Jennifer Eve "Jennie" Garth (born April 3, 1972) is an American actress and director, best known for starring in the prominent role of Kelly Taylor throughout the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. She is also known for starring as Valerie Tyler in What I Like About You.
Jennifer Eve Garth was born in Urbana, Illinois to John and Carolyn Garth, each of whom already had three older children from previous marriages: Johnny, Chuck, Lisa, Cammie, Wendy and Lynn. Garth spent much of her youth on a 25-acre (100,000 m2) horse ranch in Arcola, Illinois. Her family eventually moved to Tuscola, Illinois, and then, when Garth was 13 years old, to Glendale, Arizona. There, she began taking dancing lessons and modeling, which led to her participation in a talent competition, where she was discovered by Hollywood talent scout and manager, Randy James. She attended Greenway High School as a freshman and later transferred to Apollo High School in her sophomore year. Determined to become an actress, she left school during her junior year to work with James in Los Angeles (she would later obtain her high school diploma in California). She began taking acting classes and going to auditions almost daily, and soon landed a role as "Erica McCray" in the NBC TV series A Brand New Life (1989–'90).
Garth landed her first role starring as Denise in the television series Growing Pains. She also appeared in six episodes on A Brand New Life as Erica McCray. Garth then auditioned for the part of Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell, but the role eventually went to her Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Tiffani Thiessen.