Donna Pescow


Actor

About

Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
March 24, 1954

Biography

An affable, petite actress who got her big break with a role as the rejected partner of dancer Tony Manero (John Travolta) in "Saturday Night Fever" and followed up as the star of the ABC sitcom "Angie" Donna Pescow was a New York native who got her start on stage and has worked steadily on television since the late 1970s. After seeing "Funny Girl" on Broadway at age thirteen and realizi...

Family & Companions

Arnold Zelonka
Husband
Advertising executive.

Biography

An affable, petite actress who got her big break with a role as the rejected partner of dancer Tony Manero (John Travolta) in "Saturday Night Fever" and followed up as the star of the ABC sitcom "Angie" Donna Pescow was a New York native who got her start on stage and has worked steadily on television since the late 1970s. After seeing "Funny Girl" on Broadway at age thirteen and realizing that the stage held the key to her future, Pescow attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and upon graduating landed a featured role in the national touring company of "Ah! Wilderness." While working alongside Barbara Bel Geddes and Richard Kiley no doubt taught the young actress important lessons, she resumed her studies in NYC when the tour was over with the legendary Lee Strasberg.

In 1977, Pescow landed a part in "Saturday Night Fever," a relatively low-budget NYC-set look at the disco craze that would go down in cinematic history. Employing the Brooklyn accent she worked hard to shake at AADA and gaining some weight to play the forthright but insecure dance partner who is dumped by Travolta's Tony Manero in favor of Karen Lynn Gorney's Stephanie, Pescow brought a mixture of vulnerability and dignity to the self-humiliating Annette, humanizing the character while winning the sympathy of the audience and nods from critics. Now famous for her work in "Saturday Night Fever," Pescow became a hot commodity on the small screen, and soon landed her own sitcom, the ABC series "Angie." Playing a waitress who falls for and marries a wealthy pediatrician (Robert Hays) without realizing their different status, she charmed audiences who warmed to the series and its stars but didn't generate enough heat to keep the show airing longer than it's February 1979 to October 1980 run.

1983 saw the actress make daytime history with a groundbreaking role on "All My Children" (ABC) as Dr. Lynn Carson, a child psychologist who was also a lesbian. This limited run won the actress accolades and an award from the AGLA for her sensitive, stereotype-smashing portrayal. Biding her time with guest roles on series such as "The Love Boat" (ABC) and "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS) as well as turns in TV-movies including "Policewoman Centerfold" (NBC, 1983) and "Obsessed With a Married Woman" (ABC, 1985), Pescow returned to series television in 1987 on the syndicated sci-fi sitcom "Out of This World." Playing an earthling who bore the child of an alien (voiced by Burt Reynolds) and must now deal with the teen's problems and powers, the actress had good chemistry with Maureen Flannigan who played her half-human daughter, and proved a capable straight man for Doug McClure's loopy Mayor Applegate.

When the long-running series ended in 1992, new mother Pescow disappeared from the screen for a time, returning in 1997 with a spate of guest roles on series including ABC's "Clueless" and "NYPD Blue" and the Fox miss "Pauly." A role in the 1998 USA Network TV-movie "Dead Husbands" followed, and in 1999, the actress returned to daytime dramas with a delightfully dastardly turn on the popular soap "General Hospital." Here she played Gertrude, the manipulative aunt of Chloe (Tava Smiley) who sees fit to break up her niece and her handsome intended Jax (Ingo Rademacher), an over-the-top role she was quoted as likening to "a villainous Auntie Mame." Pescow made the most of her few months on "General Hospital" and left an impression on audiences and many broken hearts in her wake. In 2000. she began her Daytime Emmy-nominated portrayal of Eileen Stevens, the mother of two competitive siblings on the Disney Channel sitcom "Even Stevens" and became a familiar face to the children of the fans she made in the earlier days of her career.

Life Events

1977

Made feature debut in the legendary "Saturday Night Fever", playing Annette, a dancer in love with John Travolta's Tony Manero

1979

Starred as "Angie", a waitress who marries a doctor on the ABC sitcom

1982

Featured in the TV-movie "The Day the Bubble Burst", a chronicle of the 1929 stock market crash

1983

Acted in the NBC TV-movie "Policewoman Centerfold"

1983

Made daytime history, playing a lesbian child psychologist on the ABC soap "All My Children"

1985

Had a supporting role in the ABC TV-movie "Obsessed With a Married Woman"

1986

Returned to the big screen in the action comedy "Jake Speed"

1986

Guest starred on episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS) and "The Love Boat" (ABC)

1987

Featured in the HBO comedy miniseries "Glory Years"

1997

Guested on episodes of "Clueless" and "NYPD Blue" (both ABC)

1998

Featured in the TV-movie "Dead Husbands" (USA Network)

1999

Had a cameo in the Lifetime TV-movie "Jackie's Back"

2000

Featured in the TV-movie "The Ivory Tower"

2000

Starred on the Disney comedy series "Even Stevens"

2000

Acted in "The Ivory Tower", an independent drama premiered on Showtime

Family

Jack Casey Zelonka
Son
Born on August 23, 1989.

Companions

Arnold Zelonka
Husband
Advertising executive.

Bibliography