Tiffani Thiessen

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Tiffani Thiessen
Tiffani Thiessen.jpg
Thiessen in 2010
Born Tiffany Amber Thiessen
(1974-01-23) January 23, 1974 (age 41)
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Brady Smith (2005–present)
Children 1

Tiffani Thiessen (born Tiffani Amber Thiessen[1] January 23, 1974) is an American actress. She played Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell and Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210. She also starred in Fastlane as Wilhelmina 'Billie' Chambers. From 2009 to 2014, Thiessen played the role of Elizabeth Burke in the USA Network series White Collar.

Early life[edit]

Thiessen was born in Long Beach, California, the daughter of Robyn (née Ernest), a homemaker, and Frank Thiessen, a park designer and landscape architect.[2] She has credited her brother, Todd, as one of her most important sources of inspiration, and her mother and grandmother as role models.[3] She attended Cubberley Elementary and Marshall Junior High School in Long Beach. In 1992, Thiessen graduated as valedictorian at Valley Professional High School in Studio City, Los Angeles.


After a childhood of beauty pageants, Thiessen was crowned Miss Junior America in 1987, and the following year, she won Teen magazine's "Great Model Search", gracing the cover. In 1989, she was named Cover Girl magazine's "Model of the Year", and landed her first role of Kelly Kapowski on television sitcom Saved by the Bell, starring until its end in 1993. The success of the show gave her career a boost and Thiessen received Young Artist Award nominations for Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in 1990 and Best Young Actress in an Off-Primetime Series in 1992 and 1993. Simultaneously, Thiessen guest starred on series such as Married... with Children, Charles in Charge and Step by Step. In 1992, she starred in her first television movies Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style and A Killer Among Friends, making her film debut in Son in Law in 1993. She then continued with starring in spin-off Saved by the Bell: The College Years in its single season (1993–94) and in television movie Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas (1994), which marked the end of the original Saved by the Bell series.

In 1994, after her tenure on Saved by the Bell had ended, Thiessen landed the role of Valerie Malone in Aaron Spelling-produced hit teen-drama Beverly Hills, 90210, to fill the void after Shannen Doherty's departure. She was the first actress to join directly the main cast of the show and portrayed Valerie until 1998, when she left in the early episodes of the ninth season of the show. While starring in 90210, Thiessen began to take on continuous dramatic leading roles in television films: The Stranger Beside Me and She Fought Alone in 1995, Sweet Dreams and Buried Secrets in 1996. After her departure from the show, she appeared in a number of films, including Speedway Junky (1999), From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999), Love Stinks (1999) and The Ladies Man (2000); she also guest-starred on NewsRadio (1999), Two Guys and a Girl (2000), Just Shoot Me! (2001) and Good Morning, Miami (2003–04). In 2000, she was featured in the music video for "You're a God" by Vertical Horizon, portraying a beauty pageant contestant, in her first music video appearance. That year she also dropped her middle name which she had been including professionally for many years and is now credited as simply Tiffani Thiessen.[4] Thiessen was Spelling's first choice to replace Doherty in popular series Charmed in 2001, but she refused his offer because she was hoping her NBC Everything but the Girl pilot would be picked up.[5]

Meanwhile, Thiessen starred in direct-to-video parody film Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth (2000) and in television movie Everything But the Girl (2001), before appearing in the Woody Allen-directed film Hollywood Ending (2002) and starring in action drama series Fastlane (2002–03) as Wilhelmina 'Billie' Chambers, for which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice TV Actress in Drama/Action Adventure. In 2003, she launched her production company Tit 4 Tat Productions, producing and directing the short film Just Pray in 2005, which earned distinctions at several film festivals.[6] Later on, she starred in television movies Stroller Wars (2006) and Pandemic (2007), she joined the cast of ABC's drama What About Brian (2007) for its last five episodes and starred in the science fiction film Cyborg Soldier (2008). In 2008, she made her second music video appearance, this time for Ben Lee's "American Television". Thiessen appeared with her husband Brady Smith on the September 6, 2009 episode of season four of the reality show HGTV Design Star. Interior designer Lonni Paul, one of the final three contestants of the season, was given the task of redesigning Thiessen's guest bedroom with an eco-friendly theme; Thiessen and Paul now have a nursery furniture line called PetitNest.[7] Since 2009, Thiessen stars in the USA Network crime series White Collar as Elizabeth Burke.

On February 4, 2015, Thiessen reunited with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Dennis Haskins and Mario Lopez on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where they appeared in a Saved by the Bell sketch with Fallon.[8][9][10]

Also in 2015, Thiessen started hosting her own show on Cooking Channel called "Dinner at Tiffani's".

