Family & Companions
A captivating, blue-eyed brunette known for projecting softness and vulnerability, Sherilyn Fenn grew up moving constantly from place to place with her keyboard-playing mother. The alluring former Playboy bunny turned sultry leading lady made her film debut in "The Wild Life" (1984) and spent much of the 1980s playing semi-clad vamps in questionable fare like the teen survival flick "Out of Control" (1985), the gangs-on-skateboards pic "Thrashin'" (1986) and the horror thriller "Zombie High" (1987). Fenn landed her first starring role (and bleached her hair blonde) as a Southern debutante experiencing her sexual awakening in Zalman King's camp fest, "Two Moon Junction" (1988), followed by another leading turn in Charles Band's erotic thriller, "Meridian: Kiss of the Beast" (1990). She also made guest appearances in several series (i.e., "Heart of the City" ABC, "21 Jump Street" Fox, "TV 101" CBS) and made-for-TV movies before making her mark as sensual-but-sincere teen temptress Audrey Horne on David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" (1990-91), for which she received a 1990 Emmy nomination.
Fenn's first high-profile mainstream credit was as the car accident victim wandering around with a windshield through her head in Lynch's "Wild at Heart" (1990). She was especially fine as Forest Whitaker's intended victim in "Diary of a Hitman" (1991), the directorial debut of her beloved acting teacher Roy London. "Ruby" (1992) cast her as a small-town stripper involved with Danny Aiello's Jack Ruby and the J.F.K. assassination conspiracy, and she appeared in Gary Sinise's remake of "Of Mice and Men (1992) as Curley's sexy wife, the object of John Malkovich's lumbering affections. Fenn followed with the romantic comedy "Three of Hearts" (1993), playing the woman who goes straight in a bisexual love triangle with William Baldwin and Kelly Lynch. She was surprisingly credible as the love object cut down to size in David Lynch's daughter Jennifer's controversial directing debut, "Boxing Helena" (also 1993), a role originally intended for Kim Basinger. She also acted that year in Carl Reiner's misfired parody of erotic thrillers, "Fatal Instinct," perhaps losing out to Sean Young in the battle of the femme fatales.
Television provided Fenn her best opportunities throughout the rest of the decade. She starred opposite Jamey Sheridan in the Waltonesque "Spring Awakening" (CBS, 1994), adapted from a Willa Cather story, and through the miracle of special effects got to act opposite Humphrey Bogart in a 1995 episode of HBO's "Tales from the Crypt." That year also saw her portray a living legend in "Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story," an unauthorized NBC miniseries made despite Taylor's objections. Fenn fought for integrity in her characterization of the great star, in lieu of focusing on the trashier aspects of the performer's life, and has heard through a source close to both actresses that Taylor approved of her interpretation. The CBS miniseries "A Season in Purgatory" (1996) offered her as a melancholy rich girl, but it was her return to series TV as the star of Showtime's black comedy "Rude Awakening" (1998-2001) that allowed her to shine. As the habitually self-destructive former primetime soap opera star with a knack for making the wrong choice at every given opportunity, Fenn was at the center of its unctuously over-the-top swirl of addiction, sex and dysfunction.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Moved to Beverly Hills with mother at age 17 (date approximate)
Feature acting debut, "The Wild Life"
TV acting debut, "Silence of the Heart" (CBS)
Appeared in action picture, "The Wraith", notable for its preponderance of Hollywood siblings and children like Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Randy Quaid, Griffin O'Neal and Clint Howard
Acted in a "A Table at Ciro's", one of three "Tales From the Hollywood Hills" which aired on PBS' "Great Performances"
First major film, "Two Moon Junction"
Posed nude in <i>Playboy</i>
Starred in TV series, "Twin Peaks" (ABC), co-created and con-executive produced by David Lynch; earned Emmy nomination as Supporting Actress in a Drama Series as the sexpot Audrey Horne; also acted in Lynch's feature "Wild at Heart" as the woman who's just been mortally wounded in a car crash, living the last three minutes of her life
Acted opposite Mark Harmon's "Dillinger"
Played a small-town stripper in "Ruby"; also credited as song performer on "Blues in the Night" and "It Had to be You"
Cast as the flirtatious wife of Casey Siemaszko's Curley who pushes John Malkovich's Lennie over the edge in Gary Sinise's remake of "Of Mice and Men"
Offered an excellent performance as the intended victim of Forest Whitaker in Roy London's "Diary of a Hitman"
Portrayed lesbian who goes straight in "Three of Hearts"
After Kim Basinger dropped out of project, assumed title role in the controversial "Boxing Helena", about a woman who becomes the object of obsession of a surgeon; directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of "Twin Peaks" director David Lynch
Played titular living legend in NBC miniseries, "Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story"
Offered interesting, melancholy turn as Craig Sheffer's sister Kitt Bradley (of the extravagently rich Bradleys) in CBS miniseries, "A Season in Purgatory"
Gave a whimsical, likable performance as an actress-film buff opposite Jeremy Piven's film buff-Hollywood tour guide-writer in the slight "Just Write"
Part of the winning cast of the quirky, biting romantic comedy "Lovelife"
Reteamed with Piven as a temptress to his "Cupid" in a guest role on the short-lived ABC series
Returned to series TV as star of the Showtime comedy "Rude Awakening", playing a washed-up primetime soap opera star who has joined a 12-step program to deal with her alcoholism
Starred as a woman straddling simultaneous existences in ABC movie "Nightmare Street"
Starred in "The United States of Leland"