Lanei Chapman

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Lanei Chapman
Born (1973-01-23) January 23, 1973 (age 45)
Years active1989–2010

Lanei Chapman (born January 23, 1973) is an American actress. She has appeared in a variety of television series and movies, including as the main cast character Lt. Vanessa Damphousse, in 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 programme 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 didn't 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 hadn't 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 organised 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 programme 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.

External links[edit]