’s battle with drug abuse. — The network aired a special on October 21, 2007, I Won’t Love You to Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom, which centered around his mother’s (Shawntia Hardaway) heroin addiction. The documentary showed how Mario tried to get help to end his mother’s drug addiction. Shawntia Hardaway died in 2017, and Mario mourned his mother in an emotional post on Instagram.
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3. He has his own rule about online flirting. — If talking to someone online has not resulted in him dating this person in real life within one week, it’s not going to happen. “I’ve dated girls that dropped in my DMs . . . absolutely; it’s 2019,” he told Page Six in January 2019. “But if we don’t get out of the DMs within the first week, we’ll keep it at ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye,’ just a friendship. I’ll probably just fade away because I’ve had many of those.”
4. RENT: Live is Mario’s first major dive into musical theatre. — He plays the villain, Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III, who is Mark and Roger’s old roommate. Benny ended up marrying into a wealthy family, and is now his old friends’ landlord, who demands the year’s worth of back rent they owe.
5. He has dogs and stays active! — Mario has two pitbull dogs, who he documents on Instagram. He also enjoys working out and surfing.