Lanei Chapman

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Lanei Chapman
Born (1973-01-23) January 23, 1973 (age 48)
Years active1989–2010

Lanei Chapman (born January 23, 1973) is an American actress. She has appeared primarily in guest appearances on episodes of various television series, and may be best known for the leading role as Lt. Vanessa Damphousse in the single 1995–96 season of the series Space: Above and Beyond.


Chapman first appeared on television at the age of 13 in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial.[1] She went on to appear in a number of films and television shows, including White Men Can't Jump, Seinfeld, The Wonder Years and China Beach.[2] She made her science fiction television debut in Star Trek: The Next Generation as Ensign Sariel Rager, a recurring character who served as a conn officer in numerous episodes, though she only received an on-screen credit for speaking parts in four episodes.[2][3]

She made her debut in the series Space: Above and Beyond during the pilot episode, playing main cast character Lt. Vanessa Damphousse.[1] While filming the pilot and the early part of the series, Chapman was on a leave of absence from a post-graduate film production program at the University of Southern California.[2]

She initially auditioned with Randy Stone, senior vice-president of talent and casting at Twentieth Century Fox Television, and then two days later with David Nutter, the director of the pilot.[1] By her own admission, the character did not have a great deal to do in that initial two-part episode, so much so that when she was required to audition, the lines she read were from a different character as they had not yet developed Damphousse. The writers took elements of Chapman's own experiences and backstory and wrote it into the new character's as they were developing her.[2] The series was cancelled after one season, despite an organized fan campaign to renew it.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Chapman is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in Spanish.[2] She had originally chosen to major in Drama, but switched part-way through after discovering the extent of the foreign language program at the college.[1] She also wrote a short play while there, called Home Run,[2] which she sent to actress Chip Fields to appear in and assist Chapman in directing. She is also a qualified teacher in California, and for a short time taught kindergarten until she chose to pursue acting full-time.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e Eramo, Steve (June 15, 2011). "Sci-Fi Blast From The Past - Lanei Chapman (Space: Above And Beyond)". SciFiandTvTalk. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Nazzard, Joe (February 1996). "Fighter Pilot". Starlog (223): 71–73.
  3. ^ "Rager, Ensign". Star Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Alexander, Jesse (August 25, 2009). "Why Space: Above And Beyond Blazed New Trails". io9. Retrieved September 14, 2014.

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