Personal life[edit]

In early 1992, Thiessen started dating Brian Austin Green, introduced by mutual friend David Faustino;[11] they moved in together in July 1994, but they broke up in the fall of the next year.[12] In 1999, she went through a difficult period in her personal life, when David Strickland, also an actor, whom she had begun dating, committed suicide.[13] From 2001 to the spring of 2003, she was engaged to actor Richard Ruccolo, whom she had met during the Two Guys and a Girl run.[14] She married actor Brady Smith on July 9, 2005,[14] and gave birth to their daughter, Harper Renn Smith, on June 15, 2010.[15] On January 15, 2015, Thiessen's rep confirmed their second child was on the way.[16]

Thiessen served as maid of honor at 90210 co-star and best friend Jennie Garth's wedding to actor Peter Facinelli, with whom she co-starred on Fastlane. Garth and Thiessen's friendship has since come to an end.[17] Her friendship with fellow 90210 star Tori Spelling also broke up, after Spelling's split from her first husband.[18]

In 2013, she participated in the One Bag party for April for Earth Month, in which the Glad company promoted "clean, green living".[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1989–93 Saved by the Bell Kelly Kapowski Series
1990 Married... with Children Heather McCoy Episode: "What Goes Around Came Around"
1990 Charles in Charge Jennifer Episode: "There's a Girl in My Ficus"
1992 Step by Step Tina Gordon Episode: "Daddy's Girl"
1992 Blossom Ricki Episode: "Driver's Education"
1992 Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style Kelly Kapowski TV movie
1992 The Powers That Be Barbara Episode: "The Intern"
1992 A Killer Among Friends Jenny Monroe Movie
1993–94 Saved by the Bell: The College Years Kelly Kapowski Series
1994 Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas Kelly Kapowski Movie
1994–98 Beverly Hills, 90210 Valerie Malone Series
1995 The Stranger Beside Me Jennifer Gallagher Movie
1995 She Fought Alone Caitlin Rose Movie
1996 Sweet Dreams Alison Sullivan Movie
1996 Buried Secrets Annalisse Vellum Movie; also co-producer
1999 Cupid Stephanie McGregor Episode: "Children's Hour"
1999 NewsRadio Foxy Jackson Episode: "Assistant"
2000 Two Guys and a Girl Marti 8 episodes
2001 Everything But the Girl Denise Pilot movie
2001 Just Shoot Me! Amy Watson 3 episodes
2002–03 Fastlane Wilhelmina 'Billie' Chambers Series
2003–04 Good Morning, Miami Victoria Hill 11 episodes
2006 Stroller Wars Lainey Pilot movie
2007 Pandemic Kayla Martin Movie
2007 What About Brian Natasha Drew 5 episodes
2009–14 White Collar Elizabeth Burke Main role (76 episodes)
Jake and the Never Land Pirates Misty the Wonderful Witch / Mermaid Recurring voice role
2014 Northpole Chelsea Movie
2015 The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Kelly Kapowski Episode 205 Saved by the Bell sketch
2015 Dinner at Tiffani's Host Series


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Son in Law Tracy
1999 Speedway Junky Wilma Price
1999 From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Pam Direct-to-video
1999 Love Stinks Rebecca Melini / Juliette
2000 Ivans XTC Marie Stein
2000 The Ladies Man Honey DeLune
2000 Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth Hagitha Utslay Direct to video
2001 A Christmas Adventure ...from a Book Called Wisely's Tales Vixen (voice) Direct-to-video
2002 Hollywood Ending Sharon Bates
2005 Just Pray Short film; director
2008 Cyborg Soldier Lindsey Reardon
Music videos
Year Artist Song
2000 Vertical Horizon "You're a God"
2008 Ben Lee "American Television"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1990 Young Artist Award Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast Saved by the Bell Nominated
1992 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Starring in an Off-Prime-time or Cable Series Saved by the Bell Nominated
1993 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in an Off-Prime-time Series Saved by the Bell Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actress – Drama/Action Adventure Fastlane Nominated
2005 Jury Award Best Live Action Over 15 Minutes (as producer and director) Just Pray Runner-up


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Tiffani Thiessen Biography (1974-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Tiffani Thiessen's interview". Tiffani Thiessen fansite. Archived from the original on November 4, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2007. 
  4. ^ "TV STUFF: Tiffani Drops Amber". Hollywood.com. March 29, 2000. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Charm's Way". Entertainment Weekly. June 12, 2001. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ "News". Tit4tatproductions.com. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "About us". Petitnest.com. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Watch a Glorious Saved by the Bell Reunion Courtesy of Jimmy Fallon". Time (magazine). Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Jimmy Fallon assembled the cast of 'Saved by The Bell' for an epic reunion". Business Insider. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Jimmy Fallon reunites most of the 'Saved by the Bell' cast". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Brian Austin Green & Tiffani-Amber Thiessen". People.com. February 13, 1995. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Robin Williams Secures an 'Aladdin' Sequel". Entertainment Weekly. October 9, 1995. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Sudden Tragedy". Entertainment Weekly. April 2, 1999. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Tiffani Thiessen Weds Actor Brady Smith". People.com. July 12, 2005. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  15. ^ Eunice Oh (June 15, 2010). "Tiffani Thiessen Welcomes Daughter Harper Renn". People.com. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ http://celebritybabies.people.com/2015/01/15/tiffani-thiessen-pregnant-expecting-second-child/
  17. ^ "Jennie Garth, Tiffani Thiessen Still Not Speaking". Us Weekly. May 15, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Tiffani Amber Thiessen Discusses Co-Star Feuds". The inquisitr. July 31, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  19. ^ Elavksy, Cindy (May 19, 2013). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. Times-Herald Newspapers. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 

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