Elizabeth Berkley is an American actress who has a net worth of $6 million dollars. Berkley is best known for her performances as Jessie Spano on NBC’s “Saved by the Bell” (1989–1993) and Nomi Malone in the film “Showgirls” (1995). She has more than 60 acting credits to her name, including “The First Wives Club” (1996), “Any Given Sunday” (1999), and “Roger Dodger” (2002,), and she reprised the role of Jessie Spano on Peacock’s “Saved by the Bell” reboot, which is set to begin streaming in 2020.
In 2006, Elizabeth founded the online self-help program Ask-Elizabeth, and in 2011, she published the book “Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything You Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body… and Life in General.” In 2013, Berkley competed on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” coming in sixth place.
Elizabeth Berkley was born on July 28, 1972, in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She grew up with mother Jere (the owner of a gift basket business), father Fred (a lawyer), and older brother Jason. Her family practiced Conservative Judaism, so Elizabeth celebrated her 12th birthday with a bat mitzvah.
She has a condition called heterochromia, and the iris of her left eye is both green and brown while her right iris is completely green. Berkley attended the Cranbrook Kingswood School and Farmington High School, graduating in 1990. During her youth, she loved dancing and trained with professional choreographers in New York; she also performed in ballets and musicals.
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At the age of 10, Elizabeth auditioned for the title role in the “Annie,” but she was not cast in the movie because the filmmakers thought she was too tall. As a teenager, she began modeling for Elite, and she landed her first acting roles in 1986, guest-starring on NBC’s “Gimme a Break!” and “Silver Spoons.”
In 1987, she co-starred with Shelley Duvall and Elliott Gould in the TV movie “Frog,” and the following year, she guest-starred on NBC’s “Day by Day” and appeared in the short film “Platinum Blonde.” In 1989, Berkley was cast in the role that would catapult her to fame: brainy feminist Jessie Spano on “Saved by the Bell.”
Elizabeth originally auditioned for the part of Kelly Kapowski, but after the part went to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, producers gave Berkley a different role because they thought she was the strongest actress that had auditioned for the series. Elizabeth also appeared in the made-for-TV movies “Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style” (1992) and “Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas” (1994), and her character is well-known for her brief addiction to caffeine pills; a 2018 People.com article said the scene where Jessie sings “I’m So Excited” before sobbing “I’m so…scared!” has “reached cult status” since the episode’s 1990 airing.
During her time on “Saved by the Bell,” Berkley guest-starred on several TV shows, such as “The Hogan Family” (1990), “Life Goes On” (1990), “Step by Step” (1992), and “Baywatch” (1992). In 1994, she appeared in the television film “Bandit Goes Country,” a “Smokey and the Bandit” spin-off, as well as the shows “Diagnosis: Murder” and “Burke’s Law.” Her next big role was a controversial one: exotic dancer Nomi Malone in Paul Verhoeven’s “Showgirls.”
The NC-17 film only grossed $37.8 million at the box office and resulted in Elizabeth being dropped by agent Mike Menchel; though many agents wouldn’t take her calls after “Showgirls” was released, she eventually found new representation at United Talent Agency. In 1996, she voiced the title role in ” Armitage III: Poly Matrix” and co-starred with Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton in the “The First Wives Club,” which grossed $181 million worldwide. Berkley then appeared in “The Real Blonde” (1997) and “Random Encounter” (1998) and ended the 1990s with Oliver Stone’s hit football drama “Any Given Sunday.”
In 2001, Berkley appeared in Woody Allen’s “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion” and began a 3-episode stint on the Fox sitcom “Titus.” She then appeared in “Roger Dodger” (2002) and guest-starred on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2003) before co-starring with Richard Dreyfuss in her Broadway debut, a 2004 production of “Sly Fox.”
In 2005, she appeared in an Off-Broadway production of “Hurlyburly” and earned critical acclaim for her performance. In 2008, Elizabeth landed a recurring role on “CSI: Miami,” playing the ex-girlfriend of David Caruso’s Horatio Caine in nine episodes, and hosted the Bravo competition series “Step It Up and Dance.” She then appeared in “Donnie Darko” sequel “S. Darko” (2009), Showtime’s “The L Word” (2009), and Fox’s “New Girl” (2016). In February 2015, Berkley reunited with “Saved by the Bell” co-stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, Mario Lopez, and Dennis Haskins on an episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
Elizabeth married artist Greg Lauren on November 1, 2003. The ceremony took place at the Esperanza Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, and her dress was designed by Ralph Lauren, who is Greg’s uncle. Though Elizabeth still goes by her maiden name professionally, her legal name is Elizabeth Berkley Lauren. Elizabeth and Greg welcomed son Sky on July 20, 2012.
Berkley is passionate about animal rights, and she appeared in a 1997 ad for PETA’s “Lettuce Be Lean” campaign wearing a $600 gown made of collard greens. She was also one of the celebrities included in PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian of the Year” poll in 2008 and 2009.
In 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio and his friends repeatedly harassed Elizabeth, leading her boyfriend, actor and musician Roger Wilson, to confront the men. DiCaprio reportedly ordered his friends to assault Wilson, and Roger sued Leonardo for $45 million, claiming that the attack had damaged his larynx. A judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2004.
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Awards and Honors:
In 1996, Elizabeth shared a National Board of Review award for Best Acting by an Ensemble with her “The First Wives Club” castmates. She was also nominated for three Young Artist Awards for “Saved by the Bell”: Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast (1990), Best Young Actress Starring in an Off-Primetime or Cable Series (1992), and Best Young Actress in an Off-Primetime Series (1993).
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