Danielle Spencer (American actress)

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Not to be confused with Danielle Spencer (Australian singer).
Danielle Spencer
Danielle Spencer 1977.JPG
Spencer in 1977.
Born (1965-06-24) June 24, 1965 (age 49)
Bronx, New York, United States
Occupation Actress, Veterinarian
Years active 1976–2001

Danielle Spencer (born June 24, 1965) is an American actress and former child star best known for her role as Dee Thomas on the ABC sitcom What's Happening!!, which ran from 1976 to 1979. She would later reprise the role in four episodes on the series' sequel, What's Happening Now!!

Life and career[edit]

Spencer was born in New York City. She is the stepdaughter of actor Tim Pelt, who was killed in a car accident on September 7, 1977. Spencer herself was seriously injured and suffers chronic back pain as a result of that same accident. She received treatment for spinal stenosis at The Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey, the same facility that treated actor Christopher Reeve.[1]

Spencer attended the University of California-Davis two years (1983–85) to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine, a pursuit encouraged by her late stepfather. She later took a break from her studies to participate in the revival of her character, Dee, in What's Happening Now!! (1985–1988). While matriculating her sophomore year, Danielle pledged and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Spencer attended Tuskegee University Veterinary School, in Tuskegee, Alabama and became a veterinarian in 1996. She also portrayed a veterinarian in the films As Good as It Gets in 1997 and Peter Rabbit and the Crucifix in 2001.

Spencer was featured on TV One's hit series "Life After" in 2013. And in 2-14 she appeared on TVONE's Unsung. She was with her former cast members.

Spencer, as Danielle Spencer, has published a book about her life as a Child Star entitled: Through the Fire: Journal of a Child Star.[2]


Spencer currently works at Saugus Animal Hospital (CA) as a Doctor of Veterinary medicine.[3] In an interview published on People Magazine's website, Spencer credited her battle with spinal injury and paralysis with changing her perspective on the treatment of animals from simply alleviating their pain to finding the underlying cause of their problems.[4] Danielle Spencer revealed on 9/26/14 that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Speaking out for Breast Cancer Awareness month, Spencer, 49, who is now a veterinarian, told BlackAmericaWeb that her diagnosis last month took her by surprise. “With everything that I’ve been through with the spinal cord injury, I said I know God is not going to give me another affliction,” she said, referring to a 1977 car accident, during the sitcom’s run, that lead to near-paralysis for a time. “So I was completely shocked when the doctors told me.” Though the news came as a surprise, Spencer said the disease runs in her family. “I have a lot of help and support around me,” she said. She’s currently considering her treatment options, with surgery at the top of the list. “I’m trying to get as many opinions as possible but it does look like that is what I’m going to do,” she said. “Hopefully after that there won’t be any chemotherapy or radiation involved.” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2014/10/whats-happening-star-danielle-spencer-diagnosed-with-breast-cancer/


  1. ^ "What`s Happening!!" Star Danielle Spencer: Overcoming Chronic Back Pain by Jamie Arnold Retrieved via the internet from www.backpainrelief.net on January 25, 2014
  2. ^ Actress and Author Danielle Spencer: Overcoming Adversity to Beat the Odds By Tanisha Pettiford Sun, Oct 28, 2012. Accessedd online January 26th 2014.
  3. ^ Saugus Animal Hospital - Danielle Spencer DVM, 27737 Bouquet Canyon Rd, Ste 130, Saugus, CA 91350 Retrieved from Superpages business directory December 16, 2013 via the internet
  4. ^ What's Happening!! Star Danielle Spencer: Paralysis Changed My View of Animals By MARISA LAUDADIO published 06/05/2012 at 02:30 PM EDT. Accessed online January 26, 2014.

External links[edit]