What Happened To Tori Scott From Saved By The Bell?
If you were a fan of “Saved by the Bell” in the early 1990s, you may recall being discombobulated by the sudden disappearance of two of the show’s major stars — Tiffani Amber Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski and Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Spano — in the sixth and final season of the series. Instead, the fourth episode of that season, titled “The New Girl,” introduced a new female lead: a biker chick clearly not cowed by Zack’s (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) status at the school. Smart and savvy Tori Scott, played by Leanna Creel, gets introduced to the gang when she puts her motorcycle in Zack’s parking spot. She is quickly integrated into Bayside High life when she inadvertently walks into Principal Belding’s office during a dance committee meeting and makes a well-received suggestion for its theme. She then gets roped into helping Lisa (Lark Voorhies) work on the event, which almost messes up her school project with Zack.
Over the course of 10 episodes, which were aired out of order between 1992 and 1993, not to mention interspersed with Kelly and Jesse episodes (many of which are not available on streaming services like Netflix right now), Tori functioned as part of the main cast. She dated Zack, and she fully participated in the group’s teen-oriented sitcom-friendly adventures. Her last episode was “School Song,” in which the graduating seniors try to make their mark by revamping Bayside’s anthem.
However, she was nowhere to be seen when the cast graduated, ending the series. So what happened to Creel, anyway?
Creel's character was created after stars Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley couldn't return
On the podcast “Zack to the Future” (as reported by The Retro Network), Gosselaar explained that the show filmed a 13-episode final season, which included milestones of senior year — but then ordered 11 more. Unfortunately, Thiessen and Berkley were already committed to other projects, so producers opted to hold auditions for a new cast addition. As the producers weren’t particularly concerned about continuity, they simply added those episodes into the sixth season out of order.
Creel and her two sisters Joy and Monica — all of whom are triplets — started acting as freshmen in high school. It’s quite likely that you may recall them from “Parent Trap 3” in 1989 (via Today) and then “Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon” later that same year. She and Monica also played twins in a 1992 episode of “Beverly Hills 90210.” She told ABC that she was studying at UCLA when she was offered the part of Tori in “Saved by the Bell,” and that she accepted so that she could pay her tuition.
The addition divided fans when the episodes were released, so much so that author Chuck Klosterman wrote about “The Tori Paradox” in his essay, “Being Zack Morris” — arguing that social circles are fluid in high school — in a 2003 book (via A.V. Club). Producers should have expected the controversy: “Saved by the Bell” launched the careers of its stars, after all. For better or worse, Tori remains a much-maligned part of “Saved by the Bell” culture: She was even mentioned in the first episode of the Peacock revival series, making it totally unclear if Zack maybe dreamed her up (via TVLine). “I realize that my character has been the brunt of many a joke. And so, you know, it’s totally fine. It was an absurd kind of pseudo-reality to begin with,” Creel told Today earlier this year.
Creel used her experience to launch a producing career
Creel discovered producing when she was on the set of “Saved by the Bell,” noting in an interview with FamilyFilmsProductions.com that the show’s producer, Peter Engel, “is the guy you want to be.” She went on to earn her Masters of Fine Arts degree in film production at UCLA, then created the company Ignite Films in association with an investment banker, which allowed her to learn to make movies such as “The Suburbans,” “But I’m a Cheerleader,” and “Six-String Samurai” in the late 1990s (via IMDb).
Then she sold that company to Lionsgate, started traveling, and launched a photography business. Eventually, she came back to producing and started directing. She produced a number of web videos for Yahoo, spent two years as the filmmaker in residence at Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University between 2011-2013 and then turned her business into Creel Studio. “I love telling stories visually,” she told ABC. “I love the art of photography and film-making so much.”
On her company’s LinkedIn, Creel describes it as a “creative agency and full service production company,” creating multi-platform content. It focuses on “luxury lifestyle content for resorts, wineries and real estate companies.” Clients have included Christie’s International Real Estate, Sotheby’s International Real Estate, Disney, Nokia, Food Network, and HGTV, among others. She features examples of her food and lifestyle photography on the Creel Studio website. One of her company’s latest projects is the Vuse app, which is designed to help real estate professionals share social media content on the go.
She is married and has two boys
Creel is married to Rinat Greenberg, with whom she also works. The two became among the first to get marriage licenses on June 17, 2008, when California made same-sex marriages legal. At the time, Creel told USA Today that they had been together for 10 years and Greenberg was due to give birth “at any moment.” The two stood in line for their license and were planning on a ceremony with friends and family later that day. “The opportunity to make it legal before the baby is born was just too good an opportunity to pass up,” Creel said.
The couple had previously had a commitment ceremony in 2004 and now have two sons, Levi and Milo, who were 7 and 2, respectively, in 2015. That year, Creel told ABC they had just started showing Levi clips from her former career. “We showed Levi one episode of ‘Saved By the Bell.’ He was confused! He didn’t totally get it,” she said. “We were laughing about it. What were we going to do?” Now that he’s a teenager himself, perhaps he understands the shenanigans of Zack, Slater (Mario Lopez), Screech (Dustin Diamond), Lisa, and the black leather-jacket wearing Tori just a little bit better.
While she isn’t involved in any new “Saved by the Bell” projects, Creel did attend The Max Pop-Up’s Saved by the Bell celebration in August 2018 in West Hollywood, California. She has said she recently reconnected with Mario Lopez, whose kids are the same age as hers, and she’s available on Cameo if you’re interested in sending someone a greeting from Tori Scott (or one of her other characters).