Tiffani Thiessen

Tiffani Thiessen

Active - 1992 - 2014  |   Born - Jan 23, 1974 in Long Beach, California, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy

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Biography by Derek Armstrong

Tiffani Thiessen is best known for her roles on two teen-oriented television shows, Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210. Originally credited as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, the actress dropped the second half of her first name as she tried to progress into more adult roles, both on television and in the movies.

Born on January 23, 1974, in Long Beach, CA, Tiffani Thiessen was crowned Miss Junior America in 1987 and won Teen Magazine's Great Model Search in 1988, the end product of a string of pageants throughout her childhood. In 1989 she began a four-year stint on the teen soap opera/sitcom Saved by the Bell, the show that launched Elizabeth Berkley and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, portraying the wholesome Kelly Kapowski. When she materialized on Beverly Hills 90210 in 1994, midway through the show's run, her Valerie Malone crossed purposes with almost every character on the show during her four years appearing on the Fox mainstay. A regular TV-movie actress and guest performer in sitcoms, Thiessen began venturing into feature films by the late '90s. She appeared in Love Stinks (1999) and The Ladies Man (2000), as well as the straight-to-video parody Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th (2000). Her most reputable film role came when she was cast in Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending (2002). In the fall of 2002, she began another gig as a series regular on Fox's Fastlane, a hip, pastel-colored hybrid of The Fast and the Furious and Miami Vice, overseen by Charlie's Angels director McG. Thiessen continued to work mostly on television, with recurring roles in Good Morning, Miami and What About Brian before landing a lead role on USA's White Collar, which ran from 2009 to 2014. She reprised her Kelly Kapowski character for a Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon sketch in 2015, and eventually the former classmates regrouped for a revival of Saved By the Bell for NBC, produced for the NBC streaming service Peacock.

Movie Highlights

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  • At age 8, began modeling and appeared in a Peaches and Cream Barbie commercial.  
  • Won the Miss Junior America Pageant in 1987.
  • Was named Cover Girl Magazine's Model of the Year in 1989.
  • Was her high school's valedictorian.
  • Launched PetitNest, a collection of furnishings for infant's and children's rooms, with designer Lonni Paul in 2010. The duo met when Paul designed a guest room in Thiessen's home for an episode of HGTV's Design Star.