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Elizabeth Berkley Actress

Elizabeth Berkley

Elizabeth first gained popularity in the role as "Jesse Sopano" on the 1990's hit comedy series "Saved By The Bell". She solidified her status with an outstanding, controversial, sexy and erotic performance as a stripper, "Nomi Malone" in the 1995 movie "Showgirls". Born in Farmington Hills, Michigan on July 28th, 1972, baby Elizabeth Berkley showed an early aptitude for dance. At age five, her parents enrolled her at the Detroit Dance Company. As her love for dance grew with the years, she began performing at high-profile shows such as Swan Lake, which attracted large audiences. As talent scouts started to frequent her shows, her parents were able to land her parts on TV shows such as Gimme a Break! and Silver Spoons, when she was seven years old. After her film debut in 1987's made-for-TV movie Frog, she landed her most important part yet: the role of Jessie Spano in the Saturday morning TV sensation, Saved by the Bell. After four successful seasons, Elizabeth was finally of age to start an official movie career. The 1995 release of Showgirls, however, was not the kind of beginning she had envisioned. Drooled over by men and vilified by the media for her portrayal of a lap dancer, she took most of the rap for the film's failure. Admirably, Elizabeth kept plugging away, determined to make a positive name for herself in the movie industry. She continued to do television, and made guest appearances on NYPD Blue and Jack and Jill. In 1996, Goldie Hawn recommended her for a small role in the movie The First Wives Club after publicly stating that Elizabeth deserved a chance to redeem herself after doing Showgirls.

During the two subsequent years after The First Wives Club, Elizabeth starred in three movies that never really left their mark, including The Real Blonde. Spurned on by the desire to have a big box-office hit, she accepted roles in five movies in 1999, including a minor part in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday alongside Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz.

Always turned on by comedy, Elizabeth decided to return to television in the FOX sitcom Titus in 2001 and currently still makes an occasional appearance. Of late, Elizabeth's most notable project is Woody Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, released in 2001. Aside from the silver screen, Elizabeth, who is a vegetarian, has posed for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). She has even claimed to have called restaurants located in America's ten "fattest" cities to encourage them to put more greens on the menu. After her Showgirls days, she dated actor Roger Wilson, who, in 1999, got her in some hot water after filing a $45 million lawsuit against Leonardo DiCaprio and his crew. Wilson claimed to have a broken larynx and other injuries after duking it out with Leo and his crew over a pass the Titanic star allegedly made at Elizabeth. At last check, the leggy blonde parted ways with Wilson and was dating another actor, Greg Lauren.

Her performances in "Roger Dodger" and "Moving Malcolm", two indipendent 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 with New York artist Greg Lauren. Her husband, Greg Lauren, is a successful and professional nude painter. Elizabeth and Greg met each other in a dance class in 2000. She married Greg Lauren in Mexico, at Cabo San Lucas. The wedding ceremony took place at the Esperanza Hotel. Ralph Lauren (Greg Lauren's uncle) designed Elizabeth's dress: a silk sheath with pearled spaghetti-straps and Greg wore a white tuxedo jacket and black bow tie.

More fun stuff about Elizabeth Berkley

Has different color eyes: right eye is half green and half brown and left eye is green.

The producers of "Saved by the Bell" (1989) created the role of Jessie for her when they could not choose between her and Tiffani Thiessen for the role of Kelly.

Once sat next to a man on an international flight who watched Showgirls (1995) on his in-seat video screen and never recognized her.

Donned a $600 formfitting gown made entirely of collard greens for the "Lettuce Be Lean" campaign sponsored by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. According to "People Weekly", a source claims "she had to be misted every 20 minutes, like a produce section". [1997]

Has an older brother, Jason.

Is a vegetarian.

Dated actor Roger Wilson. [1997-1999]

Auditioned for the film Annie (1982), but was turned down because she was too tall.

Attended Warner Middle School in Farmington Hills, Michigan, this is also the junior high school where actors Sam Khaleghi and Brandon T. Jackson attended, although years later.

Measurements: 34C-23-36 (during Showgirls (1995)) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).

In April 2004, she made her Broadway debut with Richard Dreyfuss, in the comedy "Sly Fox".

In the early 90s, a 12 inch doll was made of her likeness based on her character, Jesse Spano, from "Saved by the Bell" (1989). The same was done for the other cast members.

Good friends with Jennifer Beals. The each appeared in a Joe Eszterhas-written film (Berkeley: Showgirls (1995); Beals: Flashdance (1983)), and they appeared together in Roger Dodger (2002).

Elizabeth Berkley Personal quotes:

"Ever since those reviews for Showgirls, it's like I was that woman in The Scarlet Letter. Except that instead of having to wear the letter 'A' for adulteress, I was condemned to wear an 'S' for showgirl."

"I had to work out where I was going, what type of films I wanted to make. For that reason, I decided to choose independent productions, less important roles, and I tried theater, too."

"I had to make some drastic choices to avoid losing myself."

