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What Happened to Elizabeth Berkley from Showgirls?


The controversial 1995 movie Showgirls, directed by Paul Verhoeven, was supposed to be a breakthrough for everyone involved, and one may say it did accomplish that but in reverse. The first blow to the gut was, of course, the NC-17 age category, which cut off a good chunk of the potential audience. But the more you analyze “what went wrong,” the more things pop up. Bad script, horrible marketing, ruthless ratings from movie critics, gratuitous content, unfortunate release timing, and, naturally, over-the-top acting.

Despite all that, Verhoeven and the cast received multiple awards for their hard work, but there was a little hitch: they were all anti-awards. The film won seven Golden Raspberry nominations, becoming the worst film of the 1990s. Sadly, most of these trinkets went to the lead actress – Elizabeth Berkley, who now had to deal with this massive failure and try to restore her reputation.

Berkeley grew up in the family of a Jewish lawyer. Even though her family was very religious, they still encouraged their daughter’s passion for dancing. By the age of 11, Lizzy even managed to perform on Broadway in the production of Swan Lake.

In her young-adult years, Elizabeth picked up a modeling gig for the Elite Model Management agency, but all she ever really wanted was to become a movie star. Her screen debut was in a small TV movie, The Frog, in 1987. The young talent was instantly noticed and sent to star in a plethora of TV shows.

When the 23-year-old actress auditioned for Showgirls, she hoped for the best. Working with a famous director was supposed to kickstart her serious career, but everything turned out differently. After the movie’s premiere in 1995, it got sever Razzie Awards, two of which went to Elizabeth Berkley as the worst actress. If that’s not demotivating, I don’t know what is.

Besides the acting, critics also did not like the abundance of foul language and nudity in Showgirls, the lack of chemistry between the characters, and the very basic, almost primitive philosophy. Of course, back then, there were Verhoeven stans who defended his brainchild, but they were a minority in the 90s.

As years went by, more and more people’s attitudes toward Berkeley and the movie gradually changed. In the 00s, Showgirls was unexpectedly called a cult film, Verhoeven was painted as this misunderstood genius, and Elizabeth Berkley suddenly turned from a green rookie to a flexible and passionate actress. It’s wild what a few years can do to an audience’s perspective.

Despite regaining her status as a “popular actress,” other directors were in no hurry to invite Berkeley to their projects. Lizzy received only minor or episodic roles in TV shows and independent movies. In the worst of times, Berkeley even voiced an animated character and acted as an understudy for famous actresses, including Madonna.

Elizabeth was able to remind the world of her talent again with the help of the legendary director Woody Allen, who called her for a key supporting role in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, where she worked with famous actors like Al Pacino. Berkeley also started to appear in theatrical productions and participated in various dance-related projects to showcase her talents.

Now Elizabeth devotes a lot of her time and effort to hosting and producing television shows, many of which turn out to be the highest-grossing and top-ranked projects ever. The star’s husband, Greg Lauren, doesn’t care how successful she is. The couple has been together since 2003, and in 2012, they became parents for the first time, bringing their firstborn son Sky Cole Lauren into the world. Elizabeth still has thousands, if not millions, of fans, and it’s probably all thanks to her unfading beauty and talent.