The Journey of Natty Gann
A lead and former juvenile actress who has been on-screen from the early '80s, Meredith Salenger is widely recognized as the tomboyish title character, the daughter of John Cusack's character, in the Disney's Academy Award-nominated family/adventure film set in the 1930s, "The Journey of Natty Gann" (1984).
Salenger, who had an amazing acting career, temporarily left Hollywood in the late 1980s to focus on her study at Harvard and returned in 1992, but was never as popular as before. Since her return from Harvard, Salenger, who garnered praise for her performances in the films "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon" (1988) and "The Kiss" (1988), played unmemorable roles in "Dead Beat" (1994), "Girl in the Cadillac" (1995), "Venus Rising" (1995), "Village of the Damned" (1995), "Glory Daze" (1996), "Happenstance" (1997), "Sparkle and Charm" (1997), "Bug Buster" (1998), "Sour Grapes" (1998), "No Code of Conduct" (1998), "Lake Placid" (1999), "Good Advice" (2001), "My Best Friend's Wife" (2001), "The Third Wheel" (2002), "The Work and the Glory III: A House Divided" (2006), and "Quality Time" (2008).
Meanwhile, on the small screen, she this 5' 3" talented actress has starred in various TV movies and has appeared in such TV series as "Tales from the Crypt," "The Sentinel," "L.A. Firefighters," "Poltergeist: The Legacy," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Resurrection Blvd.," "Dawson's Creek," and "Cold Case."
Childhood and Family:
On March 14, 1970, Meredith Dawn Salenger was born in Malibu, California. She attended Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1988 and graduated cum laude in 1992 with a B.A. degree in Psychology. Before she attended Harvard, Meredith had an amazing acting career, but when she returned, she was never as popular as before. In 2006, Meredith was featured in a VH1's special titled 100 Greatest Teen Stars.
Meredith's favorite colors are blue and pink. She learned how to play the guitar with some help from Nikka Costa and Tricia Leigh Fisher. In her spare time, she likes to play with her two cats, Calvin Spot and Rufus Floyd.
A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon
Enjoying to perform in front of her family and friends as a child, Meredith Salenger was enrolled to an acting class at age 8 by her mother and began her career acting in TV commercials at the age of 10.
At age 12, she made her screen debut as one of the "singing and dancing orphans" in the feature film directed by John Huston, "Annie" (1982). Two years later, she landed her first starring role, playing the title character in the Disney's Academy Award-nominated family/adventure film set in the 1930s directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan, "The Journey of Natty Gann" (1984). The film that became the first American movie to win the gold award at the Moscow Film Festival won Salenger a Young Artist Award for Best Starring Performance by a Young Actress - Motion Picture for her wonderful portrayal of the tomboyish Natty Gann, who runs away from her guardian to join her single father (played by John Cusack) who is 2,000 miles away.
Following her big break, Salenger retreated to television and starred in the made-for-TV movies "My Town" (1986), playing Glenn Ford's pretty granddaughter, and "The Last Frontier" (1986), alongside Peter Billingsley and Tony Bonner.
While attending Harvard from 1988 to 1992, Salenger acted in William Richert's film adaptation of his own novel, "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon" (1988; with River Phoenix and Ann Magnuson), which earned her a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and Pen Densham's horror feature "The Kiss" (1988), for which she was nominated a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for her portrayal of the daughter of Joanna Pacula and Nicholas Kilbertus' character.
Salenger went on to act in Marc Rocco's romantic drama/comedy movie "Dream a Little Dream" (1989), as the girlfriend of a school jerk played by William McNamara and the secret love interest of Corey Feldman's character in Marc Rocco's romantic drama comedy film "Dream a Little Dream" (1989), and reunited with Feldman in Michael Spence's drama/thriller motion picture "Edge of Honor" (1991). She also co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Urich, and Chad Lowe in a TV movie version of Howard Fast's novel, "April Morning" (1988).
Graduating from Harvard, Salenger was cast alongside Bruce Ramsay, Balthazar Getty, and Max Perlich in Adam Dubov's thriller film set in mid 1960s, "Dead Beat" (1994), with Erika Eleniak, William McNamara, and Michael Lerner in Lucas Platt's film adaptation of James M. Cain's novel, "Girl in the Cadillac" (1995), alongside Jessica Alba in Leora Barish and Edgar Michael Bravo's independent action film "Venus Rising" (1995), and with Christopher Reeve and Kirstie Alley in John Carpenter's take on John Wyndham's novel, "Village of the Damned" (1995).
She also could be seen in the made-for-television movies "The Great O'Grady" (1993), the book-based "Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story" (1995; opposite Neil Patrick Harris), and "Pier 66" (1996), as well as guest-starred in an episode of HBO horror anthology television series "Tales from the Crypt" and in multiple episodes of "L.A. Firefighters."
Spending the rest of the decade, Salenger acted in Rich Wilkes' comedy "Glory Daze" (1996; starring Ben Affleck and Sam Rockwell), William Brent Bell's drama/comedy "Sparkle and Charm" (1997; as Paul Francis' girlfriend who dumps him), Lorenzo Doumani's cockroaches horror/comedy "Bug Buster" (1998; with Randy Quaid and Katherine Heigl), and Larry David's comedy "Sour Grapes" (1998; starring Steven Weber and Craig Bierko).
She also appeared in Bret Michaels' action film "No Code of Conduct" (1998; starring Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, and Mark Dacascos), Michael Rotman's 9-minute short comedy "The Oz Witch Project" (1999), Morgan Higby Night's drama "Matters of Consequence" (1999), and Steve Miner's action/horror comedy "Lake Placid" (1999; with Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, and Brendan Gleeson).
Meanwhile, TV viewers could catch her guest-starring in an episode of UPN sci-fi drama series "The Sentinel," Showtime/Sci Fi Channel's horror show "Poltergeist: The Legacy," and cult supernatural/vampire series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She also starred in co-starred with Heather Burns and Ever Carradine in the TV movie "Chicks" (1999). Additionally, she appeared in "The Counting Crows" music videos "Hanginaround" (1999) and "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" (2000).
Hitting the new millennium, Salenger joined Steve Carell in the TV movie "H.U.D." (2000) and played the recurring role of Jane Ensler in several episodes of Showtime drama series "Resurrection Blvd." She then returned to the big screen, joining in Charlie Sheen, Angie Harmon, and Denise Richards in Steve Rash's romantic comedy movie "Good Advice" (2001), playing the female lead opposite John Stamos and Daniel London in Doug Finelli's drama/comedy "My Best Friend's Wife" (2001), and reuniting with Denise Richards and Ben Affleck in Jordan Brady's romantic comedy movie "The Third Wheel" (2002).
Salenger subsequently played recurring roles in The WB teen drama series "Dawson's Creek" (as Amy Lloyd; 2002) and the cartoon series "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!" (as the voice of Aurora Six; 2004-2005). Meanwhile, she was spotted as a guest in an episode of CBS police procedural television series "Cold Case" and "Close to Home," as well as co-starred with Edward Asner, Jason London, Missy Crider, and Don Williams in the family drama TV movie "Out of the Woods" (2005).
Salenger recently appeared in Sterling Van Wagenen's film version of Gerald N. Lund's novel, "The Work and the Glory III: A House Divided" (2006; with Sam Hennings, Brenda Strong, and Eric Johnson), and guest-starred in an October 2007 episode of NBC police procedural drama "Life." Most recently, in 2008, she was featured in the independent drama/comedy "Quality Time" helmed by Chris LaMont.
Young Artist: Best Starring Performance by a Young Actress - Motion Picture, "The Journey of Natty Gann," 1986