An engaging star of the small screen, American model-turned-actress Janine Turner first attracted attention with her role as blonde kleptomaniac Laura Templeton on the ABC daytime serial “General Hospital” (1982-1983), from which she took home a Young Artist Award, and later became a household name as the brainy, down-to-earth, but unlucky-in-love pilot Maggie O'Connell on the prime time television show “Northern Exposure” (CBS, 1990-1995). The role brought her an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations. She is also known for playing Dr. Dana Stowe on the Lifetime original series “Strong Medicine” (2000-2002), and has starred in many television films, including Stolen Women: Captured Hearts (1997), Circle of Deceit (1998, also co-producer), Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Secret Affair (1999) and Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005). On the movie front, Turner has acted in such vehicles as Tai-Pan (1986), Steel Magnolias (1989), Cliffhanger (1993), Birdie and Bogey (2004) and The Night of the White Pants (2006).
Off camera, Turner is openly Republican, a fact she disclosed on a special 10th-anniversary of “Hannity & Colmes” shot live in Dallas on September 22, 2006. At the height of her success on “Northern Exposure,” she was named one of People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People” and “Ten Best Dressed.” Additionally, she was voted one of US magazine's “Ten Sexiest and Ten Most Beautiful” and one of Esquire magazine's “Women We Love.”
As for her romantic life, Turner was engaged to actor Alec Baldwin in 1983, but the couple never married. She also dated such celebrities as Sylvester Stallone, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mark Grace (first baseman for the Chicago Cubs) and Jerry Jones (son of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys). Turner lives on her ranch in Dallas, Texas, with her 10-year-old daughter Juliette.
Little Miss Texas
Childhood and Family:
Janine Loraine Gauntt was born on December 6, 1962, in Lincoln, Nebraska, but was raised in Euless, Texas. Her father, Turner Gauntt, is from east Texas, while her mother, Janice Gauntt, is from south Texas. Janine began modeling as a child and was crowned “Little Miss Texas La Petite” when she was six. By age 15, she had moved to New York City to work with the Wilhelmina agency. While in NYC, she also attended the Professional Children's School. After a year, Janine returned to Texas but moved again after high school graduation, this time to Hollywood in order to pursue an acting career. A straight “A” student, she furthered her studies by enrolling at Pepperdine University. She left college to film 1986's Tai-Pan in China.
Janine has a daughter named Juliette Loraine Gauntt, who was born on November 22, 1997.
Lincoln, Nebraska-born, Euless, Texas-raised Janine Turner started to compete in beauty pageants as a child and headed to New York City at age 15 to chase a modeling career. She signed with the prestigious Wilhelmina agency as one of it’s youngest-ever models and soon became a regular face on print ads and commercials. After some commercial work, including ones for Wyler's lemonade and Burger King, the lovely, fresh-faced girl put modeling on the back burner and returned to Texas for school. It was there that Turner got her acting break as a friend to Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) on three episodes of the popular CBS primetime drama series “Dallas” (1980-1981).
At age 17, after completing high school, Turner moved to Hollywood to give acting a more serious try. Her effort paid off when she landed her first series regular role with the CBS short-run late night backstage melodrama “Behind the Scenes” (1981-1982). There, she portrayed Janie-Claire Willow, the wheelchair-bound star of the soap opera within the soap opera. The gig led to her being cast as blonde beauty kleptomaniac spy Laura Templeton on the ABC daytime serial “General Hospital” (1982-1983), from which she was handed a Young Artist for Best Young Actress in the Daytime Series. At that same period, she made her feature debut in a cameo as a soap opera actress in Garry Marshall's uneven spoof Young Doctors in Love (1982).
After leaving “General Hospital,” Turner spent much of the 1980s making episodic guest appearances on shows like “ Happy Days” (1983), “ Santa Barbara” (1984), “Mickey Spillane's 'Mike Hammer'” (1984) and “Knight Rider” (1985). In 1986, she returned to film when she netted the sought after role of Shavuan Tillman in the Dino De Laurentiis film Tai-Pan, based on a novel by James Clavell and co-starring Bryan Brown. She spent three months in China for production and upon returning stateside, decided to head back to NYC where she studied acting with Marcia Haufrecht, a former member of the Actor's Studio, and perfected her craft in several Off-Broadway productions. Led by her training, she received roles in the movies Monkey Shines (1988), starring Jason Beghe and John Pamkow, Herbert Ross' Steal Magnolias (1989), in which she offered a memorable small turn as an ill-natured Southern belle, Nancy Beth Marmillion, and Larry Cohen's The Ambulance (1990), opposite Eric Roberts.
Turner, however, did not hit the big time until she won the starring role of Maggie O'Connell on the CBS prime-time comedy/drama “Northern Exposure” in 1990. As the punky, crop-haired Alaskan air taxi pilot, her on-screen chemistry with Rob Morrow (who played a New York Jewish doctor) helped launch the show to victory and Emmy nominations in 1993. Turner also picked up three consecutive Golden Globe nominations from 1992 to 1994 in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Drama. She stayed with the show until its final season in 1995.
With newfound fame, Turner tried to launch herself as a leading lady in features with the 1993 action Cliffhanger, but her effort proved fruitless when her costars, Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow, as well as the special effects stole the attention from her. After “Northern Exposure” came to its demise, she could be seen starring as a kidnapped frontierswoman in the CBS drama Stolen Women: Captured Hearts (1997) and returned to the wide screen later that same year as Mrs. Cleaver in the remake Leave It to Beaver, co-starring Christopher McDonald. Turner made her producing debut the next year as co-producer and star of the ABC made-for-TV film Circle of Deceit. She then went on to star as Alix Miller, opposite Jamey Sheridan, in CBS's romance Beauty (also 1998). She closed the decade by portraying an attractive American artist in the CBS movie Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Secret Affair (1999).
After a feature role in Robert Altman's film Dr. T and the Women (2000), which starred Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farah Fawcett, Laura Dern and Shelley Long, Turner revisited series TV as a regular on Lifetime's drama “Strong Medicine,” produced by Whoopie Goldberg and Tammy Ader, where she portrayed Dr. Dana Stowe from 2000 to 2002. She took a hiatus from acting to raise her beloved daughter and in 2004, returned as the director, writer, executive producer and star of Trip in a Summer Dress, a short about a strong willed mother and her children. The same year, she also starred in two independent films, Birdie and Bogey, directed by Mike Norris, and No Regrets, written and helmed by Curt Hahn. Her more recent credits include supporting parts in the action television movie Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005), with Chuck Norris, and the comedy/drama film The Night of the White Pants (2006), opposite Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl and Selma Blair.
Turner is reportedly preparing to launch her singing career. She just wrote her first song with accomplished songwriter, singer, musician and producer Phil Madeira.
Young Artist: Best Young Actress in the Daytime Series, “General Hospital,” 1983