British import Vanessa Angel is popular among science fiction fans for her portrayal of Lisa on the television series “Weird Science” (USA Network, 1994-1998). Other TV credits include reoccurring roles on such series as “Baywatch” (991), “Reasonable Doubts” (1992-1993), “Melrose Place” (1993), “Veronica's Closet” (1997) and “Stargate SG-1” (2000) and one-episodic roles in “Murder, She Wrote” (1993) and “Saving Grace” (2009). A former Ford model, Angel made a switch to acting in 1985 when she landed a small role in John Landis' “Spies Like Us.” Since her debut, she has acted in countless films, among them “King of New York” (1990), “Kingpin” (1996), “Kissing a Fool” (1998), “The Perfect Score” (2004), “Blind Ambition” (2008) and “Endless Bummer” (2008).
Angel is set to play roles in “The Mars Shuttle Murders” (2009, TV) and “Level Seven” (2009).
Currently, Angel resides in Los Angeles with actor-husband Rick Otto and their daughter.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of Elizabeth and Phillip Angel, Vanessa Madeline Angel was born on November 10, 1966, in London, England. She began modeling as a teenager and later moved to New York City where she attended the prestigious Actor's Studio in 1987. At the Actor's Studio, she studied under Frank Casaro and Sondra Lee.
Vanessa married the Maryland-born actor Rick Otto in April 1996. Otto is seven years her junior. The couple has one daughter.
Vanessa Angel was spotted by a modeling agent from Select Model Management at a London cafe when she was a teenager. By age 16, she was signed to the world-class Ford Models and would continue her modeling career throughout her teen years. As a Ford model, Angel graced the covers of “Cosmopolitan” and “Vogue,” magazines, among others.
Angel added acting to her endeavors when she was 19 years old with a small role as a Russian Spy in the John Landis comedy “Spies Like Us” (1985), starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. After training professionally with New York's Actors Studio, she got her early television role in one episode of CBS' “The Equalizer,” as Christine Hayes, and was cast in a costarring role opposite Bruce Greenwood in the independent comedy “Another Chance” (1989).
Angel went on to appear in many films throughout the 1990s, including Abel Ferara's “King of New York” (1990, alongside Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes), the indie thriller “Killer Instinct” (1992), the Sylvester Stallone vehicle “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” (1992), the romantic comedy “Sleep with Me” (1994, starring Meg Tilly and Eric Stoltz), the David Schwimmer comedy “Kissing a Fool” (1998), and “Made Men” (1999), an independent comedy helmed by Louis Morneau and starring James Belushi, Michael Beach and Timothy Dalton. However, she is perhaps best known as Claudia on the Farrelly brothers-directed sport-themed “Kingpin” (1996), which also starred Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray.
The decade also saw the native Londoner acting in various TV projects. She landed a reoccurring role on “Baywatch,” playing Megan, in 1991 and made her television miniseries debut the following year with NBC's “Jackie Collins' 'Lady Boss.’” Also in 1992, she began her reoccurring assignment in the NBC drama series “Reasonable Doubts,” where she was cast as Detective Peggy Elliott. She stayed with the show until 1993. Angel then played Karen in two episodes of Fox's “Melrose Place” (1993) and appeared as Kathryn Scofield in a single episode of “Murder, She Wrote” (also 1993) before being cast as Jennifer O'Neill's little sister in the USA Network television movie “The Cover Girl Murders” (also 1993).
It was in 1994 that Angel scored her most prominent television role to date on the USA Network comedy series “Weird Science,” based on the John Hughes 1985 film of the same name. Starring as Lisa, the virtual-reality goddess created by two geeky teen males, a role originated by Kelly LeBrock in the feature film, she remained with the show until its cancellation in 1998. A year after working in the series, Angel was offered the title role on “Xena: Warrior Princess,” but due to health reasons she declined. In 1997, she appeared in two episodes of “Veronica's Closet,” as Suzanne.
Entering the new millennium, Angel took on the reoccurring role of Anise/Freya on the long-running science fiction series “Stargate SG-1” and teamed up with Casper Van Dien and David Paymer to star in the television film “Partners” (both 2000). She also appeared with her husband, Rick Otto, on Joey Travolta's “Enemies of Laughter” and portrayed Gloria Lake on the based-on-comic book “G-Men from Hell.” Except for her costarring role of Anita Donlee on the 2004 comedy “The Perfect Score,” for which she acted opposite Erika Christensen and Scarlett Johansson, her performances in other projects like “Firetrap” (2001), “Sabretooth” (2002), “SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2” (2004) and “Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys” (2004, TV) were largely ignored.
2005 saw Angel in the made-for-TV film “Criminal Intent,” the direct-to-video “Raging Sharks” and the movies “The Good Humor Man,” written and directed by Tenney Fairchild, and “Popstar,” starring Aaron Carter. Following a supporting role on “Monster Night” (2006), a horror movie which went straight to video release, she portrayed Dr. Anna Rogers in the sci-fi television movie “Planet Raptor” (2007), costarred with Christopher Atkins in “Blind Ambition” (2008), which won the Spirit Award at the International Family Film Festival, and appeared as Brenda Schooler in the surfing movie “Endless Bummer” (2008), opposite Matthew Lillard and James Remar.
Recently guest starring in “Saving Grace,” a drama series starring Holly Hunter as Grace Hanadarko, Angel will play the costarring role of Helena Kirkowski in the television movie “The Mars Shuttle Murders” (2009), alongside Corin Nemec, Claudia Christian and Geraint Wyn Davies. She also has an important role in the upcoming sci-fi film “Level Seven” (2009), which is being directed by Geraint Wyn Davies.