Daphne Zuniga

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Daphne Zuniga
Daphne Zuniga.jpg
Born Daphne Eurydice Zuniga
(1962-10-28) October 28, 1962 (age 53)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Actress
Years active 1982–present
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]

Daphne Eurydice Zuniga /ˈdæfni zuˈniɡə/ (born October 28, 1962) is an American film and television actress, and environmental activist. After studying at the American Conservatory Theater in her youth, she made her film debut in 1982 in the slasher film The Dorm That Dripped Blood at the age of nineteen, followed by a lead role in the horror film The Initiation (1984) two years later.

She went on to star in several critically and commercially successful comedies, including Rob Reiner's The Sure Thing (1985), opposite John Cusack, as well as the cult comedies Spaceballs, and Modern Girls (1986). She also starred opposite Lucille Ball in the television drama film Stone Pillow (1986), and in the blockbuster sci-fi horror sequel The Fly II (1989). Zuniga would later gain major exposure as a television actress for her role as Jo Reynolds on the Fox prime time soap opera Melrose Place from 1992–1996. Other television credits include as Victoria Davis on One Tree Hill (2008–2012), and as Lynn Kerr on the drama series Beautiful People.

Also an environmental activist, Zuniga was a founding member of the Earth Communications Office (ECO), and has worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and Environment California.[2]

Early life[edit]

Zuniga was born[3] in San Francisco, California. Her father, Joaquin Alberto Zuniga Mazariegos, originally from Guatemala,[4] was an emeritus professor of philosophy at California State University, East Bay.[5][6] Her mother, Agnes A. (Janawicz), is a Unitarian minister, of Polish and Finnish descent.[7] Zuniga has two sisters: Jennifer Zuniga, and Rosario Zuñiga.

Zuniga became interested in acting in high school, performing in a variety of school plays. In her early teens, she attended the Young Conservatory program of the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco. After her parents divorced, Zuniga moved with her mother and sister from Berkeley to Reading, Vermont. She graduated from Woodstock Union High School in Woodstock, Vermont, in 1980. After high school, she returned to California and enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied theater arts. After college, Zuniga was close friends and roommates with fellow actress Meg Ryan.[8]



Zuniga is best known for playing Jo Reynolds in the 1990s television series Melrose Place, Lynn Kerr in Beautiful People, Victoria Davis in One Tree Hill. Her television career began nearly ten years earlier when she appeared in several episodes of Family Ties (1984) as a girlfriend of Alex P. Keaton. She also co-starred with Lucille Ball in the drama Stone Pillow in 1985, and was in the 1995 miniseries Degree of Guilt.[9] She was one of many voice actors for the animated television series Stories from My Childhood (1998). Zuniga had a lead role in the miniseries Pandora's Clock (1996).

2004–2005, Zuniga appeared in a recurring role in American Dreams.[10] She was on the show Beautiful People on ABC Family in 2005–2006. In 2007, she starred in the fifth-season premiere of the drama Nip/Tuck.

She starred in several made-for-television movies including Secret Lives (2005), The Obsession (2006), Christmas Do-Over (2006), Mail Order Bride (2008), and On Strike for Christmas (2010).[11]

Zuniga reprised her role as Princess Vespa from the 1987 film Spaceballs, by voice-over in the television spin-off Spaceballs: The Animated Series. She also reprised her role from Melrose Place in an updated version, but it was short-lived, as the series was cancelled after just one season in 2009-10.

From 2007 to 2012, Zuniga appeared in the CW network series One Tree Hill. She played the cold-hearted mother Victoria Davis.

2015, she appears in guest starring role in the new VH1's scripted series Hindsight as Libby.

2016, Daphne cast in a new TV movie for PixL and Hallmark Channel, When Duty Calls, with Judd Nelson and Daniella Monet.


