West Virginia-native actress Devon Odessa starting out her acting career on television during the mid of 1980s. From 1994 to 1995, she played her most famous role to date, as Sharon Cherski, Claire Danes' spurned childhood best friend, on ABC teen drama "My So-Called Life."
On the big screen, the 5'4" actress could be seen in Pumpkinhead (1989), The Omega Code (1999) and recently co-starred in the independent film Mad Cowgirl (2006). She is currently filming a drama-horror movie called Fade, with Sarah Lassez, David Connolly and Michael T. Weiss.
Childhood and Family:
Born on January 18, 1974 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Devon Odessa was raised on a farm. She moved to New Orleans, then to Los Angeles, California, where she graduated from Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, CA) in 1992. She enjoys dancing, horseback riding, tennis, rollerblading and cooking. She also has three dogs and two cats.
My So-Called Life
Gaining her first interest in acting while appearing in a production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in New Orleans, Devon Odessa then moved to Los Angeles with her actress mother. In the mid 1980s, she landed TV jobs, appearing in the short-lived comedy show "Rocky Road," NBC drama starring Michael Landon, "Highway to Heaven," and NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life." She also had a recurring role on Metromedia original sitcom, "Small Wonder," in 1988.
Odessa made her big screen debut in Stan Winston's 1989 supernatural horror film, Pumpkinhead, starring Lance Henriksen. That same year, her voice could be heard in writer-director John Hughes' drama comedy Uncle Buck, starring John Candy. She also continued working on TV, appearing in the TV movie Down Delaware Road and in an episode of Disney Channel's teen sitcom "Good Morning, Miss Bliss."
In the early 1990s, Odessa mainly worked on made-for-TV movies and TV series. She could be seen in telefilm version of Gene Stratton-Porter's novel, A Girl of the Limberlost, the drama Extreme Close-Up and the thriller-drama Trial by Fire. She also appeared in an episode of "The Outsiders," NBC cop drama starring Fred Dryer, "Hunter," ABC sitcom "Step by Step," ABC's Emmy Award winning dramedy "The Wonder Years" and ABC drama "The Commish."
From 1994 to 1995, TV viewers best remembered Odessa while she played the regular role of Sharon Cherski, Claire Danes' spurned childhood best friend, on ABC teen drama "My So-Called Life." On working in the superior teen drama, Odessa revealed: "What I loved about playing the character of Sharon was that Winnie (Holzman, the series creator) cut through all the stereotype and allowed me to explore darker, more complex issues that bubble underneath a character that could outwardly be perceived as the goody-two-shoes perk monster in total control. It's easy to slot people and dismiss them after a first impression, and I hope the role of Sharon has encouraged people to take the time to look beyond the facade, and appreciate that everyone has issues, and nobody is perfect and has everything they want.”
Following "My So-Called Life," more film works arrived. Odessa was cast in the drama The Price of Love (1995), the comedy Shoot the Moon (1996), the drama-thriller The Others (1997), No Small Ways (1997), Gregg Araki's sci-fi drama Nowhere (1997) and the four-story urban legends with a modern twist, Campfire Tales (1997). She also continued to appear on television, in an episode of HBO sci-fi horror "Perversions of Science," NBC sci-fi series "Sleepwalkers," CBS drama "Touched by an Angel" and in two episodes of USA Network's cop drama "Pacific Blue." Additionally, she appeared in Buffalo Tom's music video "Wiser" in 1998.
1999 saw Odessa in writer-director Morgan Higby's drama Matters of Consequence, Tanya Fenmore's independent film The Sterling Chase (a.k.a. Graduation Week; screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival) and Robert Marcarelli's The Omega Code (opposite Casper Van Dien). Entering the new millennium, she appeared in writer-director Lawrence Greenberg's 16-minute drama comedy Men Named Milo, Women Named Greta and Patrik-Ian Polk's comedy Punks. She also returned on television, guest starring in an episode of Fox's brief-lived dramedy "Opposite Sex," ABC family drama "Once and Again," Disney Channel's sitcom "That's So Raven" and LOGO Television network's dramedy "Noah's Arc."
Recently in 2006, Odessa costarred with Sarah Lassez and James Duval in an underground cult film by Gregory Hatanaka, Mad Cowgirl. She is currently on set filming writer-director Anthony Stagliano's next project, a drama-horror titled Fade. She will share the screen with Sarah Lassez, David Connolly and Michael T. Weiss.
- Young Artist Awards: Best Performance by a Youth Ensemble in a Television Series, "My So-Called Life," 1995
- Young Artist Awards: Best Young Actress Guest Starring in a Drama or Comedy Series, "Highway to Heaven," 1989