*Iraq war veteran-turned-actor J.R. Martinez, the current holder of the “Dancing With the Stars” mirrorball trophy, will co-host the pre-show of “CNN’s Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” on Dec. 11, and will also participate in the news network’s “CNN Heroes: Where Are They Now?” special running this Thursday which features guests such as George Lopez and Rainn Wilson discussing the CNN Heroes who have inspired them.
Anderson Cooper hosts “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” which, in the words of CNN, salutes “remarkable everyday people changing the world.”
Martinez and partner Karina Smirnoff won ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday night. Martinez praised Smirnoff after their win, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “She’s an amazing dancer, and she’s obviously very beautiful. But I’m here to say she is one hundred million times as beautiful on the inside. She’s really is an amazing person.
“I’m just so grateful that I was able to be part of the journey to help get her first mirrorball trophy. She deserves it. She should be in the elite category of people who’ve won on this show.”
Martinez, a little-known personality when his Dancing With the Stars season kicked off, started his working career in the Army, enlisting in September 2002 and gaining skills as an 11-B Infantryman. He was deployed to Iraq and two months later, a Humvee he was driving hit a landmine, trapping him inside the vehicle. While the other three soldiers in the vehicle walked away with minor injuries, Martinez suffered severe burns that resulted in 32 surgeries over 34 months.
He played Brot Monroe on “All My Children” for three years.