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Tiffani Thiessen (born Tiffani-Amber Thiessen; January 23, 1974) is an American actress best known for her roles as Kelly Kapowski in Saved by the Bell and as Valerie Malone in Beverly Hills, 90210. She is also known for her role on Fastlane as Wilhelmina 'Billie' Chambers. Most recently, she plays the role of Elizabeth Burke, in White Collar. After many years of going by her full name, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, she is now credited as simply Tiffani Thiessen.

Early life

Thiessen was born in Long Beachmarker, Californiamarker, the daughter of Robyn, a homemaker, and Frank Thiessen, a park designer and landscape architect. She has two siblings; an older brother named Todd, an actor and avid professional cyclist, and a younger brother named Schuyler. Her father is of German descent and her mother is of Turkish, Greek, and Welsh descent. Thiessen told InStyle magazine: "I'm a mutt. I have so much of everything in me, and half of it I don't even know. German on one side, Turkish, Greek, and Welsh on the other. My mom is very olive-skinned; I get my blue eyes from my dad." She credits her brother, Todd, as one of her most important sources of inspiration, and her mother and grandmother as role models. She attended Cubberley Elementary, Long Beach. Her uncle, Roger Ernest, attended college with Steven Spielberg and co-wrote one of his student films called Slipstream. Her uncle also appeared in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Sugarland Express, playing a police officer in both films. Ernest was the first person to suggest that Thiessen enter show business.


After a childhood of beauty pageants, Thiessen was crowned Miss Junior America in 1987 and a year later won Teen magazine's "Great Model Search" in 1988, by gracing the cover of that issue. At the age of fifteen, she auditioned for the role of Kelly Kapowski on the television show Saved by the Bell, which was highly publicized and received a great deal of fanfare from the same magazine that discovered her. In the end, Thiessen's publicity from that magazine had landed her the role. Her character was popular on the show and within the youth-oriented industry that in 1989, she was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast, also being nominated in 1991 and 1992, but did not win. The show was so successful that the six main cast members were immortalized in toy form of a 12 inch doll that was created individually for each character's likeness. She continued to play Kelly Kapowski, in the short-lived spin-off, Saved by the Bell: The College Years. To broaden her visibility on television, Thiessen began making television appearances with guest starring roles on several television shows and television movies, as well as in film. Including Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style (1992), A Killer Among Friends (1992), Son in Law (1993), and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas (1994). During her years while on Saved by the Bell, Thiessen was seen in guest roles on such shows as Charles in Charge (1990), Married... with Children (1990), The Hogan Family (1990), Step by Step (1992), and The Powers That Be (1992).

After her tenure on Saved by the Bell, ended in 1994, prolific producer Aaron Spelling then cast Thiessen in the hit teen-drama Beverly Hills, 90210 playing the bad girl vixen Valerie Malone (1994-1998). Thiessen then began to take on dramatic roles in several made-for-television movies, including The Stranger Beside Me (1995), She Fought Alone (1995), Sweet Dreams (1996), and Buried Secrets (1996). Thiessen later guest-starred on NewsRadio (1999) and the sitcom Two Guys and a Girl and starred in the short-lived action drama series Fastlane. She also guest-starred on Just Shoot Me! (2001) playing Amy Watson and the short-lived Good Morning, Miami (2003-2004) playing Victoria Hill. Unfortunately, her transition into film has not gone well thus far, as most of her movies have been universally panned by film critics. In 2002, she appeared in the film Hollywood Ending, directed by Hollywood veteran, Woody Allen.

In 2005, Thiessen directed a 21-minute short film entitled, Just Pray. It placed at several film festivals and was the first major effort from her latest production company, Tit 4 Tat Productions.

In January 2007, Thiessen joined the cast of ABC's drama What About Brian, playing the boss of Brian, and a potential love interest for Adam. However, in May 2007, ABC officially canceled the series.

Then on December 2, 2008, TV Guide reported that Thiessen was cast in White Collar, a new USA Network television pilot.

Thiessen appeared as a celebrity client for Lonni Paul, one of the final three contestants on the season 4 HGTV interior designing reality series Design Star, on the September 6, 2009 episode. Interior designer Lonni Paul was given the task of redesigning Thiessen's guest bedroom with an eco-friendly theme. Her husband Brady Smith also appears in this episode.

Finally after long awaited speculation, on November 9, 2009, People Magazine reported that Thiessen is pregnant with her first child. The couple are expecting the baby's arrival in May 2010.

Personal life

From October 2001 to March 2003, she was engaged to actor Richard Ruccolo, whom she had met during the Two Guys and a Girl run.

She married actor Brady Smith on July 9, 2005. The couple announced on November 9, 2009 that they are expecting their first child in May 2010.


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Saved by the Bell Kelly Kapowski TV series (1989-1993)
1990 Married... with Children Heather McCoy 1 episode
Charles in Charge Jennifer 1 episode
The Hogan Family Brooke 2 episodes
1992 Step by Step Tina Gordon 1 episode
Blossom Ricki
Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style Kelly Kapowski TV movie
The Powers That Be Barbara
A Killer Among Friends Jenny Monroe TV movie
1993 Son in Law Tracy
1993 Saved by the Bell: The College Years Kelly Kapowski TV series (1993-1994)
1994 Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas Kelly Kapowski TV movie
Beverly Hills, 90210 Valerie Malone TV series (1994-1998)
1995 The Stranger Beside Me Jennifer Gallagher TV movie
She Fought Alone Caitlin Rose TV movie
1996 Sweet Dreams Alison Sullivan TV movie
Buried Secrets Annalisse Vellum TV movie (also co-producer)
1999 Speedway Junky Wilma Price
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Pam
Love Stinks Rebecca Melini/Juliette
NewsRadio Foxy Jackson TV series
2000 Ivans XTC Marie Stein
The Ladies Man Honey DeLune
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth Hagitha Utslay
2001 Everything But the Girl Denise TV movie
A Christmas Adventure from a Book Called Wisely's Tales Vixen (voice)
Just Shoot Me! Amy Watson 3 episodes
2002 Hollywood Ending Sharon Bates
2002 Fastlane Wilhelmina 'Billie' Chambers TV series (2002-2003)
2005 Just Pray Short film (director)
2006 Stroller Wars Lainey TV series
2007 Pandemic Kayla Martin TV movie
What About Brian Natasha Drew TV series
2008 Cyborg Soldier Lindsey Reardon
2009 White Collar Elizabeth Burke TV series (2009-present)

Award nominations

Teen Choice Awards
  • 2003 - Choice TV Actress: Drama, "Fastlane"

Young Artist Awards


  • Recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign
  • She was featured in the following music videos:


External links

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