Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lark Voorhies

Lark Voorhies is a former child star best known for her role as "Lisa Turtle" on the early 1990s hit Saturday morning TV show, Saved by the Bell.

Lark was born on March 25, 1974 in Nashville, Tennessee. Her parents pushed her into acting as a young child. She first began acting at the age of two but was so shy that her mother postponed any acting until she was more comfortable doing so. By the time she was 11 years old, her mother began contacting different talent agencies and sent headshots of Lark. Three years later, in 1988, Lark appeared in two episodes of TV's "Small Wonder," alongside fellow washed up celebrities Jerry Supiran and Emily Schulman.

Her appearance on Small Wonder was so well-received that later in 1988 she was cast as Lisa Turtle, one of the co-stars in en ensemble cast in the Disney Channel's Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the precursor to Saved By The Bell. Lisa Turtle was a wealthy fashion-obsessed teen who was constantly hounded and harassed by ├╝ber-dork "Screech Powers" (played by the greatest washed up celebrity of his generation, Dustin Diamond). The annoying Screech would frequently ask out Lisa Turtle who would, in turn, reject Screech and make jokes at his expense.

Good Morning, Miss Bliss was a failure on cable. However, NBC saw some potential in the show and purchased its rights, made some script changes, and repackaged the show as Saved by the Bell, a Saturday morning show that was a major hit among teenagers and pre-teens. On Saved by the Bell, the Lisa Turtle character was fairly popular with fans of the show. Although never as popular as Mark-Paul Gosselaar's "Zack Morris" or Tiffani Thiessen's "Kelly Kapowski," Lisa Turtle was definitely more popular than the annoying "Jessie Spano" and Screech Powers characters.

In nearly every episode for the first few seasons, Screech unsuccessfully hit on Lisa Turtle. The actor Dustin Diamond apparently has taken offense that his Screech character never got to hook up with Lisa Turtle and is a bit insecure about this.

Lark dated co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar (and possibly also Mario Lopez) while Saved by the Bell was on the air. Although her character was hounded by Dustin Diamond's character during the show's run, she never dated Diamond off the set, presumably because of Diamond's undesirable looks and the fact that he was always hanging around with his buddy Dennis Haskins.

After Saved by the Bell ended in 1993, Lark struggled to get additional acting work. Lark was an attractive woman and seemed to be a fairly decent actress, so I have to assume that her problems are likely due to being typecast from her role on Saved by the Bell, which is still extremely popular in syndication.

Lark did manage to gain small non-recurring roles during the mid-1990s on TV shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Family Matters, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Lark was under contract during the mid-1990s for recurring roles on the soap operas Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful, but later turned those roles down when she discovered that she would be shown in sex scenes, which would conflict with her religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.

Since the mid-1990s Lark has appeared in minor roles in movie flops such as How High and Civil Brand during 2001 and 2002, respectively. Despite not having acted since 2002, she is scheduled to star in the apparently small-budget The Black Man's Guide to Understanding Black Women in 2008. She also owns a small production company and spends her spare time writing screenplays.

In her personal life, she was once engaged to Martin Lawrence. He tastelessly broke off the engagement without even bothering to tell her about it! She found out that the engagement was off when she saw him on the Arsenio Hall Show and he mentioned his engagement to a different woman.

Although Lark was undoubtedly devastated by this development, she did eventually get married in 1996 to a minor actor, Miguel Coleman. The two divorced in 2004. Lark recently got remarried to some guy named Andy Prince in 2007.

Lark has been hounded by rumors that she is a coke-head over the past few years. In 2005, the National Enquirer published a story that alleged that Lark was bipolar and addicted to cocaine. The story alleged that she had been admitted to a Southern California hospital in order to treat cocaine addiction after suffering a nervous breakdown, citing a "friend" of the TV star as the source of the info. Lark's supposed friend claimed, "Poor Lark, she's really in bad shape. She has a terrible drug problem and is bipolar as well. It’s very tough."

Lark was incensed when the National Enquirer article was published and denied all of the claims in the article. In 2006, she sued the National Enquirer for misappropriation, invasion of privacy, and libel, claiming that the story was false and had damaged her career. Her case was eventually dropped a couple months later when a settlement was apparently reached.

Given her stalled acting career, the drug allegations, and the fact that Martin Lawrence broke off his engagement to her on national TV, there can be no doubt that Lark Voorhies is one washed-up celebrity!

 **** Update - May 13, 2012 **** 

Lark Voorhies was recently interviewed by The Yo Show on Yahoo!. She claims to have written and produced a new low-budget movie. She also discussed her experience on Saved By The Bell. Viewers of this clip have been shocked by Lark Voorhies' appearance. Her face looks entirely different and her skin is lighter - she currently bears a strong resemblance the Joker from the Batman movies! 

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ralph Macchio

Ralph George Macchio is a former child star best known for his role as "Danny LaRusso" in The Karate Kid.

Macchio was born on November 4, 1961 in Huntington, New York. He began his acting career during the mid 1970s, as star of television commercials for products such as Bubble Yum and Dr. Pepper. Macchio's first big acting role was playing "Jeremy" on the television series Eight Is Enough. In 1983, he appeared in the major motion picture, The Outsiders, as Johnny Cade, a greaser living in Nebraska in the 1950s. Macchio's role was a major one in the hit movie and he received generally positive reviews for his performance.

Macchio's next acting role was the defining one of his career, as Danny LaRusso in The Karate Kid in 1984. Although Macchio was 23 when The Karate Kid came out, he was scrawny and looked like he was about 12 years old at the time. In The Karate Kid, Macchio's character Danny LaRusso was a wimpy kid who moved with his mother to Reseda, California after his father passed away. After LaRusso began dating Ali Mills, the ex-girlfriend (played by Elisabeth Shue) of a local karate champion, Johnny Lawrence (played by perpetual 1980s movie bully, William Zabka), LaRusso is routinely picked on and beaten up by Lawrence and his karate buddies.

Macchio eventually discovers that Mr. Miyagi, the handyman at his apartment building (played by Pat Morita), is a karate expert. Mr. Miyagi took Danny under his wing and taught him karate. By the end of the movie, Miyagi's coaching led LaRusso to win a local karate championship, defeating Johnny Lawrence and his cronies in a tournament. The heart of the story revolved around the close relationship between Miyagi and LaRusso - they were close in a father/son type of way.

After The Karate Kid, Macchio became somewhat of a teen idol of the mid-1980s, despite the fact that he was in his mid-20s at the time. Macchio appeared on the cover of many teen "bubble gum" magazines such as Tiger Beat, 16, and Teen Beat.
Although Macchio received rave reviews for The Karate Kid, he experienced difficulties obtaining meaningful roles afterward. Although he reprised the Danny LaRusso role for The Karate Kid, Parts II and III, his only other decent role in the past 20 years was as "Billy Gambini" in My Cousin Vinny in 1992. However, since 1992, Macchio has been relegated to acting in minor roles in crappy movies and TV shows such as Chicken Soup For The Soul and Popcorn Shrimp.

Although Macchio achieved tremendous success early in his career, his career quickly swirled down the toilet. The likely reason is that Macchio's child-like boyish looks made it far too difficult for people to view him in adult roles. He still looks like a kid, albeit a balding kid, as shown in the photos above. Despite his early success, Macchio couldn't purchase a decent role to save his life now. Accordingly, there can be no doubt that Ralph Macchio is one washed up celebrity!