Her Salary
Showgirls (1995) $100,000

Elizabeth Berkley: I'm not a show girl

After looking past Showgirls, which is often hard to do, one can see that Elizabeth is no Julia Roberts. While she does have a fairly extensive filmography, it does not contain many impressive stints. For many, starring as a Vegas lap dancer will eventually not be enough to be remembered by.

Although we know her thespian skills were put to the test with Saved by the Bell alongside the lovable Screech, her ability as an on-screen star is often questioned, and rightly so. Showgirls, her first big release, immediately gave her the negative publicity that many actors try so hard to avoid. With its trashy, exploitive plot, the movie was considered one of the worst of 1995. It was here that Elizabeth gained our attention as perhaps the new hot actress ready to bounce back from what we then called an error in judgment. Sure, people make mistakes and star in movies they would quickly like to forget. Was John Travolta not in Battlefield Earth?

There is evidence of Elizabeth's revival after a troubling start in '95. She gets respect for starring in recent independent films like Last Call and The Taxman, as well as onstage in the play Lenny, possibly showing her willingness to commit to a good script. In the end, we have conflicted feelings for Elizabeth. On one hand, she showed enough skin in Showgirls for her to remain in our minds for some time. On the other, she has yet to prove herself as a great actress.

A mistake many people make is judging Elizabeth Berkley's character based on her trashy role in her infamous '95 film outing. Although she admitted to looking forward to filming nude shots and learning how to pole dance, Elizabeth has the intellect to dissuade any skeptics. She graduated from the University of California with a degree in English Literature, which is a lot more than many of her fellow Hollywood actors can say for themselves. In interviews, she is articulate, confident and poised.

Talent-wise, Elizabeth has dabbled in a few entertainment areas, with success in each. A dancer since age five, she has always declared that ballet and jazz dance are her primary passions. After watching her move seductively in Showgirls, we do not need convincing of her dancing skills. As for acting however, she needs to prove herself. Once nominated for the "Worst Actress of the Century" award by the Razzies (the Oscars for horrible movies), she gets little to no credit for her work. If one were to look at her recent releases, there is a noticeable improvement, to the point that at least now we can respect the work she puts into her characters on the big screen and onstage.

Elizabeth Berkley's looks can satisfy almost every man's tastes. After leaving little to the imagination in Showgirls, she still remains a knockout seven years later. Wholesome yet unafraid to boast about how much she enjoyed showing off her body, this statuesque blonde drips of sexual aggression in her many torrid pictorials.

Ever since her graduation from Saved By the Bell mini-stardom to the big screen, Elizabeth has yet to break into the circle of big, popular actors in Hollywood. From her early television beginnings to Showgirls, The First Wives Club and Any Given Sunday, she has slowly increased her appeal upon the release of these relatively successful films.

With her involvement in smaller films such as The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The Shipment and Detonator, Elizabeth has made efforts to shed her image as a woman only able to serve as eye candy. As she increases her exposure in the FOX comedy Titus, we only hope we'll soon be able to appreciate her for more than a showgirl.

One would not think that something as incredible as Elizabeth could come out of her small town of Farmington Hills, Michigan. She has rare features that honestly drive us wild, the main one being her mesmerizing eyes. As a matter of fact, her right eye is green while her left is half-brown, half-green, giving her an amazing, exotic look.

After she donned a $600 formfitting dress made entirely of lettuce for PETA, the animal protection group, we knew that converting to vegetarianism just for her would not be a problem. Everyone has seen her great body in Showgirls and ever since, we don't need convincing that this woman is truly blessed. Without being too scantily clad, Elizabeth pulls off looking quite sexy when appearing at movie premieres and other public functions. She has class, yet attracts the paparazzi's attention with her great figure and photogenic smile. Cast aside the label that has followed her everywhere after the making of Showgirls, and Elizabeth is a girl who presents herself as beautiful and dignified, yet flirtatious.

Elizabeth Berkley stars in ''Roger Dodger''

Eight years after playing Nomi "I'm not a whore, I'm a dancer!" Malone, Elizabeth Berkley is still haunted by Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls". Her subsequent career has been low-key, with appearances in movies as diverse as Tom DiCillo's "The Real Blonde", Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday", and Woody Allen's "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion". Now she's in another American indie pic, Dylan Kidd's "Roger Dodger".

How did you get involved in "Roger Dodger" - an independent movie with a first time director?

Well my manager told me not to do it when I got the script. It clashed with another movie, and my manager advised me not to bother with "the little movie". But I ignored him.

You can understand his point of view, as you've worked with some big name directors - Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, Sir Peter Hall (on "Lenny", a seven month play in the West End)..

I'm very grateful, because a lot of actors would kill to work with any one of them. It's been a very conscious choice on my part to work with the best - even if it was taking a small supporting role. After "Showgirls", I really wanted to surround myself with the best people. I wanted to build it that way instead of doing flashy roles just like "Showgirls", which would have hurt me.

After "Showgirls" you were hung up as a scapegoat for the film...

Yeah, and to be flogged and beaten a little bit. Put it this way, there was nothing I didn't hear. It was as cruel as it could get.

What was the first role that helped you recover your self-esteem?

