Gift of Life From a Comedian's Wife

Lopez hit rock bottom. His career was floundering, and he was living apart from his wife and new baby. He began to realize that he had to change and begged his wife to take him back.

She accepted, but told him: "That's it. You've had your mid-life crisis, you've had your 50s crisis, you've had your 60s crisis, your 70s crisis … you can't have any more crisis."

But even then, another crisis was brewing. Lopez's kidneys were failing, but he kept on performing.

His star rose again. Actress Sandra Bullock spotted him in a comedy club, and helped him create a sitcom based on his life -- that would eventually become "The George Lopez Show" on ABC.

Life Follows Art

Lopez's life was an open book, except for one thing: his kidney disease. "In Hollywood, man, if you're not well, they label you damaged goods," he said.

But he couldn't stop thinking about it, and even created an episode where his character's father, who had run out on him, had the condition. In the episode, Lopez's character volunteered to donate a kidney to him -- but his fictional father died before it could be done.

Life followed art. Lopez's doctors told him he would need a new kidney soon. But there was a five-year waiting list. His wife quickly volunteered.

"There was no question," Ann Lopez told "Primetime." "When you are put in that position where you could possibly lose someone you love, it's a very easy decision."

Calling Mr. Ace

On April 19, Lopez checked into the hospital under the assumed name of Tom Ace, accompanied by his wife. The surgery was a success -- even yielding a joke to the comedian.

"Coming out of surgery, they're screaming at me, because you're under so much anesthesia," he said.

"They're yelling, 'Ace, Mr. Ace. Tom, Tom, breathe, open your eyes, Tom' and I'm kind of coming out, I'm like -- who the hell? Would that dude respond to them?

"And I think -- and then I go, 'Oh, that's me. That's me.'"

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