Early life[ edit ] Berkley was born and raised in Farmington Hills , a community located among Detroit 's northern suburbs in the affluent Oakland County, Michigan. She is the daughter of Jere, a gift basket business owner, and Fred Berkley, a lawyer. She was raised in the Conservative tradition of Judaism, and at age 12 became Bat Mitzvahed. She also has a mole on her forehead which she covers with camouflage makeup, citing it was a bother to her growing up, after name calling.
From a young age she danced, and she practiced in a room that her parents arranged for her in the basement of their house. She auditioned for the lead role in the film Annie , but was turned down. As her love for dancing increased, she became more interested in pursuing it professionally, traveling to New York to train with other dancers and choreographers.
In , at the age of fifteen, she auditioned for the role of Kelly Kapowski in Saved by the Bell, but the producers of the show could not decide whether to cast her or Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. In the end, they created for Berkley the character Jessie Spano , a role she played from to , as well as in both of the show's television film installments. After leaving Saved by the Bell to try to break into film, Berkley auditioned for and won the role of Nomi Malone, a character in the controversial Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls.
The sex - and nudity -laden film was given a controversial NC rating in the United States the first big budget film that was deliberately intended to receive this rating , was a box office bomb ,    and was widely panned by critics.
Berkley was dropped by her agent; due to the negative fallout from the film other agents refused to take her telephone calls. It is also one of top 20 highest-grossing films of all time for MGM. Berkley appeared on stage opposite Eddie Izzard for her role as Honey in the London stage version of Lenny in She went on to make her Broadway debut in the comedy Sly Fox , opposite Richard Dreyfuss in February , three months after her marriage to artist Greg Lauren.
Berkley received much praise for her role in Hurlyburly, with Charles Isherwood of The New York Times even going as far as apologizing to her for his past criticisms of her ability, stating that the fact she held "her own among this skilled company of scene-stealers is a testament to how much her talent has grown".
She had a recurring role in the successful and critically acclaimed sitcom Titus , in which she played the title character's sister, Shannon. She also starred in the Lifetime television film Student Seduction , in which she played Christie Dawson, a high school teacher wrongfully accused of sexual harassment by one of her students who becomes obsessed with her. In , Berkley signed on to star in a multi-episode arc of CSI: Miami , in which she plays Horatio Caine 's David Caruso ex-lover, Julia Winston, who is also the mother of his recently discovered son.
She was quoted as saying that she gets "invested in the dancers" because she has befriended many of them offstage. While on The View, she spoke of her admiration for co-host Whoopi Goldberg , calling her "an extraordinary being". Her appearance on the show was unique in that she brought the ladies of the show tap shoes and taught them a short dance routine.
In , Berkley starred in a multi-episode arc of the Showtime series The L Word , during its sixth and final season. Berkley and Beals are best friends in real life, having previously worked on the independent film Roger Dodger. Miami, appearing in three more episodes, including the season seven finale. In the sequel to the cult hit Donnie Darko , S. Darko , she played Trudy, a former drug addict turned born again Christian who becomes infatuated with her pastor.
She also appeared as Tracy in the comedy Women in Trouble. During Berkley's guest appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in June , her Saved by the Bell co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar — as Zack Morris  — expressed his desire to take part in Jimmy Fallon 's "class reunion" of the show's original cast members and revealed that Berkley has also agreed to take part in the reunion. The spoof interview closed with a performance of "Friends Forever" originally by Zack Attack, where Zack played guitar and sang with backing from Fallon's house band, the Roots.
Tiffani Thiessen posted a parody video to the online website Funny or Die , where she said she was just too busy to join in a reunion. The film premiered on Hallmark Film Channel on November 12, She partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy. Ultimately however, the public vote eliminated her team based upon popularity metrics used by the show.
Ask-Elizabeth[ edit ] In , Berkley set up a self-help program online for teen girls called Ask-Elizabeth. She regularly meets with young girls to discuss different issues and topics and to help them with any problems that they are going through and speaks of her own troubles in the past. Ask-Elizabeth was also the working title of a reality series focusing on the program's success and its continued efforts to help girls throughout the country.
In , Berkley published Ask-Elizabeth, a self-help book for teenage girls which drew from the workshops she conducted for the Ask-Elizabeth program. Berkley formally changed her name to Elizabeth Berkley Lauren; however, she still uses her maiden name professionally.