"The First Wives Club" gave me a certain level of confidence. Because I was working with these three women - Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton - who as women have been through every high and low. Goldie especially took me under her wing and was really supportive. She told me, "I don't like the way you were directed in that movie ["Showgirls"], but there's something there that you can't deny. So you just keep doing what you're doing and someone will get it, and someone will show the real you, and not just some idea of you."

So did you enjoy the process of smaller scale movie-making on "Roger Dodger"?

I really loved it. On set, it was like being part of a real family. Everybody was there because they wanted to be and not because of some pay cheque - there were no dressing rooms or big trailers; you'd get ready in a bathroom. Here's this $2 million movie that could have gone nowhere or everywhere. But it's one of the most special experiences that I've ever had. I want more similar experiences. I'm not 'Showgirl' - that's the point!

Elizabeth Berkley Talks About Working with Woody Allen in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

After making a somewhat notorious feature-film debut in 1995's controversial Showgirls -- a critically reviled soft-core melodrama with unintended camp appeal -- erstwhile teen goddess Elizabeth Berkley shrugged off her awful reviews and forged a big-screen career for herself while sniggering detractors made cruel jokes. The former Saved by the Bell star accepted small but showy roles in expensive studio films and low-budget indies alike, paying her dues and eventually earning the grudging respect of her early tormentors. With well-received turns in The First Wives Club, The Real Blonde, and Any Given Sunday behind her, Berkeley accepted the relatively small part of a girl-next-door secretary in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Woody Allen's affectionate period homage to Hollywood thrillers of the 1940s. She recently discussed her work in that film with Barnes & Noble.com.
Barnes & Noble.com: We know that Woody Allen hires some actors because he's seen their films and wants to work with them, and he hires others who impress him in auditions. Which was it in your case?

Elizabeth Berkley: Well, at the time I thought it was the audition, but when we were doing interviews on the press junket for The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, I heard Woody say he had seen me in Showgirls, The First Wives Club, and Any Given Sunday and that he wanted to use me based on my work in those films. What actually happened was that my agent got a call from out of the blue saying that Woody wanted to meet me. He said, "Woody might want to talk to you for five minutes, he might want to talk for an hour. But if it turns out to be five minutes, don't automatically think you've lost the part. So I went to meet Woody, and it was a five-minute meeting. But later I learned that the audition was just a formality -- he had already decided to hire me. When I found that out, I was really flattered, believe me.

B&N.com: Actors who've worked with Woody Allen always rave about the experience. What makes him a great director?

EB: I've worked with a lot of hands-on directors who've approached projects with very definite ideas about the characters. Jade Scorpion was the first film I worked on with a director who really encouraged his actors to use their own instincts. He entrusted our characters to us and encouraged us to be in the moment. He allowed us the freedom to interpret our roles the way we saw them. With Woody you don't get complete scripts beforehand, so much of the planning that you might ordinarily do just goes out the window. That's kind of scary, but it's very liberating, too.

B&N.com: When did you get your lines?

EB: Generally the night before the scene was to be shot.

B&N.com: Was there much opportunity to improvise?

EB: Woody encouraged us to change dialogue if it didn't feel right, but, you know, the way he writes, you don't want to change much. His dialogue sounds so right, and it has a certain rhythm -- certain beats you don't want to tamper with. He improvised a little bit. There's a scene where he asks me to get him some snacks. While we were rehearsing and shooting, he kept changing the foods he was asking for. So my reactions shifted to reflect what he was saying. But he's got such perfect timing you don't want to fool around too much.

B&N.com: And yet, even though some of his scenes have an improvisational feel, he's certainly not an undisciplined director....

EB: Oh, no, not at all! For as much freedom as the actors get, everything is mapped out pretty tightly. He doesn't like to shoot more than three or four takes, and he doesn't shoot a lot of coverage. He knows exactly what he wants and how to get it.

B&N.com: We happen to think youre underutilized in Jade Scorpion. Did some of your scenes wind up on the cutting-room floor?

EB: No, everything I shot was in the movie. But Woody said later that he could have had me in more scenes. He also said that he'd like to work with me again, maybe in a bigger role. He said this film was a warm-up for us. I was really happy to hear that! Its such an honor to be in one of his films; I was so grateful for the opportunity.

B&N.com: The film takes place in the 1940s, and you looked especially attractive in period costumes. Did you enjoy being in a film set in that era?

EB: Absolutely! I would love to do more films set in the '40s. Even with World War II and everything, it was a very romantic era -- a more innocent time. And I adore the clothes from that period. I really like fashions that celebrate a woman's femininity, and those beautiful dresses really seem to do that. In fact, working in them actually helped me get into character; I felt transformed when I put on those costumes. I'm one of those people who believe that clothes can reflect a persons mood and personality.

B&N.com: Are you happy with Jade Scorpion?

EB: Oh, yes. I think it's a great video for people to buy. It's kind of old-fashioned but very entertaining -- the kind of film that's great for getting your mind off some of the terrible things we have going on today. It takes you back to a more innocent, romantic time.

 

 

 

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