Jessie Spano, played by Elizabeth Berkley, was like a live-action Lisa Simpson on Saved by the Bell. What has the actress been up to since leaving the show?
Elizabeth Berkley played the grade-grubbing, overachieving, sometimes pill-popping Jessie Spano on Saved by the Bell. Of the six cast members, she had the fewest episodes as Berkley was noticeably absent from the Zack Attack mockumentary episode and “All in the Mall,” as well as the original series’ Tori season.
Jessie was the sometimes uptight goody two-shoes who would rather die than get an A-. She was dead-set on getting into a good school, getting hepped up on caffeine pills to improve her chances of getting into Stanford (even though she would eventually have to settle for Columbia.) She dated A.C. Slater for much of the series, despite his chauvinistic remarks and oppositional attitude. If we are being honest with ourselves, we all wanted to be Jessie at some point.
I’m not sure why, but Elizabeth Berkley’s career post-Saved by the Bell is the one I may have followed most closely of all the cast members. She was the first to take the big leap into an adult role, starring in the NC-17 camp classic Showgirls. Never to star in another major studio release, Elizabeth Berkley’s longest television acting gig since SBTB was nine episodes of CSI: Miami.
Although Showgirls could have been a career-killer, Elizabeth Berkley was a legitimate dancer with a second career to fall back on. She was the host of Bravo’s Step it Up and Dance, the cable network’s response to So You Think You Can Dance. As with most Bravo shows it focused on the DRAMA rather than talent. I watched every episode. Elizabeth Berkley participated in the Fall 2013 edition of Dancing with the Stars and was the ringer of her season. Despite her jive to “I’m So Excited” on a mock-up of her bedroom from Saved by the Bell, Amber Riley from Glee ended up taking home the mirror ball trophy.
Elizabeth Berkley has gotten married, had a kid, and seems pretty relaxed and groovy. She didn’t seem to be doing DWTS to jump start her career, instead embarking upon a fun experience that allowed her to tap into one of her talents. Like I said, we all want to be Jessie.
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