Zuniga's film work has continued in parallel with her television work throughout much of her career. Her first two movies were sorority slasher films The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982) and The Initiation (1983, with Hunter Tylo), followed by Vision Quest (1985). In 1985, she starred opposite John Cusack in The Sure Thing. She next starred in the 1986 cult film Modern Girls. She was a lead in the 1987 Mel Brooks film Spaceballs, the 1988 film Last Rites opposite Tom Berenger, the 1989 films Gross Anatomy (with Matthew Modine), The Fly II (with Eric Stoltz), and Staying Together (with Sean Astin). She starred in Artificial Lies (2000), Enemies of Laughter (2000), Dog Gone (2003), A-List (2006) and Seducing Charlie Barker (2010), directed by Amy Glazer, and she starred in A Family Thankgving with Faye Dunaway. Most recently, she appeared in Gone Missing (2013), Monkey in the Middle (2014), Summer Forever (2015), A Remarkable Life (2015), Beyond Paradise (2015) and Who's Driving Doug (2016). Her upcoming projects include Search Engines (2016) with Joely Fisher, Those Left Behind (2016) with Jack Griffo and Heartbeats (2016), with director Duane Adler.

Other media[edit]

In 1994, Zuniga appeared in the release of a video for Bob Seger's previously released 1976 hit "Night Moves". In the video version of the song, she and a pre-Friends Matt LeBlanc are shown in a 1960s drive-in theater, where Zuniga as a dark, edgy young woman becomes a visual fascination for LeBlanc as a clean-cut young man.

She co-produced and co-directed (with Steven Latham) the 2007 documentary "The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED" — a look at the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference held in Monterey, California.

In February and March 2008, Zuniga appeared onstage in a production of The Scene by Theresa Rebeck, at the San Francisco Playhouse.[12]

She starred in the scripted web series Novel Adventures, which premiered November 3, 2008 from CBS Interactive.[13][14]

2015, short movie Occupy Alice starring Arden Rose and Will Peltz.

Personal life[edit]

Her younger sister Jennifer Zuniga, also an actress, debuted in the film A Woman, Her Men, and Her Futon (1992).

In 2004, Zuniga suffered from mercury poisoning, which she attributed to overconsumption of fish. She said she had eaten sushi four times in the week prior to being taken to the emergency room and that her symptoms included weak memory, headaches, crying spells, skin rashes, and mild depression.[15] After her diagnosis, Zuniga stopped consuming fish.

Zuniga has supported several environmental campaigns. In 2009, she was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, a not-for-profit development corporation charged with catalyzing sustainable development along the Los Angeles River.[16]



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Dorm That Dripped Blood, TheThe Dorm That Dripped Blood Debbie
1983 Quarterback Princess Kim Maida Television film
1984 The Initiation Kelly Fairchild/Terry Fairchild
1985 Vision Quest Margie Epstein
1985 Sure Thing, TheThe Sure Thing Alison Bradbury
1985 Stone Pillow Carrie Lang Television film
1986 Modern Girls Margo
1987 Spaceballs Princess Vespa
1988 Last Rites Angela
1989 Fly II, TheThe Fly II Beth Logan
1989 Staying Together Beverly Young
1989 Gross Anatomy Laurie Rorbach
1992 Mad at the Moon Young Mrs. Miller
1992 Prey of the Chameleon Patricia / Elizabeth Burrows
1993 Eight Hundred Leagues Down the Amazon Minha
1994 Charlie's Ghost Story Ronda
1994 Cityscrapes: Los Angeles Chantal
1995 Degree of Guilt Teresa 'Terri' Peralta Television film
1996 Pandora's Clock Dr. Roni Sanders Television film
1997 Loss of Faith Claire Hainey Television film
1997 Naked in the Cold Sun Rini
1997 Stand-ins Shirley
2000 Artificial Lies Karen Wettering
2000 Enemies of Laughter Judy
2003 Ghost Dog: A Detective Tail Amanda Morton Television film
2005 Secret Lives Jill Thompson
2006 A-List Tina
2006 Obsession, TheThe Obsession Deborah Matthews Television film
2006 Christmas Do-Over Jill Television film
2008 Mail Order Bride Diana McQueen
2010 Seducing Charlie Barker Stella
2010 Family Thanksgiving, AA Family Thanksgiving Claudia Television film
2010 On Strike for Christmas Joy Robertson Television film
2012 Changing Hearts Christina Riley
2013 Gone Missing Rene
2013 A Remarkable Life Tracy
2013 Beyond Paradise Elana
2013 Signed, Sealed, Delivered Andrea Shmeckle Television film
2014 Monkey in the Middle Olive
2015 Summer Forever Sophie
2015 Occupy Alice Cindy Lowe Short
2016 Who's Driving Doug Alison
2016 Search Engines Kate
2016 Those Left Behind Shelly
2016 When Duty Calls Carol Lawton
2016 Heartbeats Michelle Andrews


