Television, film and stage actress Elizabeth Berkley
was born July 28, 1972 in Farmington Hills, Michigan. During her younger days, she honed her dancing skills by practicing daily in a small dance studio. The studio was constructed by her parents and it was located at the basement of their home. At age five, she enrolled at Detroit Dance Company. She became a model when she reached 13 and worked for Elite agency. Berkley attended North Farmington High School and took up English literature at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Berkley was part of many ballet productions including Swan Lake. In 1987, she made her big screen debut by playing Kathy in the comedy film Frog. In 1989, she entered the limelight when she became part of Saved By the Bell
after passing the show's audition. She originally auditioned for the role of Kelly but the producers of the show had a hard time choosing between her and Tiffani Thiessen
. The producers then decided to create a new character and got Berkley to act as Jessica “Jessie” Spano. She left the show after four seasons in her pursuit to get into films.
Her first starring role was in the 1995 flop movie Showgirls. She eventually signed a contract with United Talent Agency and played small roles in the movies First Wives Club and Any Given Sunday.
After the failure of Showgirls, she regained her status and credibility as an actress after receiving praises for her roles in independent films like The Real Blonde, Roger Dodger, Moving Malcolm and The Curse of Jade Scorpion, a comedy crime written and directed by Woody Allen. Her role as Honey Bruce in the stage version of Lenny also gained her much recognition. And as if those were not enough, Berkley showcased her acting prowess again as Bonnie in the off-Broadway version of Hurlyburly, where she starred opposite Ethan Hawke.
Some of her notable TV guest appearances were on Baywatch, Diagnosis Murder, CSI
, NYPD Blue, Without a Trace
, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
and The Twilight Zone. She also led the cast of Student Seduction, a made-for-TV movie which focused about a high school teacher who was accused of sexual harassment by a student who was obsessed with her.
Elizabeth Berkley currently hosts Bravo's reality TV talent search Step it Up and Dance.
(Photo courtesy of Bravo)