Pescow at a celebrity autograph collector's convention, Burbank, California, October 2008
March 24, 1954 |
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Arnold Zelonka (m. 1987; 1 son, Jack Casey Zelonka, born 1989)|
Life and career
Donna was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family. Her father owned and ran a news stand in downtown NYC at Battery Place. Pescow attended Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn, and studied at the American Academy of the Arts. In approximately 1973 or 1974, Donna had a leading role in an off-off Broadway musical entitled Poor Old Fool. It had a short run, closing after just a few weeks.
In 1977, Pescow had a successful role in the John Travolta film Saturday Night Fever. For this role, she had to relearn her Brooklyn accent and gain about 40 pounds. While both the role, and the film, were huge successes, Donna later went on to appear in television roles for most of her career. For this role, she was the New York Film Critics third place choice for their award for best supporting actress.
Also in 1977, Pescow joined the cast of the hit ABC soap opera One Life to Live, portraying Celena Arquette. The role proved to be brief, lasting under a year, but it helped to launch a successful television career for Pescow, including roles on two other ABC soap operas in later years.
In 1982, Pescow was cast in a groundbreaking role, that of Dr. Lynn Carson on the soap opera All My Children, which she portrayed from 1982 to 1983. Her character was the first on the daytime serials to have a lesbian sexual orientation. After her run on All My Children ended, Donna decided to continue her run on television. She later landed the role of Donna Garland, the mother of Evie Ethel Garland, in the first-run syndication children's comedy series Out of This World (1987–1991), along with Maureen Flannigan and Joe Alaskey. Donna portrayed this role for the show's entire run, from its premiere in 1987 until its cancellation in 1991.
After Out of This World ended, Donna went on to have a series of smaller roles, before returning to prominent television roles. She appeared in an episode of Clueless, in addition to making guest appearances on NYPD Blue, Pauly, and Ivory Tower. In 1998, she had a role in the television film Dead Husbands.
Pescow appeared on the ABC soap opera General Hospital from 1999 to 2001. Hers was a villainous role--that of Gertrude Morgan, the evil aunt of Chloe Morgan(Tava Smiley)--and lasted for Smiley's entire run on the series (1999–2001). In 2001, Smiley was released from her contract at General Hospital, resulting in Pescow's character being written off the canvas, along with on-screen niece Chloe, in 2001. During her run on General Hospital, she also had a small role in the television film Partners and guest starred on the television series Philly.
In 1999, Disney contacted Pescow about appearing in a half-hour kids/teen sitcom for the network. A pilot was filmed in 2000, and the series went on to become Even Stevens. It aired for three seasons, the norm for Disney Channel series of the time, from 2001-2004. The series became a flagship for the network, and after it ended in 2004, Donna and the rest of the cast returned for The Even Stevens Movie, which served as the finale.
After taking several years off after the finale of Even Stevens, Donna returned to work when she signed on to appear in the film One Sung Hero alongside Nicole Sullivan. After appearing in the film, Donna once again took a small break from acting, but she did appear in a 2006 episode of Crossing Jordan. In 2007, Donna made an appearance in the series finale of The Sopranos, acting out the role of Donna Parisi the wife of the mobster Patsy Parisi.
She married Arnold Zelonka in 1987, and their son, Jack Casey Zelonka, was born in 1989.
Pescow states that she was 25 years old when she first got her driver's license.
- 2013: "Holiday Road trip" (TV movie) - Margaret
- 2010: Cold Case (TV series) - Nancy Kent '10
- 2007: The Sopranos (TV series) - Donna Parisi
- 2007: Crossing Jordan (TV series) - Debbie's Mother
- 2006: One Sung Hero (short) - Karen
- 2003: The Even Stevens Movie (TV movie) - Eileen Stevens
- 2002: Philly (TV series) - Ronnie Garfield
- 2000: Even Stevens (TV series) - Eileen Stevens / Bubbie Rose 66 episodes (2000–2003)
- 2000: Partners (TV movie) - Bob's Wife
- 1999: General Hospital (TV series) - Gertrude Morgan (1999–2001)
- 1998: Dead Husbands (TV movie) - Rosemary Monroe
- 1998: Ivory Tower - Bonnie Benitez
- 1997: Pauly (TV series) - Ariana
- 1997: NYPD Blue (TV series) - Mrs. Carol Buono
- 1997: Clueless (TV series) - Sheila Kendall
- 1994: Kenny Kingston Psychic Hotline (Paid Programming) with Ted Lange
- 1987: Glory Years (TV movie) - Norma
- 1986: Jake Speed - Wendy
- 1987: Out of This World (TV series) - Donna Garland 96 episodes (1987–1991)
- 1986: Murder, She Wrote (TV series) - Cornelia
- 1985: Mr. Belvedere (TV series) - Candy
- 1985: Obsessed with a Married Woman (TV movie) - Susan
- 1984: Finder of Lost Loves (TV series) - Anne Sherman
- 1983: Hotel (TV series) - Cathy Connelly / Gloria Beck / Susan Garfield (1983–1987)
- 1983: Fantasy Island (TV series) - Carol Bowen / Paula Santino (1983–1984)
- 1983: All My Children (TV series) - Dr. Lynn Carson
- 1983: Policewoman Centerfold (TV movie) - Sissy Owens
- 1983: Trapper John, M.D. (TV series) - Linda D'Amico
- 1982: Cassie & Co. (TV series)
- 1982: The Day the Bubble Burst (TV movie) - Gloria Block
- 1981: Advice to the Lovelorn (TV movie) - Janice Vernon
- 1979: The Love Boat (TV series) - Connie / Gwen Winters / Irene (1979–1986)
- 1979: Angie (TV series) - Angie Falco Benson 36 episodes (1979–1980)
- 1978: Rainbow (TV movie)- Jinnie Gumm
- 1978: Human Feelings (TV movie) - Gloria Prentice
- 1977: One Life to Live (TV series) - Character Unknown
- 1977: Saturday Night Fever - Annette
- Harris, Harry (1980-01-18). "the entertainers Change Of angle Just Another Move In Spiraling Career". Evening Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- Wilson, Earl (1978-01-18). "Travolta Keeps His Head". Boca Raton News. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- Donna Pescow Biography (1954-)