Elizabeth Berkley was born in Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit (Michigan), on July 28, 1972 to a Jewish family, second daughter of the two sons of Fred Berkley, a lawyer, and Jere Berkley, entrepreneur in the gift baskets sector. Her older brother, Jason, is a neurologist. In 1988 she moved with her family to Los Angeles, California, where, as a teenager, get small parts in television series, Silver Spoons and Gimme a Break!, among others. Before conquering the reputation with the general public with the successful sitcom Saved by the Bell, where she plays in the role of the intellectual Jessie Spano.
After four years, Elizabeth leaves the series to devote herself to the movies, but the impact with Hollywood is not easy: for two years finds herself relegated to play small parts in films negligible, with intervals to investments in television series such as Baywatch and Step by Step. Then, in 1994, beating emerging actresses like Charlize Theron, Drew Barrymore and Denise Richards, obtained the role of the dancer / stripper Nomi Malone in the controversial Paul Verhoeven’s movie Showgirls. A promo of the film is successfully presented at the Cannes festival, but at the time of the release, in September 1995, the critic reserves slating one of the worst in recent times. The nascent career of Elizabeth undergoes a strong backlash. The new parts offered to her are in the film similar to Showgirls, but she prefers to start from scratch, and falls back in the studio and doing auditions.
She lost by a whisker important roles in The People vs. Larry Flynt and Armageddon but got a part in The First Wives Club. The film reveals an unexpected and critical success, after the fierce harsh criticism of Showgirls, seems to re-evaluate her acting skills. While the controversy of her debut film still continues to leave marks (and Elizabeth wins the sarcastic Razzie Award for “Worst Actress of the Year” and “Worst New Star”), the actress finds herself on the set of increasingly important films: starting from the ensemble comedy The Real Blonde starring opposite Steve Buscemi and Matthew Modine, opposite Al Pacino on the set of Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday and directed by Woody Allen in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Elizabeth meets critical acclaim, but the parts are too small to be able to erase the unfortunate memory of Showgirls.
Between 2001 and 2005, however, gets the best reviews of her career: first with her performance in the film Roger Dodger (premiered at Tribeca and Venice and critically acclaimed), then with the role of Lynette in an acclaimed episode of the series Without a Trace, and finally with the role of Bonnie in the Broadway show Hurlyburly, alongside Ethan Hawke. Her theatrical performances is so compelling that the New York Times feels obliged to dedicate an article in which it congratulated the actress and apologizes for having too many times associated exclusively to Showgirls.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, continues to work as an actress with special interests in series such as Threshold, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, New Girl, and in film roles as the controversial S. Darko and the independent Women in Trouble. After she gets the recurring role of Julia Winston in the sixth season of CSI: Miami and the title role in the TV movie Lucky Christmas. In 2013 she participates also to the seventeenth edition of the show Dancing with the Stars.
After an affair with the actor and screenwriter Roger Wilson, in 2003 she married the artist Greg Lauren, nephew of designer Ralph Lauren. July 20, 2012 giving birth to their first son, Sky Cole Lauren.
Elizabeth is an active member of PETA and the Humane Society, active movements against the mistreatment of animals, as well as other organizations such as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (who runs a shelter for abandoned animals) and the Motion Picture Home for the Aging. Since 2006, runs a non-profit founded by herself, the Ask-Elizabeth Foundation through which imparts workshops and interactive groups of self-esteem for adolescents in American schools. In March 2011 she published her first book based on this activity, Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything you Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body … and Life in General, that within a few weeks the charts the New York Times becoming a best-seller. In 2011, the Candie’s Foundation (association dedicated to raise awareness among teenagers on youth pregnancy) awards her at the annual Gala Event to Prevent for her decades of work in favor of their mission.