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Plenty of actors have ancestry backgrounds that fans would have never guessed, but not many have been as shocking as the revelation that Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s mom is Indonesian — making him half Asian. On Saved by the Bell, Zack Morris’s dirty-blond look was seemingly nothing short of your typical white teen from the ’80s and ’90s, but not without a little work. According to one of Gosselaar’s interviews, not only do most people not know that Zack Morris is half Indonesian, but he had to dye his hair for his hit show because of it.

Gosselaar’s Zack Morris look made him an icon of late ’80s and early ’90s

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, whose mom is Indonesian, as Zack Morris
Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Saved by the Bell premiered in 1989 and ended in 1992. In its short three years of airing, Gosselaar’s Zack Morris stole the hearts of teens and young adults everywhere with his humor, scheming, and blond tips.

That blonde hair turned Zack Morris into the posterchild for the all-American teenager from Califonria. It was copied by fans and replicated in other pop culture projects of the era. However, for as famous as Gosselaar made the look, it wasn’t reflective of his true self.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s mom is Indonesian, making the actor half-Asian

Although it was far from his first project, Saved by the Bell was one of Gosselaar’s biggest roles in his acting career. He was known for his blonde hair (and many even presumed it was his natural hair color), but the Franklin & Bash star says otherwise.

“Did you know that my mother — and I’m saying this as if like, I’m excited about this, but my mother is Asian — my mother is from Indonesia,” Gosselaar told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. “My mother is this tiny little Indonesian woman … People don’t know that Zach Morris is half Asian!”

He also revealed that his dad is Dutch-Jewish and half German.

He adds, “That’s why the hair — the blonde hair — it was dyed for all those years. People think, ‘Oh, it was your natural hair color.’ It was not. It was color by Clairol.” 

With that being said, you will not see that iconic blonde hair dye in the reboot. Instead, you’ll see his more natural dark hair color and even a beard in the new series.

His daughter looks almost identical to her Asian grandmother

Mark-Paul Gosselaar mom
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, wife Catriona McGinn, and children | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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While you may not look at Gosselaar and think he has Asian ancestry without being told, his Indonesian side is more apparent in his eldest daughter Ava Lorenn. In fact, she looks almost identical to his mother!

With his ex-wife Lisa Ann Russell, he also had a son, Michael Charles. Gosselaar had two more kids with his current wife, Catriona McGinn: Dekker Edward and Lachlyn Hope Gosselaar.