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Family Ties Rachel Miller Episode: "Double Date"
Episode: "The Graduate"
1989 Nightmare Classics Irene Marlowe Episode: "The Eyes of the Panther"
1992–1996 Melrose Place Jo Reynolds 110 episodes
1993 Hidden Room, TheThe Hidden Room Elizabeth Mahern Episode: "The Faithful Follower"
1994 Models Inc. Jo Reynolds Episode: "Pilot"
1995 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Cinderella (voice) Episode: "Cinderella"
1997 Johnny Bravo Gabrielle (voice) Episode: "I Used to Be Funny/My Fair Dork/'Twas the Night"
1997 Dead Man's Gun Lillian / Tanya Episode: "Black Widow"
1997 Spin City Carrie Episode: "Hot in the City"
1998 Spin City Carrie Episode: "It Happened One Night"
1998 Stories from My Childhood Episode: "Ivan and His Magic Pony"
1999 The Outer Limits Juliette Kagan Episode: "Essence of Life"
1999 Batman Beyond Lula (voice) Episode: "Once Burned"
2000 Batman Beyond April (voice) Episode: "April Moon"
2000 Stark Raving Mad Dr. Anne Russo Episode: "Therapy"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Emma Dishell Episode: "Abomination"
2003 Eve Mrs. King Episode: "Twas the Fight Before Christmas"
2004–2005 American Dreams Shelly Pierce 14 episodes
2005–2006 Beautiful People Lynn Kerr 16 episodes
2007 Nip/Tuck Carly Summers Episode: "Carly Summers"
2007–2009 Spaceballs: The Animated Series Princess Vespa (voice) 12 episodes
2008 Novel Adventures Laura French 8 episodes
2008–2012 One Tree Hill Victoria Davis 42 episodes
2009 Melrose Place Jo Reynolds Episode: "Windsor"
2010 Melrose Place Jo Reynolds Episode: "Santa Fe"
2015 Hindsight Libby Episode: "The Cranberries"


  1. ^ Aily, Kornblut; and Anne E. (October 29, 1995). "MAN TROUBLE? NOT ME, SAYS DAPHNE 'MELROSE PLACE' STAR'S LIFE IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM TROUBLED ROLES". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Daphne Zuniga". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2016. 
  3. ^ Daphne E Zuniga was born on October 28, 1962 in San Francisco County, California to Ms. Janawicz.
  4. ^ "Daphne Zuniga displays snob appeal in `Spaceballs'". Chicago Sun-Times. June 28, 1987. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Emeritus Professors", Department of Philosophy, California State University, East Bay, website
  6. ^ "Who's who Among Hispanic Americans - Google Books". Books.google.ca. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Daphne Zuniga Biography (1962?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Daphne Zuniga Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved August 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ HER STRENGTH HITS NEW 'DEGREE, October 29, 1995, Daily News of Los Angeles
  10. ^ Jay Bobbin, "Daphne Zuniga Has 'American Dreams'", October 3, 2004, Zap2It.com News
  11. ^ "Mail Order Bride". Metacafe.com. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ Tristan Fuge, "Daphne Zuniga to Star in San Francisco Playhouse's The Scene", Theatre Mania, January 4, 2008
  13. ^ "Novel Adventures". Noveladventures.cbs.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  14. ^ Insider: biography of her character, Laura
  15. ^ Liz Borod Wright, "Actress Describes Mercury Poisoning Ordeal: Daphne Zuniga Was Eating a High Seafood Diet, ABC News, October 21, 2005
  16. ^ "LA River Revitalization Corporation, The Board". Retrieved October 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]