Family & Companions
A pretty, petite dark-haired actress who successfully made the transition from children's roles to adult parts, Sydney Penny first came to prominence with her self-possessed turn as the young Meggie Cleary in the 1983 ABC miniseries "The Thorn Birds." She was chosen to co-star with Clint Eastwood in the well-acted Western "Pale Rider" (1985) and had her first film lead in the forgettable sci-fi comedy "Hyper Sapien: People From Another Star" (1986). After a turn as the teenaged niece of "The New Gidget" (syndicated, 1986), Penny starred as the French girl who had visions of the Blessed Virgin in the biopic "Bernadette" (1988). In 1992, she ventured into the world of daytime TV, playing B J Walker on "Santa Barbara" and earning her first Daytime Emmy nomination. When that show was canceled the following year, Penny moved to ABC's "All My Children." For the next three years, she was heroine Julia Santos, half of a popular romantic couple (teamed with black actor Keith Hamilton Cobb in an interracial storyline) for which she received Daytime Emmy nods in 1994 and 1995. After working in indie films (e.g., "Go West" with "All My Children" co-star Michael E Knight), she returned to series TV in the primetime drama "Hyperion Bay" (The WB, 1998-99), playing the love interest of a computer software mogul (Mark-Paul Gosselaar).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
At age three-and-one-half, jumped onstage during her parents' country & western act and began singing (date approximate)
Landed first TV commercial (date approximate)
TV debut, the ABC movie "The Night Rider"
Played Tessa Dahl in "An Act of Love: The Patricia Neal Story" (CBS)
Breakthrough TV role, the young Meggie in the ABC miniseries "The Thorn Birds"
Film debut, "Pale Rider"
First film lead in the sci-fi comedy "Hyper Sapien: People From Another Star"
TV series debut in regular role on the syndicated "The New Gidget"
Played title role in the biopic "Bernadette"
Had regular role of B J Walker on the NBC daytime drama; received first Daytime Emmy nomination "Santa Barbara"
Briefly replaced Susan Ward as Meg on the NBC daytime soap "Sunset Beach", produced by Aaron Spelling
Played recurring role on the Spelling-produced "Beverly Hills, 90210"