Elizabeth Berkley was born in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Her mother, Jere, owns a gift basket business and her father, Fred, is a lawyer. Her family is Jewish. When Elizabeth was five her parents enrolled her at Detroit Dance Company. Loving dance, young Elizabeth began to take part in several ballets, including “Swan Lake”, and, in 1983, starred in some musicals (sometimes singing in Italian). Her screen debut was a role in the TV movie Frog (1987). She then got work as an extra in some TV series, including TV 101 (1988) and Day by Day (1988). In the summer of 1989 she was in Los Angeles and auditioned for a role on Saved by the Bell (1989). She got the role and became a TV star. After four seasons she left the show to try to break into theatrical films. In 1994 she filmed four movies, including Showgirls (1995), and continued to guest-star in popular TV shows, such as Diagnosis Murder (1993). At the same time she was studying English Literature at a college in California. After “Showgirls” she signed with United Talent Agency and got some small roles in major films, including The First Wives Club (1996) and Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday (1999), and starred in some indies (Taxman (1998), Last Call (1998), The Real Blonde (1997)).
In 1999 she performed on stage in London as Honey in “Lenny”, opposite Eddie Izzard, and was directed by the legendary Sir Peter Hall. Her performances in Roger Dodger (2002) and Moving Malcolm (2003), two independent movies released in 2002 and 2003, impressed the critics. She made her Broadway debut in “Sly Fox” in February 2004, three months after her marriage to New York artist Greg Lauren. She then returned to New York City in the Off-Broadway production “Hurlyburly” directed by Scott Elliott and co-starring Ethan Hawke, Parker Posey and Wallace Shawn. She received some of the best reviews of her career for her performance as Bonnie.
She appeared for several seasons in the hit series CSI: Miami (2002) as Julia Winston, and in the final season of Showtime’s The L Word (2004). Thanks to television syndication of “Saved By the Bell”, Elizabeth is a favorite among a whole new generation of teen girls. Elizabeth has been making life-changing connections with these girls over the past seven years through Ask Elizabeth, her not-for-profit organization that includes self-esteem workshops she facilitates as a volunteer in schools and for youth organizations, a thriving website (ask-elizabeth.com) that hosts digital content as a way to be of continued service to girls and, most recently, her book “Ask Elizabeth” (published by Penguin), which made The New York Times’ best-seller list. This nationwide movement has affected the lives of over 100,000 girls and counting. She was also a featured contributor on Oprah.com, bridging the communication gap between mothers and daughters.
She and husband Greg Lauren are the proud parents of son Sky Cole Lauren.
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