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Mark-Paul Gosselaar is an American actor known for his work on the hit teen series Saved by the Bell, and for more recent roles on NYPD Blue and Franklin and Bash.
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Born in Panorama City, California, on March 1, 1974, actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar is best known for playing the lead role of Zack Morris on the hit teen Saturday morning show Saved by the Bell. More recently, he's become known for roles on the television series NYPD Blue, Commander in Chief and Franklin and Bash.
"There was just this innocence, and we had a level of fun that we just stayed true to, and didn't question a lot—good kids with good families who got along really well and enjoyed being with each other."
[On "Saved by the Bell."]
"With acting, you can be the best in the world and still not have any work."
"I met my wife on 'Saved by the Bell: The College Years.' She literally walked by in the hallway and said one word to Zack. Zack looks at her, and gives a look at the camera and winks. It was 16 years ago. We've been together ever since."
Mark-Paul Gosselaar was born on March 1, 1974, in Panorama City, California, to Hans and Paula Gosselaar. The youngest of four children, Gosselaar began modeling when he was just 5 years old. He became successful in the modeling community and soon began auditioning for acting roles. In 1987, Gosselaar landed a guest spot on the popular series Highway to Heaven. This role propelled his career, with the young actor appearing in small roles on such television series as Charles in Charge, Punky Brewster and The Wonder Years.
Gosselaar's breakthrough role materialized in the late 1980s when he was cast as Zack Morris, a mischievous middle school student, on a new Disney Channel series, Good Morning, Miss Bliss. The show, which ran from 1987 to 1989, also starred Dennis Haskins (as Mr. Belding), Hayley Mills (as Miss Bliss), Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) and Dustin Diamond (Samuel "Screech" Powers). Disney canceled Good Morning, Miss Bliss after 13 episodes, but NBC, seeing promise in the teen series, reformatted it slightly by recasting and restructuring, and the product was Saved by the Bell. Gosselaar's character, Zack Morris, became the focus of the series, now set at a high school, with Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen—playing Morris's eclectic group of friends, Jessie Spano, A.C. Slater and Kelly Kapowski, respectively—among many others, joining the cast. The show quickly took off.
Not only was Saved by the Bell a hit, it became a cultural phenomenon. The show ran four seasons (1989-1993) on Saturday mornings and led to a primetime spin-off, Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993-1994), as well as several TV movies revolving around the series.
After The College Years ended, Gosselaar found himself pigeonholed, bound to his Zack Morris persona, and struggling to get work. During this time, he appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies.
In 1998, Gosselaar attempted to return to the spotlight with a lead part in the college dark comedy Dead Man on Campus. While critics deemed the film a flop, it marked, for the first time, the public's growing acceptance of Gosselaar as a serious actor, and he subsequently and gradually began to land more serious roles.
From 2001 to 2005, Gosselaar played Detective John Clark on the popular police drama NYPD Blue. In 2005, he appeared as Richard "Dickie" McDonald on the series Commander in Chief.
In 2010, Gosselaar made his off-Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theater Company's The Understudy, co-starring with Justin Kirk and Julie White. The following year, the actor appeared in a starring role alongside fellow '90s star Breckin Meyer on the legal drama Franklin and Bash.
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Explore our collection of Saved by the Bell cast members, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Tiffani Thiessen, Dennis Haskins, Mario Lopez, Dustin Diamond, Tori Spelling, Leah Remini and Hayley Mills. Running on Saturday mornings for four seasons, from 1989 to 1993, Saved by the Bell wasn't just a hit, but a cultural phenomenon. View full biographies, photos, videos and more of the series' cast, only at Biography.com.
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