|Valente Rodriguez plays George's Lopez's best friend, Ernie on The George LopezShow. Born in Edcouch, Texas, the last of eight children in a family of migrant farm workers, he worried his parents because he spent all of his spare time reading and studying. Later he would become the first person in his family to graduate from high school and go to college.
Valente took a summer class in theater at a local university, Pan American (now part of the University of Texas), then remained to pursue a growing interest in drama and to stay close to home and family. Over four years there, he starred in more than 30 mainstage plays and garnered three Irene Ryan awards (a national award for college theater). The training and guidance by one of his professors, Dr. Marian Monta, set him on his path to Los Angeles and the entertainment industry.
Valente moved to Los Angeles in 1988 and auditioned for Jose Luis Valenzuela's Latino Theater Lab at the Los Angeles Theater Center, becoming part of its workshop. During five years at LATC he appeared in The Inspector General, Stone Wedding, Ten November, The Crucible, Day of Hope and the lab's annual Noche de Risa y Susto. He also toured the Soviet Union with the Mark Taper Forum's Improvisational Theater Project (ITP) and played one of two leads in the U.S. premiere of Robinson Crusoe with ITP.
In L.A. Valente also landed an agent and a leading role in the film Salsa. Other film credits include Impulse, Bound By Honor, Twenty Bucks, ED, Volcano and Roosters. Television credits include a regular role on Culture Clash, as well as Mad About You, Golden Girls, Growing Pains, Falcon Crest and Beverly Hills 90210. For the professional stage he co-wrote, co-produced and acted in Riffs of Shakespeare, a bilingual piece for L.A.'s public schools based on the works of Shakespeare. He has also co-written, with the Latino Lab workshop, The Prophecy and Big Dreams, Little Balls, and appeared in the world premieres of The Old Matador at Arizona Theatre Company and Caderas at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.