Not every child actor is doomed to a life of hard knocks. Saved by the Bell‘s Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, is an example of someone who has found significant success post-adolescence.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar played prankster/sociopath/sometimes-human-trafficker Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell on all iterations of the series, though he only had one appearance on Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Zack was the main character of the series once it transitioned away from the Miss Bliss era. Each episode of SBTB would begin with him directly addressing the camera, not unlike Frank Underwood in House of Cards. The two characters are surprisingly similar: each will stop at nothing to get what he wants, using people and opportunities no matter the collateral damage involved. Where the two differ is that Zack gets a reminder every once in a while that his methods don’t always work. Despite his slacker tendencies, Zack did get into Yale (though that wasn’t where The College Years took place) and he had the gumption for business.
Gossellaar current stars on the TNT broseph legal dramedy Franklin & Bash, which recently started its fourth season. He has worked pretty steadily since the end of Saved by the Bell, including a lengthy stint on ABC’s NYPD Blue and starring in another Steven Bochco drama Raising the Bar on TNT.
In 1998, MPG tried to cross over into films with the MTV produced dark comedy Dead Man on Campus. The film’s premise—college students try to get automatic A’s by finding a suicidal roommate—plus negative reviews did not resonate with audiences, though the movie did break even. Since then, MPG took on several bit roles and guest appearances in between his longer term gigs.
Despite working steadily for the past two decades, there’s still an element of “Hey, it’s that guy!” whenever he pops up in a guest role, like the time he played a gay-for-pay porn actor to help pay for his child’s medical bills on Law & Order: SVU1, or when he did a cameo on Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23. For someone who could have easily fallen into the traps of child acting, Mark-Paul Gosselaar has done quite well for himself.
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- with a wife played by Elizabeth Banks! ↵